3 Healthy Tips For Coping With Workplace Anxiety

by Dennis Kim
Photo Credit: Ben White

You have an important presentation coming up. You’re up for a performance review. Your boss drops an unexpected check-in meeting on your calendar. These are all scenarios that can cause symptoms of anxiety (sweaty palms, shaky hands, palpitations, etc.). We all experience a certain level of stress at work, and this can either be a positive or negative experience. But when the stress is sustained, symptoms can quickly worsen and escalate to chronic headaches, panic attacks, rapid breathing—which is cause for concern.

Workplace anxiety, according to a new study by entrepreneurship platform ZenBusiness, is experienced by a vast majority of people. Of the 1,000 employees surveyed, close to 50% reported feeling anxious because of their jobs. Furthermore, work arrangement, company size and job tenure seemed to impact workplace anxiety. Remote work, while it is often a way of coping with the social anxiety that can stem from group interactions, can actually lead to increased anxiety. Employees who worked remotely 100% of the time had the highest average workplace anxiety (scoring 54 out of 100). Isolation was cited as one of the major contributing factors.

Moreover, employees who worked for companies with just one to 19 employees had the lowest average workplace anxiety, while those for companies with 20 to 100 employees had the highest. However, the anxiety doesn’t necessarily grow with bigger teams, as employees working for businesses with at least 500 workers had the second-lowest average workplace anxiety. Similarly, newer employees (four years or less) had the highest average workplace anxiety, while those with over 10 years reported the least.

These findings are concerning as anxiety is associated with decreased productivity and negative thinking patterns. As stated in the report, “anxiety is known to interfere with daily activities, and the workplace is no exception.” I spoke to the team at ZenBusiness and we explored some key ways we can alleviate workplace anxiety:

Don’t be afraid to talk about it: Only 28% of employees feel moderately or extremely comfortable telling their boss about their workplace anxiety, and roughly 40% feel the same about discussing it with a coworker. Ironically, these people could be great resources and can work to help calm your anxiety. Find someone you can trust and discuss how you feel with them; they could effect changes that reduce your stress or bring insights that help decrease your anxiety.

Don’t rush through tasks: Half of employees say workplace anxiety has a negative impact on their work performance and 68% say it makes them worse employees overall. When completing tasks, try performing them one at a time in a relaxed state of mind. Things like time blocking and daily to-do lists can keep you on track to knock out a day’s work without increasing pressure or anxiety. If surprises do come up (and it’s pretty certain that they will) calmly reassess your plan for the day to continue crossing things off your to-do list. Taking control of your time and work can help ease anxiety and it may boost overall work performance.

Be confident in your role: Full-time remote employees and employees with tenure of 4 years or less report the highest levels of workplace anxiety overall. It's easy for newer employees or those who aren't physically there to feel less included, which can cause anxiety. Be confident in the role you have by frequently taking note of the accomplishments you’ve made on the job. Did you crush a big project? Earn repeat business from a client? Facilitate the closing of a deal? Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how big or small, because you worked hard to achieve them. It’s important to take pride in your wins and showcase them on your resume or LinkedIn profile. Moreover, you can connect with coworkers and your supervisors to discuss your current performance and set attainable goals for the future. Taking ownership of your role and performance can boost your confidence and give you a clear idea of what you bring to the table.

Sourced form: Forbes - Shelcy V. Joseph

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