Part of the fallout of all the economic uncertainty, the government’s petulant turf wars, and the day-to-day struggle with money, has been an overall increase of stress, anxiety, and depression among the majority of Americans.
There is a well-know correlation between chronic stress and anxiety and the increase of stress-related illnesses, and according to a recent PwC Health Industries Survey, as the number of Americans fighting depression, anxiety, and stress increases, stress-related health conditions have been on the rise. Moreover, this is all coming at a time when many have put off seeking health care in an effort to keep their health costs to a minimum.
So how can small business owners keep their employees happy and healthy, especially where money is an issue? Here are three tips to consider:
1. Make sure employees’ jobs are doable. As the economy drags its feet after our recent recession and subsequent “recovery,” many businesses, both big and small, have had to cut back on their workforce, often combining the jobs of two or three positions into one- and doing all this while offering lower compensation.
Where this is the case, business owners should seriously and deliberately keep an eye on their workers to ensure that their workload and responsibility level is still doable. Where it isn’t, then the cutback is no longer profitable, since much money will be lost due to a subsequent decrease in productivity, motivation, quality of work and overall employee loyalty. It is better to see where responsibilities can be reduced by either hiring another worker, outsourcing, or bringing in temporary help. Even changing a worker’s schedule to include more flextime or home-based work, can do wonders to employee moral, productivity, and ultimately health.
2. Institute a “wellness program.” Having a wellness program in place does not necessarily mean building an on-site gym or providing expensive health seminars to your employees; it means promoting a culture of health in the business.
Here are some ideas: organize business-wide outings to local parks or other rustic areas, keep an eye out for free or low-cost health services, events, and seminars in the area and let your employees know about them, re-examine the work breakdown schedule to ensure that a proper amount of vacation time and personal days are worked in, make break time fun and healthy with healthy office snacks, occasional potluck lunches, and even company games or stress relievers; institute “nap time” breaks- where employees can put their heads down and rest for a few minutes.
3. Care about your employees. Having healthy, happy workers often starts with a positive attitude. If you truly value your workers and their input, it will come across to them. But, you have to also make sure that your feelings are followed by actions, such as offering raises or bonuses when and where you can and keeping the lines of communication open between you and your workers. The worst thing you can do is give over the attitude to your workers that they should just be happy that they have a job, while you turn a blind eye to their issues and concerns.