What is your anxiety level?

August 29, 2019

When an employee is struggling, take a team approach.

Why are so many employees battling anxiety? How did anxiety bypass depression and how often does the job cause unrelenting anxiety? It is time for management to take a serious, long look at this problem. You can’t ignore the fact that employees are struggling. Some may have a predisposition to developing anxiety which gets exacerbated at work.

So, why am I writing about anxiety? This insipid problem is impacting so many people from all walks of life. Anxiety is making people feel they are at the end of their rope and have no place to go. We need to help them see that ignoring the problem doesn’t work.

Related reading: Eating disorders and dental care

What is causing this epidemic?

  • Health problems-fear your health is only getting worse.

  • Financial stressors- fear you are sinking and don’t know how you’re going to dig your way out of debt.

  • Lack of a support system- fear you are alone and no one cares or understands what you are going through.

  • Abuse- fear of abuse in the home is not likely to improve.

  • Divorce- fear of abandonment and how you are going to survive.

  • Poor self-esteem- fear you are a failure and can’t get through difficult challenges.

  • Childhood messages continue to plague you through adulthood- fear you aren’t going to succeed.

  • Caregiving issues- fear of being overwhelmed and not getting a break with children or parents.

  • Workplace bullying- fear it is only going to get worse and there is no way out.

  • Addictions-fear you can’t function without drugs or alcohol.

  • Lack of work/life balance- fear you are missing out on your life due to working so many hours.

The list goes on and on. Why do I bring this up? These issues may be happening outside the job, but it is negatively impacting the workplace. This is an issue that needs to be looked at closer. What can we do in the workplace to help our colleagues from feeling they are going to lose it and fall apart?                

Do you give support or just ignore the situation the best you can? How you handle this issue is so important to the wellbeing of both your practice and your employees. Your employees are your family. Are you taking care of them?

What can you do?

  • If you see someone is anxious, address it. “Can I help with anything? If you want to talk, I am here.” Ask them what you can do to decrease their anxiety.

  • Take time and listen to your employees. Be authentic. Don’t rush the conversation.

  • If you know a patient agitates this employee, look at ways to resolve the problem. If multiple avenues are explored but the issue still exists, assign another employee to work with that patient.

  • Keep track of incidents. At some point, you may need to refer to those incidents to help break through denial or reluctance to getting help.

  • Explore taking time off to have a mental health break.

  • Recommend therapy if nothing seems to improve.

The important thing is if an employee is struggling, don’t ignore it. When that happens, the employee, the practice and the patients may suffer. Have open communication. Let them know you are a family and the goal is to work as a team. Are you working as one?

Email your thoughts on anxiety and what can be done to help employees at diana2@discussdirectives.com