Managing Someone with Anxiety at Work

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Health Assured team

08 April 2022

Managing anxiety at work can be extremely challenging for employees. Some symptoms can limit or affect concentration and performance–making daily tasks a struggle. 

As a result, managers may need to provide a tailored approach to support. This guide will cover anxiety and workplace issues from a manager’s perspective. 

We’ll also look the impacts, the laws, and ways to manage anxiety at work. 

What is anxiety?

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. But when these worries and fears interfere with daily life, it could be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

The symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Feeling 'on edge’.
  • Concentration problems. 
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Headaches.
  • Insomnia.
  • Restlessness.

What are the impacts of anxiety in the workplace?  

The impact of anxiety in the workplace depends on symptoms and disorders experienced by the employee. Some examples include social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder.

Anxiety mainly occurs because of a trigger; and this can derive from the workplace itself. That’s when we label it as a workplace anxiety disorder.

It can relate to anything, from a past event or traumatic incident. Managing work-related anxiety can be difficult, as employees spend a lot of time at work. But frequent exposure is why additional management support is necessary. 

What are the laws on managing anxiety in the workplace? 

As an employer, you have a duty of care to look after your workers. This includes looking after their health, safety, and wellbeing. You must:

  • Ensure a safe work environment.
  • Protect employees from health-related discrimination.
  • Carry out risk assessments. 

Employees are protected from discrimination against anxiety in the workplace. UK laws outline anxiety as a disability (under the Equality Act 2010) if:

  • It has a substantial impact on an employee’s day-to-day life.
  • It lasts or will last at least 12 months. 
  • It impacts their ability to do normal activities. 

You must provide reasonable adjustments and never discriminate against employees because of a health condition. 

How to manage anxiety attacks at work

As an employer, it’s a good idea to have methods in place for managing workplace anxiety. These can include anything from, having quiet workspaces to providing paid sick leave.

Here are methods on how to manage anxiety at work:

Create a supportive environment 

When employees feel supported at work, they are more likely to speak up when they need help.

You should create a workplace environment, where employees have access to support when necessary.

Ensure your workplace accommodates to them, as they are. And build a culture of acceptance for all types of health conditions.

Hold regular catchups 

Ensure you hold catchups with employees on a regular basis. This can be through informal settings, where you check on how they’re coping and if you can provide further help.

Ask about both their physical and mental health; and if they’re facing any issues (professionally and personally) relating to their illness.

It’s so important to highlight confidentiality during these talks. And eliminate any links to their career status, development, or progression.

If their condition is worsening, offer professional medical assistance first, whilst making workplace changes for them.

Normalise mental health 

Unfortunately, mental health still comes with great stigma. When an employee is suffering from mental health stigmas, it makes it difficult for them to open up about their condition or experiences.

They might fear being judged by colleagues or suffer from unfavourable treatment. That’s why you must do your best to normalise mental health issues at work.

Manage someone with anxiety at work with Health Assured

As part of our Employee Assistance Programme at Health Assured, we offer a management support line that provides advice on employment issues, like managing anxiety.

Our teams can help you safeguard employee wellbeing whilst simultaneously meeting your company needs.

We also provide a 24/7 helpline, that’s open 365 days a year–helping you care for your staff all year round. Arrange a call back from an expert today on 0800 206 2532.

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