Guest post: How to Support Employees Who Suffer from Panic-Anxiety Disorders

If you are a business owner who has several employees working under you, you will notice that some of them may suffer from anxiety and panic attacks at one point or another. While this can be a difficult job to handle, firing these workers can’t be the most sensible solution. Even if you have enough reasons to dismiss them, you may be losing someone with promising career potential. They could even turn out to be valuable assets once their problems have been properly managed. It would then be good for your business to learn to support your employees who suffer from anxiety and panic disorders.

Abnormally high levels of stress in the workplace can cause affected employees to miss work, call in sick more often and find it hard to keep work schedules. If you notice that a worker suffers from anxiety or panic attacks that could affect their productivity, you need to step in and help them address the issue.

Provide understanding and support

See the problem from your worker’s point of view. Are they fearful and anxious about getting fired, receiving additional workload or saddled with domestic problems? They could be struggling with the payment of a huge debt or dealing with serious health problems. In order to provide help, you need to know more than what meets the eye. Here are some suggestions to help you manage employees suffering from panic-anxiety disorders.

  • Casually schedule an informal meeting with your worker in an environment that is conducive to talk. This could be over lunch or a cup of coffee. Be as direct, but empathetic as possible.
  • Put your employee in a non-aggressive posture by honestly saying that you’ve had struggles in the past yourself and that you want to help him/her and not cause more stress and anxiety. To make the person more relaxed, emphasize that this conversation is just between you and your employee.
  • Find out if your employee has or is able to get health insurance.
  • During the meeting, make it easy for your employees to handle their anxiety and panic disorder by offering them an adjustable work schedule or other similar solutions. For instance, they can temporarily work from their home once a week until their anxiety or panic attacks subside.
  • Encourage your employee to seek professional help. Stress and panic attacks can be managed and treated through therapy and anxiety supplements. Be prepared to suggest the names of reputable psychiatrists and psychologists in your area.
  • Nothing can be more disruptive or embarrassing than for a worker to experience an anxiety or panic attack while on an important call or a meeting. As an employer or supervisor, you could offer a helping hand in these situations. Provide a contingency plan such as a quiet room where the sufferer could retreat in the event these incidents occur. Supporting a worker suffering from panic-anxiety disorders can bring back their self-respect and confidence.

As your employees learn to manage their anxiety problem, continue to be patient in working with them. You will be surprised that many panic-anxiety disorder sufferers turn out to be the most talented and productive workers.

Just like everyone else, workers who suffer from stress and panic attacks need to feel that they have a chance to succeed in their jobs. Once you have figured out how to support and manage a person with anxiety disorder, you can make a huge impact in their career and their future.

About the author:

Ryan Rivera has worked with many people struggling with chronic illness, and provides anxiety recovery tips at www.calmclinic.com.