Tips to Deescalate Anxiety in Employees

Health, financial and safety concerns. Major changes at work. Worry about the future.

The pandemic and recent social unrest have created new sources of anxiety for all of us – including your employees. Right now, it’s more important than ever to gauge your team’s mental well-being and help alleviate anxiety they may be experiencing.

Whether your people work remotely or on site, these recommendations can help you alleviate sources of mental stress – and deescalate anxiety in employees:

Address the elephant in the room.
Employees may not feel comfortable coming to you with concerns or feelings of overwhelm. Clearly communicate your desire to make mental well-being a priority, and provide communication channels and platforms so you can check in with your staff – and make it easy for them to check in with you, especially if they’re feeling anxious.

Learn how to spot the symptoms.
Even if you pave the way for candid communication, some employees may not be forthcoming when they’re suffering. Others may not be self-aware enough to realize they’re experiencing anxiety. Here are a few symptoms to look for:

  • Struggling to make decisions, get organized and find solutions to problems.
  • Withdrawal from socializing with other team members.
  • Reduced productivity and focus.
  • Changes in mood, such as lashing out or other disproportionate negative responses.
  • Inability to hear objective facts, or hyper-focusing on fears and potential negative scenarios.

Communicate your company’s benefit plans/programs.

Your employee assistance program or wellness program is likely to offer services to help employees and their families during these unprecedented times. Push communication about your offerings to employees: explain what’s available to them; recap changes or improvements you’re making to ensure their well-being; and remind staff to take advantage of them.

Ensure employees feel set up for success, supported and rewarded.

  • Be sure employees have the tools they need (e.g., equipment, PPE, workspace, communication tools, project access, etc.) to succeed in the post-pandemic workplace.
  • Define clear processes for success. Outline the new rules for work, including expectations, performance management criteria and any other changes which may impact employees’ success.
  • Have fun and celebrate everything. With so much uncertainty in life, highlighting success is uplifting for everyone.

Show empathy.

Investing time to understand your employees’ feelings and point of view creates an atmosphere of psychological safety – which can dramatically reduce anxiety. In this post we review why empathy is so important right now and share tips for becoming a more empathetic leader.

Recognize when you can help, and when an employee needs outside help.

  • Extend flexibility wherever you can. Many employees are managing more than just their jobs right now; those additional burdens can heighten their anxiety levels. While they still need to be held accountable for performance, provide reasonable accommodations to help them maintain physical and mental health – for themselves, as well as their families.
  • These are tough times fueled by fear, uncertainty and, in some cases, loneliness.  Human connection and understanding are more important than ever, so ask about how employees are doing with these struggles in mind. If an individual’s needs exceed what you can offer as a manager, direct them to alternative resources.
  • For more advice on managing employees’ anxiety and fostering mental well-being in the workplace, download our free whitepaper, “Turning on the Lights: Reopening our Business to Rebound Post-Pandemic.”

Are your employees showing signs of anxiety, feeling overwhelmed or burned out?

As a nationwide staffing and employment agency, PrideStaff’s solutions minimize stress and burnout for employees, keeping them happy and operating at peak efficiency. To learn more about our staffing and placement options, contact your local PrideStaff office today.