According to the NHS, 5% of people within the UK now suffer from some form of anxiety so it is now more important than ever for employers to learn how to address and support employees who are suffering from anxiety at work. This can be promoted throughout the organisation by developing a strategy which focusses on the long-term aspects of managing mental health in the workplace, whilst also promoting wellbeing throughout the organisation.
Whilst various developments have been made in terms of discussing and raising awareness of mental health in the workplace, there is still a long way to go before people truly feel comfortable in having open communication about mental health concerns. For this reason, it is imperative that managers take a proactive approach in building an open and honest culture surrounding health and wellbeing. This could be something as small as checking in with your employees to see how they are, showing that you are available and open to discussing any issues they may be facing.
Both management and employees will benefit from educating themselves in the issues surrounding anxiety including how to spot potential signs and how to approach someone who is experiencing anxiety. One possible way of doing so could include partnering with a local mental health charity and inviting their experts to come into the workplace to run workshops or hold talks about promoting positive mental health at work.
Stress often affects people in different ways and, for those suffering from anxiety, it may mean that they are more susceptible to feeling stressed, and it can be difficult for managers to balance the challenges of running a business and maintaining an awareness of employee wellbeing.
Making small adjustments within the workplace can help employees who are suffering from anxiety, such as splitting lunch breaks, to provide employees with the opportunity to take time out or considering flexible working. Additionally, anxiety sufferers may find it difficult to prioritise and manage their workloads, and so it may be helpful for managers to provide additional support when required. This could be achieved through regular one-to-one meetings to assess levels of work, or further assistance from another employee when required. Employers may also consider offering employees time out to attend counselling sessions when necessary.
Regardless of the approach you take, it is important to ensure that any measures put in place are constantly reviewed to identify any changes which may be required. Remember, employees suffering from anxiety or any other mental health condition are more than capable of being valuable contributors in the workplace and, by building an open culture surrounding mental health you are not only facilitating a more inclusive working environment, but are also aiding the retention of valuable employees.
HR Services Scotland supports World Mental Health Day.
If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610.