Five Ways to Counter Workplace Anxiety
Numerous studies suggest at least 11% of all employees face suffer from an anxiety disorder at least once during their professional lives. Quentin Vennie, a mental health advocate and author of Strong in the Broken Places, highlights five key indicators of anxiety which can, if left unaddressed, contribute towards loss of profitability for an organisation.
Here is how line managers and HR specialists can counter them:
- Deteriorating performance. High-pressure jobs inadvertently give rise to increasing stress levels among employees, which are usually left unaddressed. This causes the quality of their work to deteriorate. To prevent this, monitor your employees' performance; if an employee's work deteriorates due to anxiety, provide customised counselling techniques to improve quality and productivity.
- Absenteeism. Employer's can effectively control this by ensuring that a clear attendance policy is shared with employees; other ways of countering this include rewarding good attendance and introducing Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) that focus on helping employees overcome their personal and professional challenges
- Lack of motivation. This is usually caused by poor workplace practices, negative attitudes and weak Performance Rewarding Programmes. To remedy this, focus on implementing effective and transparent training and reward schemes. This will help instill a sense of purpose among employees, motivate them and expedite their professional growth.
- Poor health. Subliminal levels of anxiety can affect the physical health of an employee negatively and cause them to become withdrawn. To prevent this, introduce subsidised health and wellness programmes, such as weekly yoga and nutrition awareness sessions, as well as 'adventure trips'.
- High turnover. Distressed employees usually look for jobs that promise minimum work-related stress. To combat this, promote optimal work-life balance measures in the workplace, such as ensuring that team members do not have to work late unnecessarily, and praising their work when possible to motivate them.