The news is worrisome these days. What’s the effect on your employees?

The news is worrisome these days. What’s the effect on your employees?

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Young woman working in office. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.

Employees don’t check their problems at the gate when they arrive at work. An argument with the spouse, financial troubles, or a sick child can cause distress and distraction. And that can lead to shortcuts and potentially dangerous errors. Could the state of the world also be bothering your employees? If so, what can you do about it? Keep reading to find out.
The nightly news is typically filled with sobering events of one kind or another. But these days, things are especially concerning, with reports of terrorism, disease outbreaks, and endless snow and cold in many places.
Stress takes a toll on workers, and ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. The “good thing” about troubling national or world news is that it potentially affects everyone, whereas individual sources of stress impact a single worker, often making that person feel isolated.

The following are a few ideas for helping your employees keep things in perspective and cope in difficult times:

•Encourage participation in your worksite wellness program. If you don’t have a formal program, consider offering a winter walking club, lunchtime yoga, or preshift meditation. Turn to your insurance company or community resources for individuals to lead these efforts. You may have expertise within your employee ranks.
•Schedule a healthy potluck lunch and a discussion led by a counselor or social worker. Give employees the opportunity to talk about the impact of world events on how they’re feeling. Keep politics out of the discussion and focus on trends and topics instead.
•Reduce the stressors that are under your control. For example, make sure employee work areas are well-lit and that snow and ice are being promptly removed. Pay attention to worker complaints and follow up on all concerns.
•Offer a weekly treat, like fresh fruit on Wednesdays or vitamin water on Fridays. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot to give employees the feeling that you care.
•Encourage employees to get away from their devices during off-work hours and engage in sports, hobbies, or volunteering.
•Remind employees that they should feel free to talk with their supervisors if they are feeling the effects of stress or would like additional resources

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