The feeling of anxiety is such a pervasive emotion that it gets easily reflected. Akin to worry, fear and other emotions, anxiety is a normal reaction to stress or threats, irrespective of whether physical or perceived in nature. In fact, this response to any kind of pressure and danger can impact a person’s productivity and his or her state of mind in the workplace in myriad ways.
When the severity of anxiety worsens to that of an anxiety disorder, it increases the likelihood of experiencing a range of adverse circumstances responsible for deteriorating the quality of life, such as divorce, unemployment, financial instability, etc. On the work front, employees who do not display a strong resilience against this often suffer from innumerable problems, such as poor performance, damaged relationship with colleagues and superiors, etc. Moreover, they often turn down a promotion or other opportunities that come their way.
Surprisingly, many employees prefer not to share their fears with the immediate supervisor or the employer due to the fear of criticism, ridicule, or even losing the job. Consequently, anxiety has become pronounced among employees than before.
Dealing with workplace anxiety
According to the American Psychiatric Association, it is often responsible for poor productivity and both short- and long-term work disability that significantly increase indirect workplace expenses. In addition, anxiety disorders among American employees are responsible for:
- An average of 4.6 work days lost to disability per month and 18.1 work days lost to disability per three months.
- An average of 5.5 work days of reduced productivity per month.
- Employees with anxiety disorders are 1.5 times more likely to be absent for at least two weeks than those without anxiety and twice as likely to perform inefficiently at work.
The employees with this condition are also prone to developing other mental disorders, such as depression. In fact, anxiety is often seen in tandem with sleep problems, long-term absenteeism, and an impaired ability to perform tasks.
Fortunately, the focus on dealing with psychological stressors in a workplace environment has garnered much attention of late and employees affected by mental disorders now have avenues to voice out their concerns and fears. Given below are some of the ways that a healthy and hospitable work environment can be established:
- Spread awareness: Recognizing the problem and sharing the information on mental illnesses, such as anxiety disorders, are essential to maintain a steady flow of productivity among employees. Moreover, employers can also incorporate educational messages on mental health and assist at-risk employees grappling anxiety disorders.
- Avail the organization’s health-related programs: Notably, anxiety disorders do not emanate from a character flaw or a lack of willpower. On the contrary, these are brain disorders treatable through early intervention and right approach. An organization’s health intervention measures, such as employee assistance program (EAP), can help employees cope with both short- and long-term impact of mental disorders.
- Help the employee to adjust better: Sometimes others need to undertake effective measures to support people suffering from anxiety disorders. Accommodating an employee’s anxiety disorder in the workplace could entail steps, such as flexible working hours, periodic breaks and customized workspaces, to allow alleviate his or her problems.
- Maintain an empathetic outlook: Anxiety disorders are the conditions that do not improve when not talked about. Mental disorders are rife with a number of stigma and misconceptions that prevent employees from seeking help from others due to the fear of experiencing hindrance in their future prospects. However, when a workplace offers an empathetic and a collegial atmosphere, it allows acceptance of those with anxiety disorders by their colleagues. In turn, they can seek assistance, which strengthens their commitment toward work and encourages them to perform more efficiently.
Anxiety disorders are not permanently disabling
Most individuals who seek treatment for anxiety disorders display improvement in their daily lives, especially when treated with a combination of talk therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and prescribed medications. When anxiety disorders remain untreated or underdiagnosed, they can eventually lead to the aggravation of the symptoms and wreak havoc in daily life.