Addressing anxiety in your agency
Addressing anxiety in your agency

Published by gabriele


Addressing anxiety in your agency

To commemorate Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re discussing the importance of addressing mental health issues and managing stress within your creative design agency.

Mental well-being directly influences our company culture, behaviours, productivity, and subsequently, the overall business success. Creating a harmonious work environment shouldn’t be left to chance.

The official theme for mental health awareness week 2023, as set by the Mental Health Foundation, is anxiety. A feeling many of us know all too well, and one that is particularly prevalent in the world of creative design and branding.

Our industry is one of the most dynamic and exciting fields in the world. It’s joyful, community-focused, and incredibly fulfilling. But the pressure to produce innovative ideas, meet tight deadlines, and keep up with the latest trends can very often lead to workplace anxiety and burnout.

Pair this with the pressures of life outside of the office: Children, romantic relationships, and that bloody cost of living crisis, it’s no wonder we’re all walking around with clenched jaws and racing hearts.

Whilst agency owners can’t reduce the price of groceries, there are actions that can be taken to ensure that work is one less stressor for their employees to deal with – and we’ll dive into those soon…

But first, we want to give it up to our clients. The majority take workplace wellbeing very seriously; and since the pandemic, we have proudly observed many more agencies establish workplace wellbeing programmes and work hard to promote uncensored dialogue surrounding mental health. Many have become B-corp certified because of it.  There is a lot more openness around wellbeing and that should indeed be celebrated.

Many of our clients are working to create a supportive, inclusive, and respectful work environment that promotes mental health and encourages open communication between employees and management.

Identifying Anxiety & Burnout

Now, let’s be clear. We all experience some level of anxiety from time to time. It’s a natural human reaction to stress and not at all shameful or strange. However, if you are experiencing prolonged levels of anxiety, so intense that they interfere with your ability to function effectively at work, this is far from normal and should not be ignored.

Anxiety disorders can be characterised by:

  • Excessive fear and uncontrollable worry
  • Faster breathing and/or a fast, or irregular heartbeat
  • A constant feeling of impending doom
  • Dizziness, restlessness and an inability to sit still


Prolonged anxiety can lead to burnout; a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that goes way beyond everyday fatigue. It’s essential to recognize the signs of burnout in yourself and your team members to prevent it from escalating into a more severe mental health issue or impacting your wider team. A loss of morale is a devastation to creative environments.


Both burnout and anxiety can significantly impact an individual’s job performance, affecting their concentration, creative output, decision-making abilities, and interpersonal relationships.


Common signs of burnout include:

– Feeling tired and drained most of the time

– Cynicism

– Lack of motivation and enthusiasm for work or “quiet-quitting”

– Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

– Increased irritability and moodiness

– Physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle pain, and stomach problems


If you notice any of these signs in yourself or your team members, it’s time to take action to prevent burnout from worsening.


Promoting a Trustworthy, Open Work Environment

Creating a trustworthy, open work environment is crucial for promoting mental health and preventing workplace anxiety and burnout. Recognise that employees will be more prone to anxiety or burnout when deadlines are tight, and workloads overwhelming and address the subject. Employees need to feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns with their managers without fear of judgment or repercussions.

Here are some ways to promote a trustworthy, open work environment:


  1. Lead by Example


Mentorship is high on the list of duties for employees at manager level. If you have employees who report to you, share your own experiences with workplace anxiety and burnout, and discuss how you manage your mental health.

Build an inclusive culture and normalise the topic of mental wellbeing.

This can help your team members feel more comfortable discussing their own mental health concerns.


  1. Encourage Open Communication


Encourage open communication by scheduling regular check-ins with your team members. Ask how they’re doing and if they’re feeling overwhelmed. Make it clear that you’re available to discuss any mental health concerns they may have.


  1. Provide Mental Health Resources


Provide mental health resources such as establishing a Mental Health Aider who can implement a workplace wellbeing programme, offer counselling services, and mental health training.


Companies that have incorporated MH Aider in their workplace wellness programmes have reported tangible positive impacts, including improved employee well-being, reduced absenteeism, and increased productivity.


  1. Create a Supportive Work Culture


Create a supportive work culture by promoting a healthy work-life balance, encouraging breaks, and setting realistic expectations. It’s essential to recognize that employees are human and need time to rest and recharge. Practice workplace empathy to improve relationships and encourage high performance.

Empathy is becoming an essential soft skill in leadership positions, especially with the reverberating effects of the pandemic. It’s about the connections you build and the safety you create. If people feel cared for, they are likely to reciprocate with loyalty and motivation to get their job done and go even above and beyond their normal essential functions.


  1. Celebrate Achievements


Celebrate achievements and milestones with your team members. This can help boost morale and prevent burnout by recognizing the hard work and effort that goes into creative projects.


Tackling workplace anxiety and burnout in the creative industry requires a proactive approach from all. It’s essential to identify the signs of burnout, promote a trustworthy, open work environment, and provide mental health resources to prevent burnout from escalating into a more severe mental health issue. Creating a supportive work culture that recognizes the value of mental health can help employees stay motivated, productive, and creative.

The workplace has evolved rapidly in recent years and whilst there’s still a long way to go, we should celebrate the barriers surrounding mental health which have already been broken down. By continuing to prioritise mental health, we can create a future of the creative world that truly values and supports the well-being of its most important asset: its talent.

For more information visit Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 | Mental Health Foundation or Home – Mind.


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