As employers, it is essential to make employees feel safe, seen, and heard. Mental health issues have been at the forefront of public discourse in recent years.
The pandemic brutally swept the nation and impacted individuals from coast to coast. Consequently, many are left with easily triggered anxiety in their daily lives.
So, how can you help employees with anxiety issues?
The first thing employers must do is have an open mind. They can start by becoming more educated on anxiety and its causes and triggers.
Knowing more about a topic can better equip employers to understand a little more about what their employees might be going through and ways they can help. Almost 86% of employees that have been treated for depression have improved their work and productivity.
All it takes sometimes is for someone to notice. Managers and leaders in your business could take mental health training to equip them better to handle employees that struggle with their mental health. By understanding what an employee might be going through, employers can take the initiative to lend a helping hand. That training will help them know how to do so.
Plan gatherings for employees to socialize and get to know one another. Building strong work relationships assists in helping employees not feel alone or isolated. Encouraging meetings and interaction among coworkers can contribute to a better mental state. Every year, one in five adults in the U.S. experience a mental health issue.
Some are men, and some are women. Exclude men from the stigma that their mental health is less important than women’s. Men are just as likely to experience common mental health issues and should be encouraged to seek help.
Most men downplay their symptoms more than women, so it can be harder to recognize them. Ensure that the company leaders are being inclusive and proactive in the mental state of its employees.
Routinely check on the mental health of all employees. Hold regular meetings and encourage communication about their mental state. While this may blur the line a little regarding being professional and leaving personal issues at the door- maybe it should. Perhaps that is part of the problem.
Compartmentalizing issues to get through tasks can be an unhealthy coping or defense mechanism. Learning how to face problems head-on can boost productivity and work ethic. Wanting the absolute best for employees personally and professionally should be the primary goal. Ensure that lines of communication are always open and highly encouraged for employees to express themselves.
If employees don’t feel comfortable talking to their bosses about these issues, this can create a problem of internalization and lead to neglect. Topics not brought to light can cause much more concern if they grow more significant by not being addressed. Ensure that employees know that issues should be discussed openly, no matter how small they may seem. Let them know that their voice is heard.
4. Provide Resources
Mental health days should be acceptable and carved into every company’s structure. It should be made apparent that the mental health of employees is a top priority to the company. Ensure employees know where to go and who to talk with. Have some tips and tricks handy to help alleviate anxiety triggers in your employees. Promoting self-care is rewarding for an employer.
When employees feel safe and valued, they are more likely to deliver outstanding results. Confident employees are vital to the success of companies. Every employee dreams of feeling like their boss is always in their corner- rooting for them to excel in every area. Be that employer that goes the extra mile for their people.
Have a list of resources readily available for anyone who needs them. Provide them to everyone and encourage employees to use them for anything they need. Everyone suffers from something. Identifying and openly discussing what ails your employees could be the biggest game-changer.
5. Offer Support
That previously mentioned blurred line between personal and professional is at it again. Normalize asking employees how they are feeling. About 58% of workers have admitted that they are comfortable with supervisors asking them about their current mental state.
Make sure you ask them more than once. Feelings change with the ebb and flow of tasks in the workplace. Let them know how they feel matters all the time, not just when you ask. Make sure you are genuinely asking them, also. People can sense when inquiries are forced or mandatory. Give them the space and kindness to honestly answer your questions.
Employees admittedly don’t feel comfortable advocating for themselves and speaking up when they think there is a problem. This could be caused by the assumption that their feelings don’t matter. But, it does matter.
Negative feelings can cause an abundance of mental health issues that can be destructive to your company if they aren’t addressed and dealt with accordingly. Internalizing negative emotions can be detrimental to mental health.
Discussing feeling burned out is not a sign of weakness. It is actually a sign of strength if employees can be self-aware enough to recognize the issue and take steps to feel better and prevent feeling that way in the future.
6. Promote Positivity
Promoting positive thinking can work wonders for the mental state of employees across the board. This goes for managers and supervisors as well as entry-level associates.
The “power of positivity” was more or less abandoned by many during the outbreak of the pandemic. This indeliberate disassociation with hope left its mark. Individuals have reported a spike in all anxiety and stress levels since the virus began circulating. The overwhelming sense of despair and fear as a collective wasn’t addressed individually in most cases. It was, however, understood.
Feelings of all shapes and sizes should be addressed and understood simultaneously in the workplace. Hope and goal setting should be instilled firmly in all employees’ minds regardless of their level in the company. Positive thinking and action should hold space in every room corner.
Enact New Policies
Anxiety is more common than many credit it, especially in the workplace. It has been underestimated and neglected for far too long. Businesses should actively seek ways to ease employees’ minds by implementing policies that advocate for mental health.