How to Manage Anxiety in the Workplace
by Tim Healy
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Despite the recent push to emphasize the importance of mental health, anxiety in the workplace remains a stigmatized topic across countless industries. My guest today is a global expert in understanding how anxiety can impact employees, managers, and organizations as a whole.
My guest today is Chester Elton, the author of Anxiety at Work and cohost of the Anxiety at Work Podcast. He is here to address how leaders can address this complex topic with employees.
This week’s episode of The Profit Express is brought to you by Corbett Public Relations, Promoting and Protecting Businesses and Brands for over 30 years.
Addressing the Elephant in the Room
In Anxiety at Work, Chester tells the story of presenting at a big conference in February of 2020. While they had something planned, the topic on everyone’s minds was the new virus in the news, COVID-19.
Listen at 3:40 as Chester discusses how he pivoted in this situation to keep their audience calm. By addressing the elephant in the room, they made it easier for people to talk about their fears.
We have all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. After looking at hundreds of thousands of surveys and coaching countless individuals, we can start to see how the pandemic impacted our mental health at work. At 6:40, Chester breaks down the numbers on how the pandemic drove anxiety in the workplace across every generation, from Gen Z to the Baby Boomers.
How do we break the stigma of anxiety?
At 13:20, Chester has a simple answer for why there is still a stigma around anxiety in the workplace: the “suck it up” generation is still in charge. He offers some troubling statistics, including how only 1 in 10 employees feels safe talking to an immediate supervisor about mental health struggles. In addition, Chester discusses three things you can do as a leader to help create an emotionally safe place.
Having the Tough Conversations
If only 1 in 10 employees feel safe going to a boss with anxiety concerns, what about the other 9? What can you do if you think a member of the team is struggling? Listen at 16:40 as Chester gives ways to start difficult conversations in the workplace if you suspect a staff member is dealing with anxiety.
“You are Never Alone”
It can feel isolating to struggle with anxiety. While you think you are alone in your thoughts, this belief is far from reality.
Listen at 22:05 as Chester tells the story of his friend Chris Rainey. After living so long as “a liar” due to his anxiety, Chris accidentally told the world about his struggles. What resulted is a good reminder to us all that we are never alone.
Changing Up the Annual Review
Each year, leaders meet with their staff members to discuss annual goals and results. At 29:30, Chester offers some advice for a better way to get to learn the stories of your team.
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