Anxiety at Work: How to Support Your Staff

Anxiety at work is a common experience that can affect anyone, including your employees. As an employer, it’s essential to recognise the signs of anxiety in your staff and create a supportive work environment.

We understand that running a business can be challenging, so we’ve provided practical tips and advice to help you support your staff in managing anxiety at work.

In this blog post, we’ll explore:

·      The impact of anxiety in the workplace

·      How to identify the signs of anxiety in your staff

·      Creating an action plan for reducing anxiety in the workplace, and

·      Offer strategies for creating a supportive work environment.

We’ll also provide guidance on how to help your staff deal with anxiety at work and offer resources for further learning or support. Our aim is to help you reduce anxiety in the workplace and create a positive and healthy work environment for your staff to thrive in.

Understanding Anxiety at Work

Anxiety can manifest in many ways in the workplace. Symptoms can range from excessive worrying and fear, to physical symptoms, such as a racing heart and sweating. It can be caused by various factors, such as workload, job insecurity, conflicts with colleagues, or the pressure to meet deadlines.

Anxiety can also be caused by issues at home or in your employees’ personal lives. This is totally out of your control but you need to be aware of it. However, no matter the cause, it’s crucial to understand how anxiety can affect your employees and the impact it can have on your business.

One of the most significant effects of anxiety in the workplace is decreased productivity. Anxiety can impair an employee’s ability to focus, make decisions, and complete tasks efficiently. This can lead to lower-quality work and ultimately affect the organisation’s bottom line.

In addition to low productivity, employees with anxiety may be more likely to miss work due to symptoms such as panic attacks or social anxiety. Increased absenteeism can lead to decreased team morale.

Anxiety can also lower job satisfaction, making it difficult for employees to enjoy their work and feel fulfilled in their roles. This can lead to increased turnover rates and decreased employee retention.

If an employee with anxiety is not supported, their symptoms can also have a negative impact on team dynamics. For example, social anxiety may lead to a lack of input in team meetings or social events. This can make other team members feel excluded or unsupported.

By taking proactive steps to manage anxiety in the workplace, employers can help their employees feel more supported, productive, and engaged. This can ultimately benefit the wider business by improving employee satisfaction, reducing absenteeism, and increasing productivity and overall business success.

Identifying Signs of Anxiety in Your Staff

Anxiety can manifest in many ways, and it’s essential to recognise the signs of anxiety in your staff to provide support. Here are several signs to look out for:

1. Changes in behaviour: An employee who is experiencing anxiety may become more withdrawn, irritable, or easily overwhelmed than usual.

2. Decreased productivity: Anxiety can cause a lack of focus, difficulty concentrating, and decreased productivity in the workplace.

3. Increased absenteeism: Employees experiencing anxiety may call in sick more often or request time off work.

4. Physical symptoms: Anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, or rapid heartbeat. Employees may also have difficulty sleeping or experience digestive issues.

5. Perfectionism: An employee who is struggling with anxiety may become a perfectionist, overthinking tasks and becoming indecisive.

6. Avoidance behaviour: Employees may avoid tasks or interactions that they find stressful, such as public speaking or team meetings.

7. Procrastination: Anxiety can lead to procrastination, as employees may feel overwhelmed by their workload or anxious about meeting deadlines.

8. Emotional symptoms: Anxiety can cause emotional symptoms such as excessive worrying, fear, or panic attacks.

9. Cognitive symptoms: Employees experiencing anxiety may struggle with decision-making, have trouble concentrating, or experience racing thoughts.

By being aware of these signs, you can identify employees who may be experiencing anxiety and provide support.

Creating a Supportive Work Environment

Creating a supportive work environment is crucial in helping your staff manage anxiety in the workplace. By taking steps to promote employee well-being and reduce stress, your staff will feel more comfortable, productive, and engaged.

1.  Encourage open communication. Creating a culture of open communication can help employees feel more comfortable discussing their concerns and seeking support. Encourage regular check-ins with staff and foster an environment of trust and transparency.

2. Offer flexibility. Flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible hours, can help employees manage their workload and reduce stress. A study by the UK Mental Health Foundation found that 61% of employees reported that flexible working had a positive impact on their mental health.

3. Promote work-life balance. Encouraging a healthy work-life balance can help employees manage stress and improve their overall well-being. Offer resources such as wellness programs or mental health support to help employees balance their personal and professional lives.

4. Provide resources for managing anxiety. Offering resources such as counselling, therapy, or mindfulness classes can help employees manage anxiety and reduce stress. A study by the UK Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 69% of organisations provided access to counselling services as part of their employee well-being support.

5. Reduce workplace stressors: Identifying and addressing workplace stressors can help reduce anxiety in the workplace. Consider things like workload, workplace culture, or relationships with colleagues and take action to address any issues.

6. Promote self-care. Encourage employees to engage in self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, or taking breaks throughout the day. A study by the UK Mind charity found that engaging in self-care activities can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

By creating a supportive work environment, you can help your employees manage anxiety and improve their overall well-being.

Remember, reducing anxiety in the workplace is not only beneficial for your employees but also for your business. According to a report by the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions, addressing mental health problems in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year. So, investing in your employees’ mental health is a smart business decision.

Supporting Employees with Anxiety

If you’ve identified an employee who is struggling with anxiety, offering support is essential.

One important way to offer support is by actively listening to your employee’s concerns and validating their feelings. It’s crucial to empathise with their situation and offer support without judgment. To do this, it’s important to have a trained person on-site that can offer help when it’s most needed. Having a Mental Health First Aider in the business has a number of benefits and can help your employees feel supported.

Another way to care for employees with anxiety is by providing resources such as Employee Assistance Programmes, mental health resources, or counselling services. These resources can help your employee manage their anxiety and improve their overall well-being.

  • Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). The UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association provides information on EAP providers in the UK. Some EAP providers offer free services to small businesses, so it’s worth checking with individual providers to see what’s available.
  • Mental Health Resources. The NHS provides a range of free resources and services for mental health. These include online self-help guides, a mental health helpline, and access to psychological therapies. Employers can signpost employees to these resources, and they can access them independently.
  • Counselling Services. There are several charities in the UK that provide free counselling services for individuals who need support with their mental health. Some examples include Mind, Samaritans, and Anxiety UK. Employers can signpost employees to these services and provide support in accessing them.

Additionally, it’s essential to accommodate their needs. Offering things such as flexible work arrangements or reducing their workload, can help them feel more supported and less anxious.

Recovery from anxiety takes time, and your employee may need additional support and time to manage their symptoms. Being patient and understanding and offering ongoing support as needed is crucial.

Regular check-ins with your employee can also help you monitor their progress and provide ongoing support. These check-ins can also help you identify any changes in their behaviour or symptoms that may require additional support.

Remember that supporting your employees’ mental health is an ongoing process that requires a long-term commitment.

Creating an Action Plan for Reducing Anxiety in the Workplace

Reducing anxiety in the workplace requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both individual and organisational factors. As an employer, you can take several steps to create an action plan for reducing anxiety in your workplace.

Start by assessing the workplace. Conduct an assessment of your workplace to identify potential sources of stress and anxiety. You can gather information by conducting surveys or focus groups with your employees.

Once you’ve identified potential sources of stress and anxiety, prioritise areas for improvement. Consider factors such as workload, workplace culture, and relationships with colleagues.

Develop an action plan that includes specific strategies for addressing the areas you have identified. Be sure to involve your employees in the development of this plan and provide ongoing support and feedback. Your action plan should be tailored to the unique needs and concerns of your workplace.

Provide training and resources to help your employees manage their anxiety and improve their overall well-being. This may include resources such as counselling services, wellness programs, or stress management training. By providing your employees with the resources they need to manage their anxiety, you can help them feel supported and valued.

Monitor progress toward your goals and adjust your plan as needed. Regularly monitoring progress can help you identify areas where additional support or resources may be needed. Be sure to provide ongoing support and feedback to your employees to help them manage their anxiety.

Ultimately, a supportive workplace can lead to increased productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall business success.


Managing anxiety in the workplace is a critical issue for employers. Particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased stress and anxiety levels for many workers. By taking a proactive approach to reducing anxiety in the workplace, employers can create a supportive work environment that benefits all parties.

To support employees with anxiety, employers must recognise the signs of anxiety, create a supportive work environment, and provide resources and support.

Employers can support workers by promoting communication, flexibility, work-life balance, resources, stress reduction, and self-care.

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to provide a supportive work environment that helps your employees manage their anxiety. Create a supportive culture and reduce anxiety for comfortable and productive employees.