Supporting employees with anxiety at work

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Key facts:

  • Total number of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases
  • 11.7m days lost due to stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16
  • In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of work-related health cases

Many of your employees may feel anxious at some point in their career. Many people will be able to remain at work whilst they cope with anxiety, but others may need time off. Employee absence is costly to your business and mental health issues can lead to a loss of productivity. But as a caring employer we know you want to support your employees’ wellbeing in any way you can. So we have compiled a list of tips to support employees with anxiety at work.


Tips for supporting employees with anxiety

  1. Notice the signs

    Employees may not want to tell you that they are suffering with anxiety. If you can identify the signs of anxiety, you can help to provide support. Signs that an employee is suffering from anxiety can include: taking extra time off work; over-reacting to what people say; negativity; inability to concentrate.

  2. Create a safe environment

    If you are going to speak to an employee about their wellbeing ensure it’s in a private place and you are completely focused on them. Ask open questions and give them time to answer and make sure you arrange a follow-up meeting to support them with their progress.

  3. Provide mental health awareness training

    The attitude of colleagues can be a barrier to returning to work as well as reduced self-confidence following an episode of anxiety. Mental health awareness training for your employees can help to reduce the stigma of mental health, promote understanding and teach employees how to support colleagues with mental health issues.

  4. Work together

    If employees have had time off for anxiety or any other mental health issue, it’s vital to have an open dialogue with them. Creating a plan for their return to work, setting realistic goals and outlining a process for monitoring their progression can all help to ease their return to work.

  5. Make reasonable adjustments

    Once you are aware of a mental health issue, you have a legal duty to consider making reasonable adjustments. This could mean making a change to the way things in your business are organised or allowing a person with anxiety to make private phone calls to a support worker during the working day.


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About the author

Having worked within both the Jelf Money at Work and LaterLife teams, and now a Senior Marketing Executive focusing on these areas, Maddie has a passion for helping individuals and employers understand the importance of financial, physical and emotional wellbeing, and planning for the future.