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Combatting psychological impacts of recession on staff

There is no doubt that the economic recession has caused mental fatigue and persistent worry in the workforce, but how can companies keep employees happy and productive even in an era of bad news?



How staff is psychologically impacted by the recession

The effects of the economic recession reach beyond layoffs, furloughs, and downsizing – people are suffering psychological effects as well. The worry about potential job loss is causing employees to place unnecessary responsibilities and stress on themselves in an effort to stand out above and beyond other employees in anticipation of potential downsizing.

Mental health issues like stress and worry affect an employee’s ability to perform his/her job well. Add the element of self inflicted competition, and employers are often finding their employees spreading themselves too thin, experiencing burn out, or completing unnecessary busy work or work hours. None of these things are helpful for a company trying to survive the recession.

As a business owner, you need to implement some strategies to ease the stress and worry your employers may be experiencing, and below are four methods that should be implemented:

1. Keep staff informed

Keep your staff informed of the company’s successes. Employees who feel the company is doing well are more likely to have a positive attitude toward their jobs. Knowledge that the company is operating within its goals helps employees to accept that they aren’t necessarily doomed by the recession.

2. Meet about needs

Have regular staff meetings to emphasize what you need and do not need from your employees. People are in a tizzy to impress and stand out among their peers. In anticipation of the next round of cuts or in hope of a chance at one of few pay increases, you may find employees coming in early, staying late, and taking on monstrous work loads. If their efforts are helpful, say so. If they are not, say so. You could be losing money as employees use your time to do unneeded busy work.

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3. Keep everyone in the loop

Let your staff know just how the recession is affecting your bottom line and what that could mean for your budget. Perhaps they are all worrying for no reason. Even if there are potential cutbacks, employees who feel privy to the situation are more likely to have positive attitudes.

4. Head off negativity

Gossip and rumors thrive in most any workplace, but a business whose employers are anticipating layoffs or other cuts will often see an increase in such negative behaviors. Identify and eliminate these instances. Negativity breeds negativity. Negative people aren’t productive.

While there is no way to completely avoid the impact the recession will have on the mental health of your employees, taking these few steps can rid both you and your staff of superfluous worries and other non-productive behaviors.

Written By

Kristyl Barron holds a BA in English Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and an MHR in Counseling/Organizational Management from the University of Oklahoma. Barron has been writing professionally since 2008, and projects include a memoir entitled Give Your Brother Back His Barbie and an in progress motivational book called Aspies Among Us.

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