Your Employees’ Mental Health Affects Productivity

Let’s face it…the majority of your employees are stressed out.  The Coronavirus has grown in contraction rates.  Hospitals are filling up, and most of us know someone who has gotten the virus.  It is becoming very real and there is no end in sight. Many school-aged children have been sent back home.  Several parts of Erie County have been moved into the Orange Zone causing further quarantine requirements.  With the holidays upon us, we don’t know if we will be seeing our families or not.  The last eight months have been stressful enough trying to balance demands at work and at home. Covid is now causing greater stress than it ever has and employees are facing increased mental health issues that may threaten work productivity.

So, what is a leader to do?  The answer is simple, but not easy…get personal with your employees.  The line you once drew between your employees’ business and personal lives needs to be shifted more toward their personal lives.  Now, more than ever, leaders must build trust with employees so you can go deeper into what is causing them stress.  Leaders must be brave enough to have difficult conversations about the struggle workers are facing at home. Where possible, you must conform the work you are administering to fit within the constraints that personal demands are placing on our workers lives.

Your one-on-one meeting is the best forum for this.  One leader told me the first question he asks is, “How are you doing?” If the employee begins talking about business, he asks “How are YOU doing, personally?” Don’t be afraid to discuss what is causing your employee stress.  Probe to discover how they are coping balancing work and family demands. Ask what you can do to accommodate their needs.  Be more flexible with your meeting schedules.  Tolerate interruptions and simply show your employees that you are understanding and wish to help in any way you can.  This will go a long way in alleviating the pressure they’re feeling, and in turn, improve productivity.