Mental Health Awareness Week (from 15 to 21 May 2023), is an ideal time for us all to think about mental health, tackle stigma, and find out how we can create a society that prevents mental health problems from developing and protects our mental well-being.
Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, including exam pressures, relationships and finances to name a few, but one of the main feelings of anxiety can occur with the stress of work. Our latest article looks at workplace anxiety and how to spot the signs and reduce stress.
What is workplace anxiety?
Workplace anxiety is the presence of the symptoms of anxiety, such as feelings of unease, worry or apprehension, about work. These feelings could occur whilst you’re in the workplace or outside of working hours. The causes of workplace anxiety include worries about your job performance, working relationships, working excessive hours, upcoming deadlines, your job security or a toxic workplace culture.
Workplace anxiety, and similar mental health concerns like stress and depression, is a common issue in the modern workplace – with the Health and Safety Executive stating those conditions accounting for 50% of all work-related ill health cases. Sadly, suffering from anxiety at work can seriously affect your ability to do your job.
Workplace anxiety symptoms
People with workplace anxiety may worry about:
- Driving to work
- Financial problems
- Interacting with colleagues
- Participating in meetings
- Performance reviews
- Giving presentations
- Meeting deadlines
- Other work-related tasks
Causes of workplace anxiety
There are lots of things that can contribute to work-related stress. These include:
- Demands of your job – for instance, feeling like you have an excessive workload or unrealistic targets or deadlines
- Feeling that you lack of control over the way you do your job
- Not having enough support or information from managers or colleagues
- Difficult relationships with colleagues or bullying at work
- Being unclear about your job role and what you’re meant to do
- A change in your workplace – whether that’s a change in your job role, team structure, management or something else
Not everyone feels stressed by these things though. Different people cope with pressure differently. Things like your age, experience and ability may affect this. It can also make a difference how resilient you are to dealing with stressful situations, and if you have any other pressures at the time.
Managing anxiety at work
Asking your manager for help is usually the first point of call to address the issue. Discussing your workload with your manager and tying to set realistic targets and talk about how you can solve the issues you’re having, can relieve some anxiety. Trying to balance your time if you are feel you are doing too much can help. If you don’t give each task your full attention, it can take longer. Try to claim your time back if you ever need to work extra hours to get something done.
Reward yourself for achievements. Rather than only focusing on work that needs to be done next, reward yourself for tasks you’ve completed. Your reward could be taking a break to read, doing a puzzle, chatting with co-workers or spending time outside.
Be realistic. You don’t have to be perfect all the time and you might find that you’re being more critical of your own work than you need to be. Work within your limitations and try to be kind to yourself.
For further information on workplace anxiety, please contact us here.