This is a guest post by Hazel Bennett, a freelance writer and blogger. She has a degree in communications and lives in Northeastern Ohio. Hazel loves writing about numerous topics and showcasing her expertise with words. Follow Hazel on Twitter.
Those with anxiety know what a struggle it can be to get through each workday. Stress, nervousness, and negative thoughts can wear a person down. As the effects of anxiety begin to take over, workers can lose the focus and motivation necessary to get the job done, leading to productivity and morale problems.
The combination of a high-stress work environment and mental health challenges can result in less-than-satisfactory work performances and unhappy employees. If you’re looking for solutions to keep your company working smoothly and your staff healthy and well, this Process Street post has you covered.
Read on for information about anxiety and how to overcome it with the help of productivity-enhancing technology:
- What causes workplace anxiety?
- Coping with chronic anxiety at work
- How to use tech as a de-stress
- Productivity hacks for workplace anxiety
- Mental health matters
What causes workplace anxiety?
According to the American Psychological Association, at least 61% of Americans feel that their jobs are a primary source of stress in their lives. So what is it about work that has so many employees stressed-out? Here are ten possible ways in which the workplace can affect mental health:
- Heavy workloads: Some companies require employees to manage large projects or several assignments at once, resulting in people feeling overworked and burnt out.
- Long hours: Individuals might work voluntary or mandatory overtime, cover shifts for coworkers, or put in additional hours on the weekends. This extra time can have a negative effect on work/life balance.
- Low wages: Employees may feel that their company doesn’t pay them enough for the work that they do.
- Lack of job satisfaction: A person may be unfulfilled and frustrated by their job, especially if they’re not interested or invested in the field.
- Conflicting and unclear expectations: Improper training and clashing demands from supervisors can make each workday a struggle.
- Overbearing bosses: Supervisors who micromanage employees can leave them feeling nervous and under-confident.
- Toxic work environments: Dr. Andrea Bonior points out that work environments in which employees feel unsafe, discriminated against, or bullied can cause employees to dread going to work.
- Lack of feedback: Without frequent communication and feedback, employees may start to feel nervous about the quality of their work. They may also worry that they will lose their jobs if managers are dissatisfied with their performance.
- No opportunities for advancement: Holding a dead-end job with no room for growth can cause work-related stress and depression.
- Lack of “big picture” connections: Those who don’t see the positive, real-world effects of their work may feel that they are just a cog in a machine, filling a meaningless position.
Outside factors can also contribute to the anxiety we feel at work. Challenges like economic downturns and company mergers can increase stress for business owners, managers, and staff alike. Workers may have concerns about layoffs, pay cuts, and their loved ones’ health and safety, ultimately decreasing productivity.
Coping with chronic anxiety at work
Over time, those who experience these work-related stressors can develop chronic mental health issues that impact their output. It can be difficult for employees with social anxiety, panic disorders, phobias, and other anxiety issues to focus on their tasks and work to the best of their abilities.
How does chronic anxiety affect productivity?
Some employees may be able to push through racing thoughts and negative emotions to get their work done. However, anxiety can take its toll on your physical wellbeing, mental health, and job performance if left unchecked.
- Workers who deal with anxiety-induced exhaustion and insomnia are likely to experience a lack of motivation. These tired employees may also zone out or even fall asleep while on the clock.
- Other anxious staff members can become restless and tense while at work. They may be unable to relax or have trouble concentrating, causing them to make mistakes and miss important details.
- Some employees may feel overwhelming nervousness about taking on a new, unfamiliar assignment. They might procrastinate over starting new projects, which can cause them to miss deadlines or turn in unsatisfactory work.
- As tensions rise, people with high-functioning anxiety may become angry and irritable. Their volatile mood swings can be a distraction to other employees, slowing down everyone around them.
- Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms such as hypertension, nausea, headaches, and even cardiac issues. Companies may see an increase in call-offs as these employees take time to recuperate from the effects of their workplace anxiety.
How managers can help reduce anxiety in the workplace
So, how do we lessen the impact of anxiety on employees and help them do their best every day?
There are several things that management can do to keep job-related stress to a minimum and create a supportive and efficient work environment. Here are some tips and tricks for managing work anxiety and a few productivity hacks for keeping your team on track.
1. Practice good communication 🤝
Providing feedback and discussing concerns with your team can reduce nervousness and help them feel less alone. Hold weekly meetings to check in and see how everybody is feeling. Also, try to be open to employee suggestions and concerns, giving them a safe space to speak up and sound off.
2. Improve your workspace ✨
Working in a haphazard, cluttered area can heighten anxiety for employees. Arrange a clean and neat office with plenty of space and storage to keep workers relaxed and organized. You can also include fun and colorful wall art and decor to boost morale and promote a cheerful atmosphere.
3. Set realistic goals and delegate tasks 📝
Large projects with narrow deadlines can make workers nervous, which is why quality project management is essential. Assign duties based on each employee’s strengths and give them the support they need to complete their assignments effectively. Whenever possible, make sure the team has ample time to complete projects so that everybody can put their best work forward.
4. Respect employee boundaries 🙅♂️
Some employees may have difficulty saying no to requests from managers. They may sacrifice their downtime and take on more work to avoid conflict with a superior or another coworker. Be sure to create flexible, fair schedules and refrain from contacting workers on their days off.
5. Encourage self-care 🧖♀️
Learning how to relax and enjoy time off is essential to lowering stress and anxiety. Set up a comfy break room for employees where they can enjoy a few quiet moments and recharge before returning to work. You can also provide self-care tips and mental health resources to help workers continue managing their anxiety outside of work.
6. Prioritize mental health 🧠
Knowing that management cares about their wellbeing can be a relief to workers struggling with emotional challenges. Consider a few thoughtful policies for your workplace, like adding mental health professionals to the medical benefits package or training managers to address anxiety and stress concerns at work.
How to use tech to de-stress
Work anxiety is a fairly common concern, but the right tech can make a huge difference in alleviating some of the strain and frustration. Thanks to modern technology’s fast-paced advancement, we discover new and exciting ways to overcome challenges every day. Though our devices and apps can sometimes serve as a distraction, there are plenty of ways to use these tools constructively.
Before you can choose the best technological solutions, you’ll need to identify the problems. For instance, if organization and communication are issues, look for software that assists with workflow. In offices with heavy workloads and constant deadlines, encourage staff to make use of mindfulness apps to help find moments of calm amid busy schedules.
Productivity hacks for workplace anxiety
Once you decide on the best solutions for overcoming anxiety-related productivity issues, it’s time to find a way to implement your ideas and track employee progress. Several technological tools are available to help you put your company’s mental health management plans into action.
These programs can give your staff what they need to stay on task, handle negative thoughts and emotions, and reduce the effects of mental health challenges.
Check out these software suggestions to help your team overcome anxiety and stay on track while at work:
Procedure reference tools
What are procedure reference tools?
A procedure reference tool organizes the standard operating procedures (SOP) for each department, role, and person in the company. They offer templates that outline each business activity’s specific instructions and provide fast and efficient ways to implement changes.
How can they help?
Using SOP software allows management to keep employees informed. Workers can refer to the templates to learn the requirements for each task and to help cut back on the stress of working under unclear expectations. Managers can also check the status of each project to keep the team on track.
Workflow management software
What is workflow software?
Workflow software allows managers to automate their company procedures to reduce mistakes and streamline workplace operations. It also makes it easy to delegate tasks to specific groups and individuals, as well as track each worker’s progress on their assignments.
How can it help?
Automated workflow management software can improve accountability and teamwork among staff members. The efficiency of these programs can reduce confusion and mistakes from employees. Also, allowing staff members to reach out to managers and coworkers when they need assistance can help depressed and anxious workers feel more connected.
Checklist feature templates
What are checklist templates?
Just like traditional sticky notes and to-do lists, checklist software allows workers to outline the activities and assignments they need to complete each day. They help employees break down larger tasks into small steps and make it easier to prioritize duties so everybody can focus on the most important jobs first.
How can they help?
Creating work checklists can help team members focus on one task at a time, which can lessen the anxiety some workers feel when tackling big projects and complex jobs. Process Street even offers templates for self-care plan checklists so employees can keep track of both their wellbeing and their assignments.
Human resources software
What is human resources software?
Human resources software offers several tools to help managers engage with workers, offer support, and improve their work experiences. The program allows HR professionals to create flexible schedules and process employee requests, which helps the organization function better overall.
How can it help?
These human resources programs make it easier to accommodate the needs of each worker. From providing training for new hires to addressing workplace concerns, this software can encourage staff to work together to form a happier and more productive team.
Approval management software
What is approval software?
Approval software helps the decision-making process run more smoothly. It automates actions like accepting or rejecting contracts, invoices, and employee assignments. The software also helps managers keep track of their approval process and keeps workers in the loop regarding company policy changes.
How can it help?
Decision-making tools and approval software let supervisors pay close attention to every change in the company. It also allows them to provide feedback for their team’s assignments and overall job performances. The program can help anxious employees feel proud of their strengths and identify their weaknesses to improve skills.
What are mindfulness apps?
Mindfulness apps provide a selection of tips and tricks to help users improve their mental health. People can access breathing techniques, guided meditations, and other calming activities. They can also find suggestions for building healthy habits, journals for recording their thoughts, and calendars to monitor their progress.
How can they help?
Encouraging employees to choose a mindfulness app is a great way to help them manage their depression and anxiety at work. The programs can teach them how to calm down in stressful situations and quiet racing thoughts to stay focused on their duties.
Mental health matters
Businesses succeed and thrive when the entire team can stay focused and give their best effort every day. For that to happen, workers need a workspace that is efficient, organized, and accommodating to their mental health.
With the right systems and software, your company can establish a productive environment that keeps employees happy, relaxed, and ready to work.
What tech do you use to de-stress and combat anxiety? Let us know what tips and tricks you’ve found to improve workplace wellbeing!