Wellness and performance go hand in hand, so it makes sense that employee well-being has become an increasingly important part of regular performance discussions. Your employees need the support of their managers if they are to perform at their best, and this is especially true for any employees who may be dealing with mental health challenges like anxiety or depression.
Your employees need to know they can come to you for encouragement and understanding without fear of losing their jobs or forgoing a promotion. With this in mind, it’s important we discuss the issue of anxiety, a disorder that can seriously affect performance, quality of work, and employee motivation.
Anxiety comes in a number of guises. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the five major forms of anxiety are:
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Social anxiety disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
Someone with anxiety might always feel on edge, have difficulty concentrating, or worry excessively. They might also be irritable and indecisive, and they may experience tension headaches and a general sense of fear. All of this can impact employee performance, so if someone on your team is suffering from a form of anxiety, you should put measures in place to encourage, support, and motivate them healthily and sustainably.
Before we cover how to motivate employees with anxiety, we first need to address a common misconception: that anxiety and stress are essentially the same.
Nearly everyone experiences workplace stress, particularly when deadlines loom or a company is facing difficulties. However, not every employee experiences anxiety.
People with anxiety can feel a loss of control over their lives and their work. As a result, they might avoid taking on extra responsibilities or tasks. Employers need to remember that anxiety is a disability, and they should make reasonable adjustments to accommodate people with anxiety. Employees should feel like you are on their side. If they do, they’ll be more willing to work with you to reach optimal performance.
How to Support Employees With Anxiety
1. Let Employees Know You’re Open to Discussion
Everyone experiences anxiety differently. No two employees will have the same anxiety trigger, nor will they express their anxiety in the same way. Managers should be aware of this.
To motivate and engage employees with anxiety, you must first begin an honest dialogue. However, you have to let employees take the initiative and bring their challenges to you. Don’t pry; instead, let your employees know you take mental wellness seriously and encourage them to discuss such issues with you.
If your employees are comfortable and open to it, discuss how you can adapt your workplace processes to support them best. What symptoms do they suffer from? How severe is their anxiety? Do certain situations make them particularly uncomfortable? Once you have a better understanding, you will be able to put measures in place to alleviate the likelihood of your employees feeling anxious at work.
Once you get everything out in the open and your employees realize you are on their side, they can let go of some of the pressure weighing on them. In turn, this will help them feel more confident talking to you about how you can collaboratively create a motivating workplace environment. Read more here…