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November 10, 2020 Amelia Wilcox

How employee anxiety affects productivity (and how to fix it)

Workplaces can be anxiety-inducing spaces for employees — with deadlines looming, office politics to manage, plus unforeseen issues arising such as COVID-19, there’s a lot to handle! Employee anxiety negatively impacts productivity – when your team is distracted by stress, they’re not able to function to their full capacity. However, when employee anxiety and stress are properly handled, staff can get back to focusing on their work instead! 

employee assistance programs for stress and anxiety

Some managers believe that putting more pressure on their team can help up productivity. While this may work for some people, for many others it only adds to stress and anxiety for them. When your staff is stressed or anxious, they’re likely not as focused on their work. Few people function well when experiencing anxiety, and productivity often drops dramatically — affecting the company’s bottom line. According to the American Institute on stress, 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful and one-quarter listed their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. That shows just how big of an issue stress and anxiety in the workplace can be! 

So how should your business begin to minimize stress levels? The workplaces that do it best are knowledgeable about what employee anxiety looks like, and know how to act on it. Let us share a few ways to identify employee anxiety, and how to help solve the issue! 

Employee absenteeism

Anxiety just isn’t good for your health. In addition to lowering immunity, anxiety can also keep employees from doing activities that would help boost their health. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and bad sleeping habits are all often symptoms of anxiety. If they are experiencing these symptoms, it’s likely your staff will be calling out sick more frequently.

More mistakes are made

If your employees who are normally on top of their workload start missing deadlines, dropping the ball on assignments, or making small mistakes — it’s likely your employees are feeling stressed or anxious. This could be because they are feeling overworked. When employees have more to do than they feel able to accomplish, their work (and mental health!) may begin to suffer. 

Employee relationships are suffering

If your office culture seems to be going downhill, that can be a sign of employee anxiety. When employees are experiencing anxiety they may cut themselves off from coworkers and loved ones, preferring to keep to themselves. Staff members that are experiencing anxiety may be less likely to share their opinion on projects, collaborate openly, or participate in culture-building activities.

How to improve employee anxiety

So how can you help create a work environment where your staff can be less anxious? 

Mental health services

Start by instituting a mental health program! This is one of the best things you can do for your employees’ mental health. Lost productivity from workplace anxiety costs employers $1 trillion per year, so it’s worth it to invest in a program that will help your team feel less anxious and more prepared to focus on their work. Some companies offer mental health services specifically designed to address workplace anxiety and have therapists on staff that are very familiar with these issues. Trained professionals know how to truly support employees experiencing anxiety, and bringing them in is a great first step when prioritizing the mental health of your employees. 

Curious about Zenovate’s mental health services? Let us help you turn your workspace into a zen zone.

Support taking time off of work

Giving an adequate number of days off (paid or not) and understanding that employees have a life outside of work, can also be a great way to make employees feel less anxious about their work. Everyone could use a vacation now and then! 

Shorter breaks are helpful too. Taking even just 10 to 15 minutes for yourself throughout the day to stretch, meditate, or walk outside can make a huge difference in your mental state. It can be helpful to require these breaks so that your staff doesn’t feel guilty taking time for themselves (adding to their anxiety rather than alleviating it!). 

Have a healthy work mentality

Making sure that your workplace focuses on constructive critique, growth, and positivity can make a huge difference in employees’ anxiety. Focus on positivity. During your meetings, make sure that problem-solving isn’t about blaming anyone — rather about finding solutions! Be sure to also talk about the accomplishments that your employees have made, the wins — small and large!

While each employee experiences anxiety differently, making these changes is sure to help! 

Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Zenovate formerly Incorporate Massage a leader in corporate massage since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company who’s platform provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement.

Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.

Recently listed as a Forty Under 40, Fast 50, Inc 5000 Twice awarded National Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Licenses, Certifications & Memberships
Licensed Massage Therapist since 2002
Member of American Massage Therapy Association
Served on Utah Worksite Wellness Council from 2012-2015

Attended Utah College of Massage Therapy
Educated in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Utah

Massage Magazine (AMTA's publication)  

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