Anxiety at work in Germany: A reflection of mental challenges in working life

Extent and causes of work anxiety

More than half of Germans feel burdened by work and are afraid of work. Above all, work pressure, too much responsibility and fears about the future get to people. This is the result of a recent survey by the online company Headspace, which annually surveys attitudes to mental health. The study shows that uncertainty and instability have become the norm in today's world. For 59 per cent of those surveyed, the mere thought of their work triggers strong anxiety at least once a week, six out of ten workers suffer from this stress - more than 17 per cent even every day.

Global events such as economic uncertainties or wars negatively affect employees, HR teams and managers alike in their work and thus also have an impact on the mental health of all involved. In addition, redundancies contribute to the financial stress of many employees - an issue that is becoming increasingly common in working life. In addition to instability, it is above all rising expectations that lead to discomfort at work (47%). Almost as many cite a lack of stability (46%) or uncertainty about whether they can meet the demands of their jobs. Artificial intelligence is also viewed with caution: Four out of ten respondents are concerned about their career prospects due to new technologies and AI.

Business responses and support measures

The study shows that HR teams are also increasingly under pressure to provide emotional support. They have to fulfil their own tasks and face new challenges as leaders. These include safeguarding the economic situation of the company while maintaining a positive working atmosphere and preserving the mental health of their employees. But there is hope: employers have already recognised the value of mental health (92 per cent offer Mental Health Benefits). Also 92 percent report sufficient psychological support, which is even used by almost all respondents; for the study, a total of about 1009 employees and 103 CEOs were interviewed.

The above study findings shed light on the extent of these anxieties and the negative impact on employee wellbeing. But in the midst of these challenges, many companies are recognising the importance of mental health and are increasing their use of support measures.

Below we present some innovative tools and measures available to employers to help their employees better manage stress and anxiety in the workplace:

Important tools and measures against work anxiety:

  1. Mental Health Apps:

    • Headspace and Calm:

      Both apps offer meditations, breathing exercises and guided relaxation exercises for stress management. They can be used individually or in group settings and are specifically designed to promote well-being in the workplace.

    • BetterHelp or Talkspace:

      These are online therapy platforms that offer employees the opportunity to speak with licensed therapists, which can be particularly useful during times of high workload.

  2. Flexible working hours and Home-Office:

    • Allows employees to adjust their working hours to personal needs, leading to a better work-life balance.

    • Home offices can help reduce commuting stress and often allow for a quieter working environment.

  3. Training for managers:

    • Stress recognition:

      Seminars that teach managers to recognise signs of stress and anxiety in employees.

    • Supportive Leadership:

      Training that teaches leaders to be supportive and listen to their teams' concerns.

  4. Counselling services:

    • Internal advisory services:

      In-house psychologists or counsellors can be a first point of contact for stressed employees.

    • External partnerships:

      Many companies partner with external counselling firms or helplines to provide anonymous support services to employees.

  5. Team-building measures:

    • Team outings or retreats:

      Joint activities strengthen the sense of community and can help to bring work teams closer together.

    • Regular feedback rounds:

      An open exchange about workload and internal team problems can have a preventive effect and contribute to finding solutions.

  6. Introduction of break rooms:

    • Rooms specifically designed to offer employees a place to relax and rest during working hours. Some companies use relaxation techniques, soft music or even short massages.

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About the authors

The editorial team of REDEZEIT FÜR DICH is a team of mental health experts, professional coaches and dedicated writers who are committed to sharing knowledge and insights around the topic of mental wellbeing. With a deep understanding of the challenges of modern life and a wealth of experience in supporting people in crisis, the editorial team provides content that informs, inspires and shows ways to personal fulfilment.

In the articles by the REDEZEIT FÜR DICH editorial team, readers will find a carefully curated mix of practical advice, in-depth reflections and motivating stories. Each article is written with the aim of encouraging readers to prioritise their mental health, strengthen their resilience and build a supportive network.

The REDEZEIT FÜR DICH editorial team is always open to suggestions, feedback or personal stories that you would like to share with us. We are here to support, share and pave the way to a mentally healthy community together.