Anxiety disorders can restrict an individual’s ability to go about with their daily routine due to intense feelings of worry and fear. Although a disorder in itself, anxiety can also be related to many other health conditions.
The following advice is focused on individuals coping with general anxiety disorders and their employers. We also have information regarding specific anxiety conditions including social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Managing work-life with anxiety
Anxiety disorders can range in severity and symptoms. Many people can comfortably manage their daily lives while others have great difficulty coping with responsibilities, including work.
Regardless of the type of symptoms you are experiencing, living with anxiety does not have to limit the opportunities available to you.
- If you are currently employed, it is important to discuss reasonable adjustments that may be suitable for you with the HR team at your place of work.
- If you are currently unemployed and looking for work, anxiety may provide an extra set of challenges when job searching. However, it is important to know that employers are required to adjust their recruitment processes for people with long-term mental health conditions, including anxiety conditions. It is important to disclose your condition when filling out job applications so the employer can consider making reasonable adjustments to help you feel as comfortable as possible in the interview. Take a look at our dedicated guide to explore the career opportunities.
If you are suffering from an anxiety condition, there are resources available to help. Visit the NHS website for general advice and information about the different treatment options available.
Advice for employers
Anxiety affects a significant proportion of the population; an estimated 1 in 5 people suffer from an anxiety disorder. Most of these people will want to continue with and excel in their career. There are steps you can take as an employer to help them feel at ease and thrive within the workplace. Such reasonable adjustments could include:
- Working from home: People with general anxiety disorder may feel more comfortable and relaxed if given the option to work from home. Allowing your employees control over whether they come into their workplace or work from home could boost productivity for your business, alongside the increasing the wellbeing of the individual. In light of Covid-19, there has been a huge shift in favour of people continuing to work from home, so this could be a great option for your employee.
- FlexiTime: Workers employed on a flexi-time contract typically work a set number of hours per week but are free to choose their own start and finish times. People with anxiety conditions often benefit from having more control over their working hours. This could give your employee the ability to work when their symptoms may be less severe, and ultimately increase productivity.
- Seating preferences: Allowing your employee the option to choose where they sit could bring them more comfort while at work. Some may prefer to sit close to an access door or window, or others may prefer to choose a location where noise levels are kept to a minimum.
Any reasonable adjustments implemented by your business should be specific to your employee and their needs. It is important your HR team take the time to discuss with your employee the accommodations you could offer that are most suited to them. By implementing such adjustments, you are creating a positive working environment, bound to benefit your business by increasing productivity, engagement and staff retention.