What Leaders Can Do to Help Ease Employee Anxiety

Anxiety Levels are High

Recent insights from Willis Towers Watson’s updated COVID-19 Pulse Survey have revealed that employee anxiety levels are high as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. A major contributor is the fear of reopening workplaces. The survey found that only 33% of respondents feel confident that their company office locations are clean enough to work in safely and 73% prefer to continue working from home rather than return to office locations. Overall, 83% of those surveyed reported have some level of anxiety from the COVID-19 crisis.

Financial Anxieties

The updated COVID-19 Pulse Survey also shows that finances are a major contributor to employee stress and anxiety right now. 77% of respondents report some degree of financial concern as a result of the pandemic, a near 20 percentage-point gain from when the crisis began.

Luckily, Willis Towers Watson research proves financial anxieties can be eased if employees gain confidence in leadership’s ability to manage the crisis and when worker productivity is better supported. Listed below are steps leaders can take to help alleviate multiple causes of employee anxiety.

Tips for Leaders

  1. Communicate Plans: Employees gain confidence in leaders who not only have a plan to navigate through the crisis, but clearly and frequently communicate that plan. As outlined in the COVID-19 Pulse Survey, respondents ranked the following options as the most important:
  • Ensuring employees know what to do when they experience health and safety concerns (93%)
  • Keeping employees informed about important matters (92%)
  • Building confidence in leaders’ responses to business challenges (91%)
  • Adapting work procedures to sustain or improve productivity (90%)
  1. Maintain Employee Focus: When employees have clear work objectives, they are better able to focus and adapt to shifting challenges. The best way to help them achieve this focus is by providing them with clear work responsibilities, give teams a clear purpose, and explain how their work has a direct impact on the organization or its customers. As with everything regarding COVID-19, the situation will likely change. When this happens, reevaluate and communicate the new focus.
  1. Remember the Basics: Due to the complexity of the current situation, basic resources that are needed to get the job done can often be overlooked. When reopening or reevaluating your work from home policies, don’t forget to provide the necessary basics. These include:
  • Policies regarding travel and in-person meetings
  • Access to the tools and resources needed to work effectively
  • Information regarding health and wellness offerings
  • On demand support when needed

To view more insights from Willis Towers Watson, click here!

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