Negativity in the workplace hurts worker productivity and costs money. Workers who are present but performing less than 100 percent due to illness or stress actually cost companies more on worker productivity than absent workers do, losing an average 12.4 days of productivity a year versus an average 3.5 days lost due to absence, according to a study by Willis Towers Watson.
Organizational behavior experts Michael Matteson and John Ivancevich have estimated that workplace stress costs employers $300 billion annually. Promoting a positive workplace environment is in your organization’s best interests.
Here are five strategies to promote a positive mindset in your workplace so that your employees function at optimal worker productivity levels.
Workplace stress is partly physical, and exercise is one of the best antidotes for the physical component of stress. The benefits of regular exercise are indisputable among modern medical experts, say Dr. Elizabeth Anderson and Dr. Geetha Shivakumar in a roundup of the scientific literature.
Stress alters body chemistry in a negative way, whereas exercise tends to promote a more positive chemical balance. Moderate intensity aerobic exercise performed 20 minutes per session three times a week for 12 weeks has the most beneficial effect on stress management, says Dr. Len Kravitz in his review of the research. To bring the benefits of exercise into the workplace, promote an employee wellness program. Encourage your employees to participate in the program by emphasizing the insurance benefits of participation, which allow organizations to negotiate better group insurance rates. You can also promote participation by offering employees membership at a nearby gym with convenient hours that fit workers’ schedules.
Stress due to depression was one of the biggest time-draining culprits in Willis Tower Watson’s study, with employees who suffered major depression episodes losing 15 to 20 percent of productivity per year. Worrying about money was also a big contributor to employee stress. Helping employees address these underlying stressors can boost your workers’ productivity. One effective strategy for achieving this is providing an employee assistance program (EAP) which offers employees services such as counseling, financial management training, and career and life coaching. Eighty-five percent of Fortune 500 companies use EAPs, which average a return of $3 per $1 invested, according to the Department of Health and Human Resources. EAPs are often underutilized due to lack of awareness and stigmas about using mental health services, so make sure you inform your employees about your program and let them know their confidentiality is protected by law.
Another way to reduce employee financial stress and promote positivity is by offering programs that nurture career advancement. Forty-five percent of employees who change jobs do so because they are concerned about the lack of potential for advancement in their current position, according to a LinkedIn survey. Showing your workers that you support their career development goals will motivate them as well as improving the talent pool within your organization. One way to promote employee career advancement is offering tuition reimbursement programs and scholarships, such as the College Achievement Plan recently launched by Starbucks. Employee mentoring programs can also let workers know you support their career goals.
Forty percent of U.S. households with children under 18 include mothers who are the sole or primary source of family income, Pew research shows. For workers who have concerns about children, employers can promote positivity by supporting babysitting services. Some employers offer on-site babysitting services, which does boost employee morale, but it also runs the risk of workers interrupting work to check on their children. Many companies find that a better solution is helping employees pay for babysitting by providing a flexible spending account, says LC Staffing.
Many employees receive no recognition for their work and don’t feel appreciated. Letting your employees know you appreciate their hard work is a great way to promote workplace positivity. Periodic raises, employee-of-the-month awards, and thank-you notes are a few ways to show your employees you value them.
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