How to Spot Signs of Anxiety at Work & Ways to Cope with It?


Most workplaces or offices generally follow the same mundane routines, as we all get used to doing the same thing day after day. The routine can sometimes cause us to focus only on getting through the day, and we can sometimes ignore what is happening around us. For managers, this can become a problem as it leads to them not recognizing changes in their coworkers and their behaviors, changes that could point toward signs of anxiety.

Now, anxiety is difficult to spot, and even more difficult to diagnose. With more and more remote work being done, there is less likelihood that managers can effectively notice signs of anxiety among their team members. Still, some telltale signs can be looked out for, and a few ways to help those employees cope with their feelings of anxiousness.

The Feeling of Anxiety

The feeling of anxiety brings worry, unease, fear, or a combination of these types of feelings. Feeling anxious is normal, but any type of constant, ongoing anxiety can become an issue. In most cases, the cases of ongoing anxiety at work are around stress, depression, and other issues that workers might face.

Because feelings of anxiety are internal, and we generally tend to hide them from others, managers need to approach their employees in a way that lets them feel at ease, and willing to open themselves up. Managers tend to be thought of as bosses, and employees generally only keep a professional relationship with their managers, where personal issues and anxiety are not discussed.

Anxiety also tends to put us in a defensive mental state, where we are hyper-aware of every little thing that happens around us, and that line should tread carefully.

Signs of Anxiety Among Team Members

Spotting anxiety is difficult, even more so when working remotely. There are a few signs, however, that can help determine signs of anxiety so that a few subtle changes can be made to help someone cope.

  • Behavior changes
  • Habit change
  • Very high or low energy levels
  • Social withdrawal and a lack of interaction
  • Increased mental or physical absenteeism
  • Extreme irritability

These signs cannot be taken as is, meaning that they only show anxiety if the context is attached to them. Not everyone has the same signs of anxiety. Two team members with completely different behavioral patterns might be suffering from anxiety at the same time, and only one of two people with similar symptoms might have anxiety as well. In the end, anxiousness is not cut and dry, and for a manager, signs of anxiety should always be evaluated and examined within context.

Read More: Worry And Anxiety Are Often Alleviated By A Good Night’s Sleep

It is also important that an employee’s right to privacy is upheld. Direct questions probing about if someone is anxious can make a team member uncomfortable, and can even get a manager reported to the HR department. Managers need to have one-on-one conversations with their teams that are natural and don’t seem too overbearing.

A few questions like, “Is everything okay, you seem a bit distracted lately?” can help employees open up and reveal their anxiety, but it should be left to them to talk about it.

Copying with Anxiousness

About 25% of US workers say that their work is the primary cause of stress in their lives. Managers often have to account for the fact that most employees might not like their job and work around that to manage stress and anxiety. Spotting anxiety is the first step, and nudging team members toward better mental well-being are even more difficult.

That is why having the option to seek help or to simply offer distractions can be beneficial, such as:

  • Therapy sessions or general psychiatric sessions conducted regularly for all employees
  • Spaces for wellness activities, such as stress-relieving exercises, should be made available
  • Switching up work activities
  • Relieving extra work and pressure from anxious employees

These are not the solutions to feelings of stress and anxiety, but bosses and managers have a limited say in the matter. Anxiety is a personal issue that can cause someone to be very defensive, so providing spaces for self-help is a good method to help employees better cope with their anxious thoughts rather than directly broaching the subject.

Despite that, all employees – both managers and team members—need to know how to handle mental health issues among their coworkers. Providing mental health awareness training can help alleviate some concerns, and help anxious employees feel at ease among their peers.


Anxiety and stress are difficult subjects to approach, and managers need to be aware of their team member’s privacy and personal space when dealing with such matters. Here, we have discussed that while spotting anxiety among your employees is difficult, doing so, and giving them the help, they need is both possible and can be quite beneficial for their overall health and well-being.


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