Is ‘anxious’ the new busy? 😰

Mood disorders. They’re nothing new, so why are does it feel like they’re becoming an increasing problem in our younger workforce. It’s been a hot topic of conversation across many of our clients across a variety of industries, the main question being ‘Why do most of my juniors have anxiety?’ and ‘What is the best way to manage Gen Z?’.

Perhaps we are witnessing first hand a whole new generation entering the workplace, bringing in the complexities of socioculturalism in the post COVID world. Yes, COVID is worth mentioning (as much as we would like to have moved away from it). It’s important to acknowledge the impact lockdowns, alienation and segregation have had on young adults, and what we are experiencing with them coming into the workforce.

Developmental psychology and sociology often refer to our ‘formative years” as the lasting impact of friendships and social relationships formed during high school. Anecdotally, we speak about the impact lack of face-to-face human interaction has had on Gen Z, creating angst to engage in meetings, come into the office and be around others and generally ‘learning the ropes’ of what it is like to work with others. Could this be due to a significant number of the “formative years” being spent locked down and homebound?

At this stage, there isn’t enough data to provide us with a valid and reliable view of what is happening and the best way to handle it. But what we do know is that feeling anxious isn’t a new feeling and therefore managing it in the workplace doesn’t necessarily have to take a new approach.

It comes down to creating an environment which establishes trust, and a space where your employees feel safe to raise concerns and issues. Promote a continuous learning environment and a commitment to career development. Foster ongoing and open communication within your team. Ensure you are clear with your expectations, and observations, but more importantly, ensure they are being understood.

Addressing anxiety in your younger workforce doesn’t have to be a costly exercise. It starts with commitment to effective communication and checking in with your people. This is something good employers should be aiming to achieve regardless of the ages and background of their workforce.

What do you think?

#genz #mentalhealth #peopleandculture