We all feel anxious from time to time, especially when it comes to our jobs. However, for some people, anxiety at work can be a real and constant problem. If this is the case for you, it might be time to make some changes.
Before we get into the signs of anxiety, it's important to understand that anxiety is not a normal way to feel when you're at work. The experts at Claims Action make an excellent point in that your employer has a legal responsibility to ensure your wellbeing, and if they don't, then they may be negligent.
What Can Cause Anxiety in the Workplace?
We all respond differently to pressure when we're at work, so what might be acceptable for you may not be for someone else. That means that it's important not to compare yourself to others.
Some stressors can be very specific to your job, while others might be more general. For example, meeting a sales target or taking a set number of calls per hour in a call center is specific to a particular role. In contrast, challenges that come working with a demanding boss can happen in just about every job.
Some of the more common causes of anxiety at work include:
- The pressure to succeed
- The pressure to meet deadlines
- Having to deal with difficult people or situations
- Feeling like you're not good enough
- Not having control over your work schedule or environment
- Lack of job security
Common Signs of Anxiety at Work
There are a few common signs that can indicate that you're struggling with anxiety at work. If you experience any of these, it might be time to take a step back and figure out what's going on:
- You feel overwhelmed or stressed out constantly.
- You have trouble focusing on your work.
- You feel like you're always behind schedule or rushing to meet deadlines.
- You feel tense or irritable all the time.
- You have frequent panic attacks or anxiety attacks.
- You feel like you can't control your thoughts or emotions.
- You avoid social situations at work, or you feel very uncomfortable when you have to talk
What Can You Do About Anxiety in the Workplace?
There may come a time when the pressure in the workplace begins to have a tangible impact on your well-being. At that point, you then have to decide to take action.
1. Talk to your boss.
If you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed out at work, the first step is to talk to your boss. Let them know what's going on and see if they can help you come up with a plan. They might be able to give you less work or assign you different tasks that are less stressful.
2. Take breaks.
When we're feeling anxious, it's easy to get wrapped up in our work and forget to take breaks. But it's important to step away from your desk every once in a while. Go for a walk, have a cup of coffee, or just take a few deep breaths.
3. Set boundaries.
Anxiety can often lead to perfectionism, and this can be a big problem when it comes to work. If you find yourself working all hours of the day and night, it's time to set some boundaries. Decide how many hours you're going to work each day and stick to it. And don't be afraid to say no to extra work if you're already overloaded.
4. Seek help.
If the anxiety at work is really impacting your life, it might be time to seek help from a professional. There are many different types of therapy available, so find one that fits you. You don't have to struggle with anxiety on your own.
If you're struggling with anxiety at work, don't hesitate to make some changes. Talk to your boss, take breaks, and set boundaries. And if you need more help, seek out a therapist who can help you manage your anxiety.
The Employers Responsibilities
We mentioned earlier that your employer has a responsibility to ensure your wellbeing, and if they don't, then they may be negligent. The ways in which they need to be able to demonstrate that they take this responsibility seriously include -
- Having a policy in place for managing employee mental health
- Offering employees access to mental health support
- Encouraging employees to speak up about any concerns they have
- Promoting a positive and healthy work environment
- The Benefits to the Employer
When a business has a team that is anxious about being in the workplace, then there are some telltale signs that need addressing immediately -
- Employees will start to take more sick days
- Productivity levels will drop
- Morale will be low
If an employer can address the issue of anxiety head-on, then not only can they demonstrate that they have met their duty of care to their employees, but there are also some clear benefits to the business:
- A productive and healthy workforce
- Improved morale and team spirit
- Reducing staff turnover rates
- The prevention of long term mental health conditions from developing
- There are many benefits to an employer in addressing the issue of anxiety in the workplace.
If your employer doesn't offer any of these things, you may want to consider speaking to them about it. However, if the professional relationship has already broken down, then seeking professional legal help may need to be the next step.