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Friday, September 10, 2021

Lean Quote: Work Place Stress and Anxiety

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.  —  Leonard Bernstein

Workplace anxiety broadly refers to work-related stress that causes anxiety, or the impact of having a diagnosed anxiety disorder at work.

Regardless of the source, addressing anxiety at work can lead to more positive outcomes for both employees and employers.

Similar to general anxiety, symptoms of workplace anxiety can include the following:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling jittery
  • Difficulty focusing 

Employees struggling with workplace anxiety may also exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Decreased performance and productivity
  • Increased number of sick days or time away from work
  • Appearing disengaged or struggling to meet goals

Anxiety at work can be vastly different from one person to the next. However, long work hours, high-stress situations, or feeling a lack of support from managers and coworkers can heighten anxious feelings. Giving presentations, tight deadlines, or being tasked with a big project are other anxiety-producing situations.


If you are feeling anxious or stressed at work, try the following tips:

  • Organize your physical workspace. If you’re dealing with a cluttered desk, unfiled documents, and more open internet browsers than you can count, it’s time to take a break and get organized. Cleaning up your physical work environment can do wonders for clearing an overwhelmed mind.
  • Be honest and ask for help. If you do not have the time or bandwidth to take on that huge new project without sacrificing your mental health, speak up and be honest about what you can handle. Letting your peers or manager know that you need help early on is better than missing a deadline later. Having regular 1:1 meetings with your manager can also ensure that your workload is being discussed regularly, helping to increase transparency and avoid surprises.
  • Recognize small wins. Sometimes we are so focused on moving from one task to the next, we forget to celebrate our accomplishments. Before diving into your next project, take a minute to reflect on the items you’ve completed so far.
  • Plan ahead. Big projects with multiple components and deadlines can be overwhelming. Divide larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps and tackle them one at a time.
  • Avoid negativity. Listening to others complain can make you feel even worse so steer clear of negative conversations and focus on the control you have to complete your own work.
  • Take breaks. Time for yourself is vital. Get outside, exercise, call a friend, read, or utilize your vacation days if you need more time to reset. 
  • Lend a hand. If you are not personally struggling but notice that your colleague is showing signs of anxiety, check in with them, offer to help and/or bring the issue to their manager’s attention. Caring for each other is a team effort.  

While this list is not exhaustive, hopefully applying a few of these tips to your daily routine will provide some relief.

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