On the 30th of May 2023, Kyan Health hosted a Leadership Roundtable Webinar titled “Preventing Anxiety in the Workplace – How anxiety can affect your business & practical ways to support your people.” The webinar aimed to raise awareness of a topic that is often overlooked, but absolutely crucial for the health of our workplaces and the economy as a whole: preventing anxiety in the workplace. Esteemed speakers, including Julie Bodenmann, Global Head of Well-Being at Credit Suisse; Dr. Urs Karkoschka, Kyan Health Advisory Board Member and Former Head of Human Performance Innovation at Novartis; and Yana Romlein, Well-Being Programme Lead at On Running, shared their valuable experiences and insights on the impact of stress and anxiety on the workforce and business performance, the signs and symptoms of anxiety in the workplace, and practical strategies for preventing anxiety and supporting employees who are dealing with anxiety.
Preventing anxiety – a topic yet overlooked but crucial in the workplace
Anxiety and depression are not only a personal challenge, but also have a significant impact on businesses and society. Let us take a closer look at these effects:
- 12 billion workdays and $1 trillion are lost each year due to anxiety and depression.
- In Europe alone, an estimated 25 million people are affected by anxiety.
- 70% of people with a diagnosable mental health issue, including anxiety, do not seek support.
These statistics make it clear that investing in mental health support is not only the right thing to do, but also an imperative business decision. Instead of asking ourselves if we can afford to make this investment, we should be asking: can we afford not to?
Here are our top key takeaways from our Leadership Roundtable Webinar:
Employees should be recognised as whole humans
The webinar emphasised the importance of recognising employees as whole people with personal and professional lives that impact their well-being. Investing in employee well-being positively influences engagement, happiness, and the overall success of the organisation.
Tips for preventing anxiety and promoting employee mental well-being
Promoting psychological safety and implementing comprehensive well-being strategies are two essential steps for creating a culture of care, effectively managing anxiety, and supporting mental health in a global organisation. Leaders can proactively prevent anxiety and promote well-being by empowering employees to take care of their personal well-being and fostering an atmosphere of empathy and openness. This can be achieved through the following strategies:
- Integrating open discussions about mental well-being into regular communications.
- Integrating mental health resources, such as third-party services or mental well-being apps, into the company’s offerings.
- Encouraging leaders to share their own well-being experiences and destigmatise mental health challenges.
- Implementing initiatives to protect focused work time, such as blocking one or two hours a day for deep work, encouraging shorter meeting durations, and implementing flexible remote working policies.
- Creating inclusion groups or communities within the workplace that support mental well-being.
A leader can influence certain factors of well-being
While well-being has many facets, leaders can positively influence certain factors. Leaders need to identify the areas where they can make a difference and focus on leveraging those aspects of well-being that they can effectively influence. By addressing factors such as work-life balance, workload management, and the physical work environment, leaders can create a more supportive and anxiety-free workplace.
The power of rituals
Rituals play a significant role in shaping and reinforcing a company’s desired culture. Establishing rituals such as morning check-ins, house tours during remote work, or other team-building activities helps companies create a sense of connection among employees, foster a positive work culture, facilitate open communication, and increase engagement.
A leader’s behaviour can contribute to a toxic environment
A leader’s behaviour can have a significant impact on employee well-being and can even contribute to a toxic work environment. Taking ownership of the impact that one’s behaviour has on employee well-being involves recognising personal areas for improvement, actively seeking feedback, and making necessary adjustments to foster a healthier work environment.