How Personal Stress Affects Your Employees

There are a variety of internal factors that can influence employee performance — office culture, workload, and training. But what should you do when stress outside of work is causing problems inside the office? When personal problems in your employees’ day-to-day lives start affecting their performance on the clock, you need to confront the issue and come up with a plan to address, manage, and minimize it. 

Where You’ll See the Signs of Stress

Some employees might be straightforward and let you know right away when they’ve got a serious problem at home, but others can be more reluctant to share their struggles. Notwithstanding, your staff doesn’t always have to speak up for you to see that there’s an issue. Here are the likely signs that an employee is dealing with some personal stress: 

  • They are calling out more often than usual 
  • Their motivation is low 
  • Their performance is declining  
  • They are tense, irritable, or agitated 
  • They are missing deadlines 

When to Address Their Stress 

Considering the severity of the warning signs listed above, your entire workplace can suffer quite a bit when just one employee is under stress. That’s why it’s important to address the issue once you see that it’s more than a short-term problem. For example, if an employee has a temporary blip in their efficiency, misses one deadline, or calls out unexpectedly, you can monitor their behavior to see if it worsens or improves in the following days before you take the next steps. 

However, if an employee is displaying one or more of the warning signs mentioned for an extended period of time — a week or more — you should consider having a confidential conversation with them before their stress starts to affect your other staff. When addressing your employee, let them know that their privacy is of your utmost concern, and that your team is dedicated to supporting them through personal and professional struggles.  

How to Manage Stress Among Your Staff 

While it’s important to instill a sense of personal responsibility in your staff, it’s also important to step in and offer assistance when appropriate. Of course, the solution you present to a staff member may vary depending on the specific issue they are facing. Some possible plans to present to your employee include: 

  • Flexible work hours 
  • Bereavement leave 
  • Opportunities to work from home 
  • General condolences and sympathy 

Keep in mind that, if an employee is suffering from a medical condition, disability, or a similar type of issue, you may be required to provide certain accommodations based on state and federal law. 

Your Professional Employee Partner 

Managing the stress of your staff shouldn’t add to your own stress. If you’re having trouble responding to the personal problems of your employees and making sure you offer a solution that’s fair to the rest of your staff, count on the help of Professional Employer Resources (PER). Because we’re a human resources provider, we can assist you with federal and state compliance, employee related issues, and management consulting. To learn more about our services and how they can help minimize stress around your office, contact us today. 

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