One of the most important elements of developing a successful business is keeping the stress of the employees as low as possible. Prolonged intense stress can lead to such mental illnesses as chronic depression and severe anxiety. Symptoms that an employee may be having trouble coping with stress is coming in to work late and leaving early; taking more sick days than he or she usually takes; not being as friendly and outgoing with the other staff members; not meeting deadlines he or she used to have no trouble meeting; eating lunch in his or her office rather than going out to eat with the other staff members; and becoming isolated.

An employee who is under too much stress or suffers from a mental illness such as depression or severe anxiety does not treat the client as well as he should and may not get as much vital information from the client as he should. In other words, his work is sloppy and incomplete and may have negative repercussions. Always remember that a good relationship between the employee and the client is paramount; the client must have absolute faith that the person he employs is competent and knowledge and is looking out for the client’s best interests. A person who suffers from severe stress, depression, or anxiety likely will not instill much confidence in the client.

As an Employer, What Can You Do to Help?

What can the employer do in such a situation to reduce the employee’s emotional distress and make him or her a happy, productive employee again? This is especially true if it is a valued high-level employee who is critical to the operation of the business.

The first step would be to send the employee to the human resources department, if you have one. This can be especially value if the HR personnel has a background in social work or psychology. Different types of treatment work for different individuals. For some, it will be reducing his or her job responsibilities, perhaps cutting out the non-essential elements of his or her job, giving the employee more time to work on the more important aspects of his or her position. For others, especially those who feel overwhelmed and anxious by their duties, there are many things that can be helpful. For instance, when you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, rather than sit at your desk agonizing over all the work you have to do, you can go for a ten-minute walk preferably among the trees or along a stream.

Zen State of Mind

Another strategy is meditation. Meditation works wonders to ground a person and relax him or her. Some guided meditations on U-Tube are 10 – 20 minutes and can be listened to during your lunch hour. After you have been meditating for a while, you may want to try meditating a home for the evening for 45 – 50 minutes or more. Meditation can be religious, but the majority of meditations concentrates on following the breath in and out of the nostrils, the chest, and the whole body.

Communication is Key

If a high-level employee is exhibiting signs of high stress, burnout, depression, and severe anxiety, then rather than send him or her to HR, the employer or manager should sit down with him, review his performance, ask if anything’s wrong at home (marital problems, the spouse says he’s not spending enough time with the kids because he’s working too much), if he’s working too much and how you could reduce his workload, and what a valuable part of the business he is. If he is a high-level employee and integral to the success of the company, the employer may well offer to send the employee to short-term psychotherapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a very popular and highly effective form of psychotherapy that typically lasts 6 to 8 weeks. Seeing a psychologist or other psychotherapist does not carry the stigma it once did and can be immensely helpful in a short period of time.

Provide Perks to Brighten Spirits

Other things the employer can do to boost the morale of the workers and make the job and workplace more enjoyable is by providing perks, such as free lunch on Fridays, a bonus to the employee who made the most sales for the month, a paid day off for the overall best employee of the month, and other benefits. This will give the employees the incentive to work harder, and rather than feel stress they will feel like working harder to win one of the benefits.

Positive Reinforcement

An employee can boost the morale and productivity, and at the same time reduce the stress of individuals by walking to their desks and telling them what a good job they’re doing. When an employer calls an employee into his often, too often the employee he or she is going to be reprimanded for something his or she has done wrong. But when the employer takes the time and effort to go to the employee’s desk and praise him or her for a job well done, the employee is flattered to know how much his or her work is appreciated and his or her stress level goes down.

Happy Working Environment = Successful Business

The working environment between an employer and employees is readily apparent to the clients. If the client walks into a business and finds the employees there are overly stressed, depressed, and anxious, they are going to go elsewhere to do their business. But if the client finds that workers are happy, help each other with difficult issues, and the working environment is pleasant and cooperative, you can bet your bottom dollar the client will do business there.

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