Workplace anxiety can negatively impact productivity at work and negatively affect relationships and communication among your staff. Common wellness initiatives often do not address mental health as an important element of employee health. Instead, they tend to focus on exercise and physical issues.
However, mental health and physical health are undeniably connected in the whole picture of individual wellness. According to Medical News Today, stress reduces mental clarity, decision-making and immune health, among other aspects. These can all impact the individual worker as well as the morale and success of a company.
Mental Health in the Workplace
Anxiety is a common problem that often extends into the workplace. According to HRZone, one in six employees experiences anxiety, stress or other mood symptoms. Workplace pressures risk worsening existing anxiety disorders or life stressors. The good news is that employers can take a few simple steps to make a big difference in for positive mental employee health.
7 Steps to Improving Employee Health and Managing Workplace Anxiety
1. Coach employees on prioritization.
Coach employees on organizational skills and structure that work best in your particular environment. Borrowing techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, show your staff how to break big tasks into smaller pieces based on personal and company-wide priorities.
2. Ask “Why?” when someone is struggling.
Social psychologist Devon Price recently wrote an article on productivity where they advised asking “Why?” when you notice someone struggling to tackle assigned tasks. Price took this approach with students who faced mental health challenges in their education and saw stellar results.
3. Be an attentive listener.
Once you open up the conversation about mental health and work stressors, listen carefully and actively. According to Australian nonprofit health organization CBHS, talking to an engaged listener who is sensitive to one’s issues can greatly relieve workplace anxiety. While encouraging communication is definitely helpful, it is also important to accept your employees’ health boundaries and their need for privacy.
4. Be a cheerleader.
Notice your employees’ victories and celebrate them! Embrace their success as company success while giving credit where credit is due.
5. Give direct feedback.
Give honest and direct feedback, both good and bad. Anxiety often originates from uncertainty and confusion. Knowing your expectations is crucial to your employees’ health, success and sense of purpose.
6. Use constructive criticism to build people up.
Always make criticism about tasks and behavior, not the person. Maintain that the person has value and they are an important player on your team. Apply solution-based problem solving to tackle issues together.
7. Encourage work-life balance
Encourage employees in their off-duty hobbies and social lives. Social and physical health are matters your employees likely tend to when off the clock. Simply asking how someone’s weekend was and sharing some of your interests can show your staff that you value work-life balance.
At We’ve Got Your Back, we value all forms of employee health and wellness. Contact us for any questions on improving your workplace environment for your staff!