Currently, the world is facing a severe crisis with the outbreak of the COVID-19. The COVID-19 has affected around 150 countries across the world with major effects in countries like Italy, Iran, China, Japan, and the USA, UK, India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Spain and many more.
Around 2,46,107 cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide and the death toll of people affected by the COVID-19 has reached around 10K+ as on 20-Mar-2020. The 2019 novel corona virus has been officially named as COVID-19 by the WHO (World Health Organization) and this disease has also been declared as a global pandemic.
In India, thousands of suspected cases have been tested and 206 confirmed cases have been reported till 20th March, 2020. The first death due to the COVID-19 was reported in Karnataka on the 12th of March. The Indian Government has evoked Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act to deal with the outbreak of this deadly disease.
Major states and union territories in India such as Punjab, Karnataka, Delhi, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, West Bengal, etc. have started adopting coronavirus quarantine measures to control further spreading of the disease. This includes closure of malls, gyms, schools, colleges, swimming pools, movie theaters, etc. Common people have been instructed to avoid mass gatherings and have been suggested to make frequent use of sanitizers/hand wash, etc.
Precautionary measures like the use of disinfectants in public transport mean, spraying disinfectants across roads near malls and residential areas, etc. have also been taken by the Government. Common people have been suggested time and again to stay clean and safe.
Continuity of business amidst COVID-19
Amidst all such chaos and adverse situations, the major challenge that is being faced by the different industrial sectors of the country is the continuity of business during the outbreak of a pandemic. Even if the Indian Government has sealed the borders of the country there is no such stringent lock down at workplaces across the country. People are still coming to their workplaces as usual to work and to continue the business. However, the threat of being affected by the dreadful disease haunts the minds of the employees working in various sectors.
In such a situation, it is the responsibility of the employers to ensure that their employees are safe during such distressful situations.
1. Work from home for employees
With the Government adopting social distancing as a major step to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, many employers have started to reduce their number of employees reporting at workplaces. Various MNCs, BPPOs, corporate offices and even non-IT organizations across the country have urged their employees to avoid commuting to the workplace and to continue working from home. This is an ideal way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In IT hub Gurugram, the administration has issued advisory to the various MNCs, BPOs and other offices for allowing their employees to carry work from home at least till the end of March. It has also forbidden the gathering of more than 200 people at a particular place to prohibit the spread of COVID-19. The employers at IT companies have started implementing the “work-from-home” model quite conveniently especially for the employers of IT firms in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Around ninety percent of the employers in India believe that it is urgent to provide the employees with an option of remote and flexible work.
Many employers have also asked their respective clients for waivers by which their employees would be able to work from home as some service agreements need to follow a high level of security at the development centers. IT companies and their employers have been preparing for this emergency by upgrading their testing and networking procedures so that more and more employees can avoid coming to the workplace and work from homes. However, some employers feel there might be some clients for whom work would not happen in a protected environment and might lead to loss of revenue.
In addition to the IT industries, employers from many other non-IT firms have also started implementing the work from the home model for protecting their employees from COVID-19. Companies like Volvo, Flipkart, Coca-Cola, Godrej Consumer, Uber, etc. have made it feasible for the employees to work from remote locations. Moreover, many organizations have also suspended all sorts of business travel, domestic and international trips until the conditions are normal again. Any interviews or meetings/conferences can be conducted via telephones rather than a face-to-face meeting.
2. Other precautionary measures for employees
There are many other organizations and firms where it has not been feasible for implementing the “Work from home” model. Companies that form a part of the stock market ecosystems, manufacturing companies, and non-IT firms, other small and medium enterprises have not been able to implement work from remote locations on a wider scale. In these companies, the workforce at the workplace is normal but along with a lot of precautionary measures which are being taken by the employers.
a) Thermal screening of employees
Employers must ensure that the body temperatures of the employees coming to offices are checked before allowing them into the office. Many manufacturing plants and other organizations where the workforce is normal at the office to have made the thermal screening of employees mandatory.
b) Use of disinfectants, sanitizers and hand wash
The use of disinfectants, sanitizers, and hand wash plentifully and regularly is the only way to avoid getting affected with the COVID-19. Employers must ensure that these life savior liquids are available in plenty for the employees and they are aware of the hygienic guidelines. Many companies like Hike, Volvo have made disinfectants and alcohol-based sanitizers available in the bay areas, cafeteria and washrooms so that employees maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
c) Vegetarian food and supply of juices rich in Vitamin C
Some firms have made vegetarian food mandatory in the office cafeteria. Also, fruits rich in Vitamin C such as oranges, guavas and lemons or juices of these fruits are being served in plenty as snacks in the office cafeteria. This is an effective way by which employees can be kept safe from the dangerous effects of COVID-19.
d) Personal protective equipment and N95 masks
Employers must check that employees coming to offices are provided with personal protective equipment, N95 masks, and hand gloves to prevent being affected by the dreadful virus. Also, advisory about the maintenance of personal hygiene can be issued by the employers to make the employees care about hygiene.
e) Continuous training on respiratory hygiene, washing of hands
HR team of the companies can ensure that proper communication emails and training are provided to the employees on hygiene and other precautionary measures related to COVID-19. There can be small online sessions or even face-to-face group sessions providing awareness about COVID-19 and emphasizing the importance of precautions.
f) Free medical consultations through partners in case of any COVID-19 symptoms
Swiggy which is a leading food-tech firm in India has been a pioneer in the COVID-19 awareness drive among its employees. The food delivery partners at Swiggy have been continuously trained about the best practices related to hygiene as well as associated symptoms. Moreover, the firm commits to providing free medical consultation to any delivery partner being affected by the COVID-19. This can be stated as an ideal example of an employer supporting the employees during this dreadful crisis.
With the absence of any proven medication for the very rapidly spreading COVID-19, precaution seems
to be the best cure available currently. During these difficult times, continuity of business is only
possible when there is complete support from the employees. Hence, the safety of the employees must
be of the utmost priority for employers. Employers must ensure that their employees are aware of the
precautions to be taken against COVID-19 and follow the tagline “Stay clean, stay safe”.
What comes to your mind when you imagine the ‘ideal’ leader? The ideal leader is someone who doesn’t let his temper get the better of him no matter how complicated the situation is. The ideal leader is also the person who leaves their doors open to communication with everyone and anyone in their team – they are ready to listen – they have the complete trust of their team members – and they make informed decisions keeping in mind the interests of all the people involved. Well, if you look at it generally, you won’t find anything special about these qualities, but there is more to these qualities than meets the eye. A deeper understanding would lead you to an essential quality that a leader must have in this day and age. We are talking about emotional intelligence, which is most commonly referred to as Emotional Quotient (EQ).
You can take courses and join training to develop your technical skills and move ahead in your career. But, there comes a point when your technical skills aren’t enough. At this point, you are required to showcase your leadership skills, of which EQ is a big part. In simpler words, it is man-management. You need to be emotionally involved with people you work with. By doing this, you will be able to deliver feedback, coach teams, manage stress, and collaborate more efficiently. Before we move any further, let us first understand what EQ exactly is.
What is emotional intelligence or emotional quotient?
Simply put, EQ is the ability of understanding and managing emotions, both your own as well as of the people around you. This term came into being in 1990 and was first used by researchers Peter Salovey and John Mayer though it was made popular by psychologist Daniel Goleman.
Goleman had this to say to the Harvard Business Review about emotional intelligence’s importance in leadership, “The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions.”
Goleman was right. EQ has emerged as a must-have quality that separates great leaders from ordinary ones. In research done by TalentSmart, it was found that EQ is the aptest indicator to gauge performance. A survey conducted by CareerBuilder to study the impact of EQ provided us with some interesting insights into the minds of hiring managers. Of all the employers who participated in this survey, 71 percent said that for them EQ is more important than IQ as people with a higher EQ are more likely to show empathy while responding to colleagues, stay calm under pressure, and resolve the worst of conflicts more effectively.
What is EQ in leadership?
To begin with, leaders with high EQ are considered better change agents – they are better at connecting not only with their team but anyone who has anything to do with their company. There is a huge misconception that only emotionless and ruthless leaders can get their teams to work and drive businesses forward. Everyone has a different personality and qualities. You don’t just have to portray yourself as a leader to the world; you need to be a leader from the inside. That’s how it works.
A business isn’t just about revenue generation and investments; it’s more about relationships. If you have a leader who shares a great relationship with the team, you won’t have any trouble. When you have a leader who knows how important it is to be emotionally involved with the employees, you will have more loyal employees who will happily stick with you for years on a stretch without complaining.
Leaders with high EQ see business as a love affair with their team members and other people involved. These leaders love what their work and the people they work with. These leaders lead by example, respect the values of everyone involved, build trust, are determined, are motivators, are optimistic, and are empathetic. They address the needs of their people and ensure that they do everything in their power to fulfill those needs. When you invest in leaders with a high EQ, you can expect great success in the long run.
Emotional intelligence allows leaders the power to make employees aggressively and collectively perform towards achieving a common goal. When the employees believe that their leader is on their side, they would listen to everything he says and do everything he asks them to. A great example of arguably the greatest leader in sporting history is Sir Alex Ferguson. He managed to stay at the helm at Manchester United for as long as 26 years and won everything there was to win in this period. How did he manage to do that? He was emotionally involved with every player. He managed some of the biggest egos in the sport and made them all believe that winning is a habit. No wonder he and his Manchester United teams were so successful.
Why is EQ important in leadership?
Emotionally intelligent leaders create safer working environments in which employees thrive. Employees openly communicate, share ideas, and take risks in such environments. This leads to the building of organizations that have collaborative working ingrained in their culture.
An emotionally intelligent leader has what it takes to take an organization on the path to success. When they bring about necessary changes for the betterment of the organizations and their people, they take into account the emotional standing of each and every employee and how they are going to react to those changes. They are better prepared to deal with adverse reactions.
Leaders with high EQ are so successful because they don’t take things personally. They are always thinking a step ahead and don’t allow small things to trouble their egos in the slightest. While personal vendettas between employees and leaders are amongst the most common hindrances to efficiency and productivity in organizations, emotionally intelligent leaders ensure that nothing of this sort ever happens in their teams.
There are so many organizations that continue to struggle out there, even with all the experience and technical know-how they possess. The biggest reason for their struggles is that they don’t have emotionally intelligent leaders at the helm. Organizations can enjoy several benefits when they have emotionally intelligent leaders calling shots.
You will see better engagement in the team. Teams that don’t go along too well or don’t go along at all with their leaders find it very hard to capitalize on the benefits of working as a team. A leader that is emotionally connected with the team will never let this happen.
You will have a great company culture. Organizations that think they have a great company culture are often miles away from reality. The common feeling in their employees is not the same. Experts believe that the relationship between leaders and teams only thrives when there is a culture of high trust and openness. Leaders with high EQ promote open communication, which eventually leads to the culture that organizations want to achieve.
High-performing employees. Employees that are trusted by their superiors and aren’t subjected to negative emotions, perform at a very high level. All these benefits that we talked about have one thing in common – emotionally intelligent leaders. These leaders manage their own energy and encourage as well as reward people displaying positive energy.
What are the 5 characteristics of emotional intelligence?
Self-aware people are always in sync with their emotions, and know-how their emotionally-driven actions can affect the people around them. A self-aware leader knows about his strengths and weaknesses, and also how important it is to behave with humility. Here are a few things you can do to become more self-aware:
Stay calm. It is not easy when emotions are running high. But, that’s how you are going stand in a crowd of ordinary leaders as a great leader. Whenever you experience strong emotions, don’t react. Take your time and examine how you can deal with the situation in a better way.
Keep a journal. Many people have used this method to improve their self-awareness. Write down your thoughts every day and analyze them. This is how you are going to reach a higher level of self-awareness.
Always stay in control of what you are going to say and what you are going to do. Leaders who exercise self-regulation never make emotional decisions, compromise their values, verbally attack people, and stereotype people. So, what it is that you can do to improve self-regulation?
Accountability. Take accountability, never blame others. It takes a strong personality to accept mistakes knowing the consequences. But, that’s what makes a strong leader who commands respect from everyone around him.
Understand your values. Spend some time knowing and understanding the values that are dear to you. Are there things you are never going to compromise on? What about your code of ethics? Finding answers to these questions will help you make correct ethical decisions and be on the right side of morality every time of asking.
Leaders with empathy are critical to managing an organization or a team the right way. Empathy lets you be in the shoes of someone else, which in this case could be employees. Leaders with this quality play a crucial role in developing the members of their team, providing constructing feedback, listening carefully to what others have to say, and challenging those who aren’t fair in their actions. If you want your team to be loyal and respectful to you, you have to empathize with them whenever required. What can you do to improve empathy?
Understand the importance of body language. When you are listening to people, don’t ever behave as if you aren’t interested. You need to make them comfortable and give them the impression that you are willing to listen to them. Imagine how you would feel if someone did the same to you. Would you ever talk to them again? And listening properly and maintaining the right body language also allow you to prepare a proper response.
Put yourself in their situation. Everyone can support their own point of view. It is the easiest thing in the world. But, leaders need to look at situations from different perspectives.
Respond to feelings. Never let your team feel that you don’t understand how they feel. If you ask one of your team members to stay late, and they agree without sounding too happy, you shouldn’t ignore that disappointment. Tell them you are very happy to see their willingness to work extra hours. Also, if it was a last-minute call, make sure that you inform them at least a day in advance so that they are well-prepared.
Self-motivated leaders don’t need outside help perform consistently at the highest levels. They set high standards of quality and commitment for their teams. Here is what you can do to improve motivation:
Find out why you are doing what you are doing. With all the demands of corporate life, you might end up forgetting what you love about your career and how excited you were about this job. If you are struggling to find out why you got into this job and why you should continue, try and get to the root of the problem to start seeing your situation in a completely new light. Make sure you keep motivating yourself by refreshing your goal statements.
Find out where you currently stand. Are you motivated enough to lead a group of people? Look for resources that can help you increase your motivation. Look for things you can do to start afresh – Things that have worked wonders in the past too.
Hope is the key. If you lose optimism, nothing in this world can help you find solutions to your problems. Motivated leaders never lose hope and are always prepared for the worst. They also know what they need to do to get out of that muddle. Every failure or challenge brings with itself the opportunity to look at the positive side of things. You just need to be optimistic enough to look the way that no one else is.
E. Social skills:
Leaders, who are good in social skills are often great communicators. Good news or bad news doesn’t matter to them. All they care about is getting their team ready and excited about working on a new project or achieving objectives. Leaders with these qualities are also very good at resolving conflicts and getting their team to come to terms with changes. How do you improve your social skills?
Improve your communication skills. You will be able to resolve 90 percent of the issues in your team if you are an excellent communicator. Work on your communication if you want to be a good leader.
Learn to resolve conflicts. If you want to be a successful leader, you need to know how you can resolve conflicts between your team members, vendors, customers, and other stakeholders.
Learn to praise people. Praise people, who you think, deserve mention. There is no wrong in appreciating people’s efforts. This also makes your team loyal to you.
As we step into a new decade, there is a major shift in organizational development, moving from a “wisdom economy” to the “human economy.” Companies and organizations have started adopting network and team-based structures where the growth of the organization and the well-being of the employee have turned essential.
When it comes to employee well-being in an organization, the human resource plays a major role in building bridges between the administration and the employee panel. They also help the administration realize that the best wellness program is not just concentrated on cost-saving and absenteeism, but they also donate to the organization’s growth, long term, and short goals.
This article would help us understand the necessity of employee well-being in an organization and how human resource plays an important role in handling employee well-being.
Before trying to know why an HR has to contribute or what is the role of an HR in employee well being, let us understand, why an awareness program is recommended for an employee.
Not just from the perspective of the health and wellness of an employee, there are other jargon that can affect your small or large businesses. Employees are major assets of a company, who need more care and awareness on how to handle work and personal life.
To be concise, the wellbeing of an employee is the wellbeing of the entire organization. The wellness programs indeed help employees to make the right decision at work.
There are certain elements in a typical wellness program which include meditation, the right nutrition, consistency, and curiosity over fitness schedules, and it goes on. But most of the time, it is misunderstood by the common health insurance plans and other medical benefits and policies of the organization.
Now let us study what actually is human resource?
What are Human Resources (HR)?
The Human Resource is the key department of an organization that really understands, finds, screens, recruits and trains a job applicant. They are also involved in educating or administering the employee benefit programs for the well-being of both, the employee and the organization. HR also plays an important role in helping the organization as it moves to a faster-growing environment.
Here are some of the major roles of a human resource:
A department that is associated with the company or organization which helps to find, screen, recruit and manage job applicants.
They involve compensation benefits, recruitment, and firing, staying updated with the laws that disturb the company and employees.
In recent times people have switched from in-house administrative to outside vendors as they benefit the organization.
The Human Resource department helps companies with their core values and ethos.
These features make the GoodBudget app so popular among users not just in India, but all around the world.
Defining Human Resource:
As mentioned earlier the Human Resource is the key or even the critical resource of an organization. They focus on employee productivity and ways to improve its standards. They also protect the company from issues that threaten its growth and sustainability.
The Human Resource of the organization takes care of the entire compensation benefits, recruitment and firing processes and keep the organization authorities updated with the judiciary laws that need to be maintained and followed to run the company smoothly.
The following are the key responsibilities of the HR that adds more value to the organization,
Handle and care for the employees of the organization prudently
Develop skills that build individuals as well as the organization
Improve innovation, creativity, and flexibility to improve competitiveness
Involve new approaches to the workplace, career development, and internal organization
These factors complete an entire human resource. All of these improvements and processes do not occur instantly, but they happen over time. And that is why it requires a lot of patience for the organization; hence they hand it over to the human resource to handle them.
Now let us have a brief look at how an HR handles employee wellbeing of an organization.
Role of an HR in Employee Wellbeing:
Here are a few tips that HR has employed to manage or handle an employee’s wellbeing in an organization.
Assessing the current situation:
Most of the times while assessing a current scenario of an organization, Human Resource executives tend to concentrate only on the management and impose various policies that let employees suffer tremendously.
Consider a simple example, A startup that is into Digital Marketing, Application Development and Web Development, employs designers who could work efficiently for projects assigned to them. The capability of the designer is understood only when he/she is given an appropriate tool to handle the scenario.
As the project brings a low income to the company, the authorities of the organization might neglect the requests of the designer who wants to prove his/her capability. Eventually, this may affect the design that the client expects, ending up with a poor income which is lower than the destined budget.
This is where the human resource should involve in recognizing both the company as well as the employee’s needs and provide them the required resource so they could perform in a way that the organization gets a positive reputation.
This not only builds the brand of the organization but helps in the growth and wellbeing of the organization as well as the employee.
Evaluating data appropriately:
Not just assessing the current situation is important, it is good to evaluate the data appropriately. What does “DATA” mean here? The data is something that is concerned about the employee’s wellbeing as well as the frictionless growth of the company.
Now, let us look into a different scenario; say a company works 12 hours and 6 days a week. The mind and nature of an employee or every employee who works with the company will be average or less. Whereas, consider an organization that works just 8 hours and 5 days a week.
The potential growth of the organization that worked for 8 hours and 5 days of a week will be eventually greater than the other company which worked for 12 hours and 6 days of a week.
A company (or) an organization’s growth is measured through the effort that is put in and not the number of hours that the company works for. The analysis says the company that worked for 6 hours and 4 days a week had a better return on investment when compared to the rest of the organization that worked for 8 hours and 5 days.
Here, the calculus is even minimal and yet they were productive. This method was implemented recently as proclaimed by the current prime minister of Finland, Mrs. Sanna Marin. Isn’t that amazing. This is where a human resource should act, between the employee and the employer.
There are chances that the organizational authorities would go out of their mind, regardless of the benefits they would obtain out of it. Yet, a well-groomed Human Resource Manager would be able to handle the situation more effectively. This not only encourages employees physically but also allows them to produce potential results in their workplace.
Effective communication system:
Most companies avoid transparent communication between the employee and the employer. It is indeed hard to survive such a topology of an organization. There is not a single company that has survived in the long run with an untransparent communication system.
The benefits that an organization provides and the demands of the employee panel should be exchanged in a meaningful and effective way that they can be handled and resolved at the right time. This helps with the healthy growth of the organization as well as the employee base.
This is where a human resource executive or the team plays a vital role. The human resource shouldn’t bypass the process of carrying or exchanging the information. They should work as an honest mediator between the parties and help them establish a healthy and organized workplace.
As mentioned earlier, the human resource team should coordinate between the branches of the organization or its elements. Any organization, that is handled and managed by an enthusiastic and capable human resource, can witness an intense growth in their career.
The Human Resource should perfectly coordinate between the teams and perform necessary advancements that can help both the organization and the employees simultaneously.
The HR team can perform periodical personal sessions with the employees and make a note of the common drawbacks and hardships they face on the work floor. It does not necessarily be a salary hike or anything that is related to finance.
The constraints may fall from company timings to financial hesitancies. This can be resolved only when the human resource takes appropriate action towards hearing the employee’s inabilities and discomforts. That is how they contribute to the wellbeing of an employee in the organization.
When supervision is taken lightly, it leads to bigger conflicts in the organization. That is why there should be an Elaborate/ Mannered supervision in the company.
– What does mannered supervision mean?
Keeping a detailed track record of every single graph of the employee panel, the organization authorities, growth of the organization and the downfalls of the company. These records could help the company as well as the employee panel to sustain in the long run.
Mannered supervision involves five important steps that are already mentioned in this article. Yet, here we have them in succinct.
Meet employee requirements to work effectively with the organization.
Train or educate employees for better growth.
Assist employees in managing time and performance.
Turn into a resource.
By supervising all the above-mentioned, a human resource manager could definitely establish a perfect work culture within the organization.
Above all these steps and methodologies that a Human Resource executive could perform, there are certain challenges that they themselves could face within the organization. Now let us have a look into the challenges in implementing a complete wellness program.
Challenges in implementing a complete wellness program:
Implementing any wellness program that is followed by an established company or organization would be better, but implementing the ones that are not into existence is a typical challenge a human resource could face. The following are some of them:
Evidence of absence in wellness programs that they are cost-effective towards the company
Forceful disciplinary activities on employees can be bitter
The over-screening process may end up with negative feedback
Interference of private data of employees and lack of protection in biometric information of employees could end up in conflicts
Employer’s adoption of default and robotic replies to employees in order to avoid wellness programs may end up in a mess.
Considering the wellness program, a waste of time is one major drawback among both employers and the employees.
The human resource has to face and overcome all the above-mentioned challenges in order to establish a well-disciplined wellness program. Human resources also undergo various other challenges that are not addressed here. Explaining or mentioning each one of them would take a lot more time.
As the transition of work from knowledge to the human economy has advanced in the years, there is still a lot to cover in this area of workplace culture. Human resource is trying to march effectively and tirelessly towards such goals. Yet, they find a lot of discrepancies in their way either among the administration or the employee base.
The entire human resource would require a lot of patience and consistency in achieving their goals, and as mentioned earlier, that would happen over time and not instantaneously. It is not just the responsibility of the Human Resource, but it is also the assistance of the administration and the employees that they may achieve the desired wellbeing of the employee.
Therefore, wellness would march from the luxury of a professional in a establish country to a necessity for all countries in their economic growth. Consequently, human resources would play a definite role in building a strong workplace as well as an economically strong country.
Financial stress is very real and widely seen among the salaried class. And since a vast majority of the people are salaried, this stress is widespread and has many detrimental attributes. Unbeknownst to you, your employees too may suffer from constant financial stress. Is there anything you can do to help them? Fortunately, you can. There are some effective ways in which you can control the financial stress on employees. But to do so effectively, you first need to identify the problem and understand its causes and impacts. Read on to know more.
Let us begin by understanding what financial stress is. The constant worry about meeting financial goals refers to financial stress on employees. A particular employee may be constantly worried about his inability to pay his home loan EMIs or pay his child’s upcoming school admission fee. These worries tie him down and stay with him 24/7. So even when he is at work, his mind is preoccupied and this hampers his work performance. Financial stress on employees is directly linked with lower productivity and this is why you, as the employer, should be very concerned about it.
Let’s talk numbers:
16% of the people worried about money for more than 20 hours every month contributing to a dip in productivity and increased absenteeism at work.
37% claimed that their problems were heavily distracting them at work.
68% of the employees were under financial stress.
72% of employees were clueless about how to save for retirement, highlighting the need for financial awareness.
So, they end up either with health issues or leave the company or are less engaged. Thus, financial or money matters are a major cause of stress in your employee’ life.
What causes financial stress on employees?
There are quite a few factors that cause financial stress. Some of them include:
Excessive debt –
It is very common to find families drowning in debt these days. People take too many loans at once. It is not unusual to see someone opt for a home loan even before they pay off their student loan. In addition, they also have credit card bills to clear and so on. Being in a lot of debt is the main cause of financial stress on employees. Oftentimes, your employees’ salaries may not be enough to clear their monthly dues and this puts them into severe financial stress.
Insufficient savings –
Young executives these days aren’t always disciplined about their savings. They are impulsive spenders who end up saving only a small amount of money. The lack of savings can be another cause of financial stress on employees. When a person has a corpus of saved money, he is more relaxed and vice-versa.
Unstable financial markets –
Another common modern trend is investing in the stock markets. Young employees like taking risks and invest a huge chunk of their earnings in the financial markets. However, when the markets become volatile and unstable, they stand to lose all their invested money. This causes tremendous financial stress and your employees are unable to take their minds off it.
Low qualification –
Education is the key to success and everyone knows it. While all your employees have the needed degrees and diplomas, not everyone may hold the highest qualification needed to swiftly climb up the career ladder. This causes tension and worries among the lesser qualified workforce as they worry about promotions and future earnings due to their insufficient education qualifications.
These are some of the main factors that cause financial stress on employees.
What is the impact of financial stress on employees?
Now that you know what financial stress on employees is and the reasons behind it, let us see how it impacts your employees:
1. Absenteeism –
You cannot expect a person to simply keep his problems at home and walk into your office every day with a smiling face. A person faced with financial stress will remain stressed round the clock. This will lead to loss of sleep. Other impacts may include excessive consumption of alcohol, dependence on drugs, etc. These may lead to disruptions in your employee’s lifestyle and he may end up missing office regularly. For instance, a financially stressed employee who cannot get proper sleep consumes a sleeping pill and then sleeps till noon the following day. This prevents him from being at his workplace at 8 AM. Increased absenteeism is one of the main and most hard-hitting impacts of financial stress that causes troubles for your employees as well as your organization.
2. Lower productivity –
Whether he comes to work every day or stays at home most days a week, an employee who suffers from financial stress will automatically be less productive. This is because he is constantly burdened with his monetary worries and he will spend a lot of his working hours doing research on how he can sort out his troubles. He will not be able to give in his best when his mind is boggled with such deep stress.
3. Severe health problems –
Financial stress causes a lot of harm to not just mental health, but also to the physical health of a person. This is quite clear because the mind and the body are very closely related. Your employee who is financially stressed may face the following challenges:
Hypertension – Hypertension is the increase in a person’s blood pressure levels. This has some very serious health impacts and can also lead to an individual’s death. Financial stress causes hypertension in many people as the heightened stress levels make it impossible for the person to maintain the desired blood pressure levels.
Heart ailments – Heart ailments are also very common in those who suffer from financial stress. To maintain proper heart health, a person needs to be stress-free. The anxiety that stems out of stress can lead to cardiac disorders which can also prove to be fatal in the long run.
Headaches – Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches that many people suffer from. Since financial stress is one of the most severe forms of stress and tension, these headaches affect the people very severely, causing throbbing pain, numbness, nausea, etc.
Weight management problems – Sadly, your employees who are going through financial stress, may end up binge eating all the time and become overweight due to it. Obesity poses many threats to a person’s overall wellbeing and should be avoided at all costs.
Sleep disorders – Stress is directly related to sleep disorders. Unless your mind is clear and calm, you will find it very difficult to fall asleep. This is why your employees who have financial stress have so many sleeping disorders.
Memory loss – Stress fogs the mind and this causes temporary (permanent, in some cases) memory loss. This is again a huge problem and it is something that stems out of financial stress.
As you can see, these are serious health problems that can make your employees very ill and further hamper their work-performance.
4. Poor concentration
As mentioned above, a person who is stressed is always preoccupied with his own thoughts. This causes a shift in his focus and he is unable to concentrate on the job you have given him to do. This hampers his productivity. It can also lead to serious errors which can be harmful for your organisation.
5. Impact on work ethics –
Getting into fights inside the office or being rude to fellow workers may not be things you would want to encourage at your firm. However, the employees who are tremendously stressed with their own finances may indulge in such activities. This will have a very negative impact on the overall ethics and mannerisms of the workforce and may bring in lots of ill-reputation to your company.
As is quite obvious from the points mentioned above, financial stress on employees is a real hindrance that impacts your employees and subsequently, impacts your and your organisation as well.
How can companies reduce financial stress on employees?
As a concerned employer, you need to review the situation and take control of it. If your employees are stressed, their performance, health and behaviour will all begin to dip. As an employer who largely depends on his employees’ performance for profits, you need to take stock and help your employees to reduce their stress levels. Here are a few ways in which you can do so:
Be observant and empathetic
Start off by being more observant. Notice which employee seems more stressed, whose performance has been poor and who seems to be anxious and disturbed at all times. Be empathetic and address the issue with care. Do not reprimand the employee for dragging his personal problems into your office. Rather, assure him of your support so that he gets the much-needed confidence to proceed ahead.
Hire a counselor
It is very important for every organisation to have a therapist or mental health counselor present in the office premises. Each employee, irrespective of his designation, should have full access to the therapist to whom he can confide his problems in a confidential manner. The therapist can also greatly help in lowering the level of financial stress on employees and prevent further issues from taking place.
Have an employee assistance program
Have a helpline number where your employees can call in and discuss their issues at the most vulnerable of times. Many people may not be comfortable talking to a counselor about their problems face-to-face. An assistance program such as helpline number may be of great use to them as they can discuss their problems and get the best solutions thereafter.
Hire a financial advisor
It is an excellent idea for you to hire a financial advisor who can train your employees about financial management. From paying off EMIs on time to fruitful investments, the advisor can share many tips. This can go to a large extent to reduce the level of financial stress on employees. The advisor can be a full-time employee or a part-time resource, but all your employees should have free access to him at all times. This is one of the most effective measures you can, as an employer, take to reduce the financial stress on employees.
Offer flexible work options
Rather than being rigid about clock-in and clock-out times, offer flexible work options to your employees, especially those who are under financial stress. If the employee is on medication and cannot wake up in the morning, allow him to work from home as long as he finishes all the work assigned to him. The added tension of getting a late or absent mark at work will only further disturb his mental peace and he will get pulled deeper into the stressful situation he is fighting.
Offer health insurance
Stress and mental dis-balances are, unfortunately, a sad reality. Your employees suffer from it and this makes them mentally and physically unwell. However, the situation should never get out of hand. To ensure this, your employees need to get themselves checked by the best of healthcare practitioners and get the necessary assistance to overcome their health conditions. As an employer, you must offer sufficient health insurance with the help of which your employees can get the medical attention they need when afflicted by financial stress. This will help them to bounce out of the condition and resume their work in a free and healthy state of mind.
Review the salary structure
If you notice almost every single employee in your office is financially stressed, you need to review the situation. Are you paying them too little? Try to go over the salary structure of each employee and see if any changes can be made. Do not be too generous here as you too have a business to run. Find a balance to make your employees less stressed while bringing home the profits too. Note here that this may only be applicable to small businesses that have a handful of employees. If you run a larger organisation with thousands of employees, you possibly cannot increase everyone’s pay! This will cause tremendous imbalance to the finances of the company and that won’t be helpful for anyone.
Be an employer who cares. Be an employer who is always there for the well-being of the employees. Follow these guidelines and you will become that employer in no time.
What benefits do the stress-busters offer?
If you have been wondering what actual and practical benefits the stress-busting mechanisms can offer, here are some answers for you:
Increase in productivity
The first benefit an employer like you, who offers support to the stressed employees, stands to get is a hike in productivity. As stated, you wholly depend on your workforce to get the job done. When all your employees are fit and healthy, they work better and you see a surge in the overall productivity.
Increase in profits
This is quite an obvious benefit – a well-performing workforce will drive in more profits for the organisation. When you have your employees working to their full capacity without making errors or losing focus, your profits are bound to increase.
An employer who takes care of his employees is always very popular and much sought after. This brings in a lot of good reputation to your organisation and clients and vendors look to get associated with you. This again helps your business to grow and the profits to rise.
Retention of talent
If your employees are happy with the support they get from you, they will work with you for longer periods of time. This will help to retain the talent that you recruited and trained. If the employees do not get the support or feel added pressure from the employer, they will not think twice before switching their jobs.
Positive work environment
And finally, offices that have a majority of mentally fit and relaxed employees have a better work environment. People are happier and the camaraderie is open for all to see. This drives in a lot of positivism into your office and keeps your workforce healthy and happy, leading to a spurt in their performance.
These are the main advantages you get when you take care of your employees and help them overcome the financial stress that pulls them down.
The final word
As you can clearly see from the points mentioned above, financial stress on employees is quite pertinent and it has some very damaging effects. As an employer, you therefore need to ensure your workers are as stress-free as possible. You may not be able to solve all their problems, but by following the tips mentioned above, you may help them quite a bit. Do what’s best for your employees and they will perform better, which in turn, will prove to be beneficial for your organisation as well.
Workplace mental health is a simple as physical health. Productivity in the workplace is just as much a mental activity as it is a physical activity. When workers are dealing with problems such as anxiety, depression, and more, they tend to be less productive, and the company could suffer as a result.
Mental health at workplace is a set of steps that can be taken to ensure that people are able to coexist in a workplace and be their best, most productive selves without adversely affecting their emotions or mental state.
How can you improve the mental health of employees in your workplace?
Let trust be a working foundation
Challenges such as substance abuse and mental health are really difficult for people to talk about, especially when these people have the challenges to deal with.
As an employer, it’s important to create a certain level of trust between the company management and the employees, which will make anyone feel comfortable with communicating their challenges and concerns to others; it could be a fellow employee, or it could be a supervisor.
At the end of the day, people would feel at ease with discussing their challenges, and the company should help create a roadmap to help them overcome them.
Take out stigma
Teams that are overly focused on performance could end up isolating embers that are feeling anxious or depressed. However, as an employer, you will need to find a way to make mental health issues less stigmatizing.
Openly speaking about all of these issues can be a great way to start, as it helps staff to feel comfortable with voicing their needs and concerns
A lot of companies these days provide well-being and health benefits to employees in a bid to encourage healthy activities and lifestyles. They provide incentives for exercising, leisure, and much more. In the same manner, mental health should be prioritized as well. Employers should ensure that employees are mentally fit, and they should promote proper, healthy habits that will help their workers improve on both their mental and physical health.
Provide on-site training
Several training programs provide a great way of providing the right information and effective techniques on how to speak to and provide support to a colleague who needs help, thus helping your company to produce a strong and resilient workforce.
Why is mental health important at work?
To understand the significance of mental health in the workplace, here are some important mental health at the workplace statistics
The World Health Organization estimates that anxiety and depression cost the global economy about $1 trillion annually in terms of lost productivity
The Organization also found that an investment in mental health is a worthwhile one. As it discovered, putting $1 into treatment for common mental disorders can provide a ROI of $4 in terms of increased productivity and enhanced health
Mindfulness and meditation programs aimed at reducing stress have been found to be increasing in popularity, as up to 53% of employees are looking into making more investments in that area
In a report by Capita, the following were discovered:
Up to 79% of workers have experienced several cases of stress within the past year
22% of workers experience stress more often than not (or all of the time)
47% of workers now see it as being normal to feel anxious and stressed at work
45% of workers have considered looking for a new career path because they found themselves in a severely stressful one
53% have known a few colleagues who were forced to quit their jobs due to immense stress
49% don’t believe that their direct superiors will know what to do about dealing with mental health issues in the workplace.
If these mental health in the workplace statistics show anything, it’s that companies will need to do their best to their best to support their workers who are dealing with mental health issues in the workplace
How does mental illness affect the work performance of your employees?
Understanding this will require a look into the main causes of mental health issues in the workplace
Demands are perhaps the most significant contributing factor to stress in the workplace. Demands could be due to the workload, the work pattern on a specific long-term project, or even the work environment.
Simply put, the following could be easy triggers of stress:
Unrealistic expectations and short deadlines
Constant exposure to technology without a break or “de-steaming” period
A lack of sufficient staff to handle a project
Overly long working hours, especially without any accompanying additional benefits to help soften the blow
All in all, employees are able to feel that the demands of their jobs are getting too much, and in due time, it could lead to anxiety and stress.
A lack of work control
In this case, employees are unable to dictate the terms under which they do their work. Most companies provide easy compromises, especially when making some unusual demands of their employees. However, when they’re unable to influence their work process, things become less free for them.
Some of the most significant aspects of a lack of control include:
Little to no control over various aspects of a project
Limited involvement in major decision-making processes
Inadequate account taken to suggestions from staff and workers.
No influence on targets and objectives
Employees are required to have a little bit of control over the pace at which they work, as well as the requirements of the company as related to a project being conducted. When they’re left to keep working at the whims of upper management, they begin to feel like slaves who have no say in how they make a living.
Support from the company is also an important aspect of keeping employees happy and free of stress. When they’re left to fend for themselves without knowing that they have proper support from their colleagues and the company management, their anxiety about the job grows, and they’re limited in how they express themselves or approach their job.
Limited support also stifles innovation, as workers are left to continue working on repetitive tasks without an incentive to think outside the box and bring up new ideas for the company to adopt; apart from the mental effect that this has on the workers, it could also be detrimental for the company as well. Ideas could come from anywhere, and shutting employees’ ability to express themselves the right way never helps anyone.
Stress in the workplace could also be caused by a lack of understanding of an employee’s role at the company. Coupled with inadequate training, role ambiguity could lead to conflicting responsibilities, as well as an inability to easily combine multiple facets of a position.
Role conflict and ambiguity will go on to affect workers’ performance, thus increasing their ability to leave the company much earlier than they should.
This is why it’s important that all roles are properly defined, and any associated information should be made available to employees in good time. Understanding the scope of their job is a great way for workers to excel at it, and systems should be put in place to ensure that employees are able to raise any concerns that they have. Much more than that, policies should be put in place to ensure that these concerns are addressed and in good time.
Issues with work-life balance
Everyone has a life beyond the work that they do. Some have spouses and children, while those who are single at least have friends and loved ones that they share their lives with.
Much more than the fact that these acquaintances and family provide employees with an opportunity to grow, they are also there to help them with hard times. However, relationships require maintenance, and there’s an implied commitment that people enter into when they start a new relationship- whether romantic or platonic.
Up until now, the issue of balancing work and life is a hot-button one, and it’s yet to be solved for several reasons. As the global work culture becomes more demanding, the increased pressure is beginning to tip the balance, and people are now having it more difficult to spend time with their family members and those who they love.
Mental health and productivity in the workplace are related in more ways than one, and there is a significant potential for the demands of work and home to spill over to each other, thus putting a strain in peoples’ relationships and work productivity. The most critical of these triggers include:
Long hours at work
Inflexible work schedules that become too demanding
Excessive travel time
All of these have a high potential for interfering with personal and home time, and the problem is that as relationships get more affected, people begin to get distracted at work. Relationships are a critical part of life, and when a person loses an important relationship, they become unable to function as they should at work- especially if work is the reason why they were unable to fulfil their commitments.
Poor work relationships
We’re all human, and if social sciences have taught us anything, it’s that it isn’t possible to get along with everyone. While this is fine, it becomes problematic when varying personalities clash and blow up to become conflicts at the workplace.
They might not be such a common cause of mental health at workplace issues, but poor relationships with co-workers can be rather perplexing. It impedes the ability of a worker to be free and creative on their own, and it reduces their productivity a great deal as well.
Why should you not fire an employee for having mental health issues?
Apart from the fact that it could lead you in some legal troubles, it is important for you to provide adequate support to employees who are dealing with mental health issues in the workplace.
A lot of people tend to be their most productive when they feel mentally fit. When you fire someone who has a breakdown or is suffering from a challenge, you’re essentially painting yourself to be an employer who doesn’t care much about the plight of his workers. In the long run, workers feel less comfortable in the workplace, and are more pressured into producing results. It’s a vicious cycle, which could lead to both emotional and physical harm to the employees.
Mental health at workplace issues can affect anybody. As an employer, you should also remember that mental health and productivity in the workplace are related, and your employees are the engine of your operation. If they feel uncomfortable because they know that they could be fired for facing mental health challenges, they will be unable to give their maximum effort to ensuring the success of the firm.
How should you encourage your employees to speak about their mental health?
The first thing you need to do as an employer is to build trust with your employees. Workers are only able to speak about their mental health challenges when they trust that they can be heard without any judgment, stigma, or some other repercussion.
You could also adopt the anonymity rule. Provide a platform for people to voice complaints anonymously, thus ensuring that people can speak and get their problems addressed without anyone else knowing what could be going on.
Improving conversations is another way to get this done. Provide a forum where people can speak about mental health at workplace issues that they face, and allow them to proffer solutions to some of their common solutions. However, you will also need to show a commitment to solving these problems.
Employers should also show empathy to the plight of their employees. The devotion to ensuing their mental well-being has several far-reaching effects, including the ability to encourage other workers to share their problems as well. Managers should form stronger bonds with their employees, so they can see when these people are weighed down by one issue or the other.
Employee burnout is something that quite a lot of workers across the world deal with. According to a CNBC report, Gallup took a survey of 7,500 full-time staff in 2018, and employee burnout statistics showed that 23 percent claimed they felt burned out often, while 44 percent claimed they were burned out sometimes.
There’s a lot to unpack about employee burnout, and it can be quite a drag. However, it’s important to understand the problem from a holistic level.
What are the 5 stages of employee burnout?
Burnout doesn’t just happen. It’s a slow burn that occurs across several stages. Here’s how the progression goes:
Enthusiasm: The enthusiasm stage is just the beginning. Here, you invest your energy into a job or a project, and you do all you can to meet a set objective (or a set of objectives, as the case may be)
Stagnation: You find that your life is begging essentially binary- you have nothing but work and home life, and most of the time, one suffers for another. You could try putting in more effort, but not much changes and you feel distraught
Frustration: When stagnation continues to build, you get overly frustrated, and you find that your efforts aren’t paying off at all. This feeling of powerlessness leads to frustration, and it grows over time
Apathy: This is the onset of both disillusionment and despair. You accept things as they are, and just become indifferent
Intervention: When the frustration leads to apathy and you see no way out, you look to someone to help out and make things better in some form.
What causes employee burnout?
There are a lot of employee burnout causes and cures. However, you won’t be able to proffer a solution to something you’re not familiar with. So, before we go into how to combat employee burnout, let’s look at some of the contributing factors.
Too much work on employees
No matter how industrious or energetic am employee is, there’s always a point where they burn out eventually. When there’s an ever-increasing amount of work placed on an employee, then the likelihood of employee burnout is significantly increased.
In an Engagement Report published by Tiny Pulse, about 70 percent of employees feel like they won’t be able to get their allotted of quotas done on every week. One of the simplest ways to address this employee burnout sign is to ensure that workloads are reasonable, and workers have easy access to the tools and resources they need to get their jobs done the right way.
Narrow job definitions
A lack of job and operational scope width could also cause employee burnout. When a worker is made to do the same thing (or the same couple of things) time and again over an extended period, the experience leads to mind-numbing monotony, which will, in turn, lead to boredom and natural employee burnout.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that workers should be made to cover wide scopes of work, but even the smallest variations in routines could help keep the spark in the job. At the end of the day, what no one wants is to wake up every morning and feel like they’re just going through the motions.
A depressing work environment
One of the most significant causes of employee burnout is a depressing, non-enabling work environment.
A person who is constantly exposed to depression in an environment and who has no way of getting out continues to stoop into an unhelpful mental environment. Since the mind tends to manifest itself into the physical sooner or later, there’s no way burnout can be prevented.
Solving this goes beyond just making everyone feel friendly and smile every day. There needs to be a culture of upliftment and cheer around the work space that comes from the top down. When everyone feels supported and cared for, their morale increases, and so does their energy
Employees were hired to perform specific tasks, and as a leader, you should leave them while they conduct their work. No adult human loves being micromanaged and monitored at every stage of their work. Apart from the fact that it could be degrading, it leaves them under the constant pressure that they might not ever be able to do a job that’s good enough.
Employees should be made to operate autonomously, and they should be allowed to operate to the extent of their abilities. Mistakes will be made, but you should be there to offer a guiding hand.
An unfavorable compensation structure
Regardless of what anyone says, the most significant thing that workers work for is money. While they might get satisfaction from being able to help your company meet its objectives and touch lives, the truth is that none of that pays the bills- money does.
So, it’s one thing to expect workers to keep working hard and enjoy their work, doing that will be quite impossible to do when they don’t get paid enough for the services they render. High expectations really only work when workers are being paid enough.
In 2017, Tiny Pulse released its 2017 Engagement Report, which showed that about a quarter of workers would very much be open to taking a job somewhere else if they were promised a 10 percent bump in their salaries. When workers are properly compensated, they stay motivated and energized to help your company grow.
How can employee burnout be prevented?
If you’re a worker and you notice that you’ll be busy for the foreseeable future, then you should keep burnout at a minimal level. That said, here are some simple tactics you could employ:
Get enough sleep
One of the most publicized symptoms of burnout is insomnia. When you get less sleep than you should, your brain gets weighed and is unable to function at optimal levels.
There are also a few other consequences, including but not limited to an increased likelihood of accidents on the road and several diseases (such as hypertension, cancer, and depression)
Exercise is a crucial aspect of your physical and mental health. Regular exercise will help reduce stress, thus going a long way to take down the chances of burnout as well. When you exercise, you know you’re taking proper care of yourself, and that confidence helps take out the chances of both physical and mental exhaustion.
Exercise also increases your productivity and cognitive performance, according to a blog post from PD Resources.
It has been proven that laughing can relieve stress and provide a wide array of both long- and short-term benefits. Currently, every piece of research conducted about laughter has shown that it produces nothing but positive results.
So, interact more with your co-workers and laugh more. Really, it never hurts anyone.
Know when to decline
No one has ever benefited from being a “yes man.” When you’re at work and people notice that you say yes to every project and every favor, they tend to take advantage of that. The more you take upon yourself, the higher the chances of you getting burned out faster.
Saying yes to everything can be easy, especially if you have that go-better attitude. However, for the sake of your own productivity and mental health, you’ll need to learn how to decline some tasks.
How can I help my team with burnout?
The first step to helping your employees is to understand some of the most important employee burnout symptoms. These include:
Increased lateness or absenteeism
A reduction in production and work quality, especially from someone who has higher work standards
Changes in personality around the office
Reduced engagement and isolation.
When you spot any of these employee burnout signs, then it’s important to take action. Here are some of the most significant ways to improve the situation:
Monitor employees’ workload: Make sure you don’t end up piling your employees (especially your most productive ones) with too much work. It never ends well.
Encourage vacations and make structures available: Hard work should be compensated. When you notice that an employee is exhibiting one of the employee burnout signs mentioned above, encourage them to take some time off and blow off steam
Switch things up in the workplace: Employees like variety, ensure that you don’t cultivate an overly monotonous work environment
Embrace flexibility: For some workers, the commute to work alone can be depressing. Thanks to 21st-century technology, however, it’s now possible for people to work at home and still be as productive as they would be if they were at work. Embrace it as well
Encourage the work-life balance: Show your workers that they can be engaged at work and still maintain a great life at home, no one said both things need to be mutually exclusive.
Streamline your processes: Increased bureaucracy only kills productivity. Make sure to take out (or, at the very least, reduce) all time-consuming processes that could frustrate workers
Compensate fairly: One of the most important things you could ever don for your workers is to ensure that they’re properly compensated. Make sure that their pay matches the level of work and effort they put in.
Show appreciation: For every great job done, make sure the worker feels valued and appreciated.
Provide work resources: One of the ways to ensure that workers stay motivated and strengthened is to provide them with the tools they need to carry out their jobs effectively.
Make them decision-makers: Decide on the things that employees can know about, and seek their input. From the little things like when next to go for an offsite or how many days they would like to come to work next week, make them involved in company decisions, and show them that their opinions are valued. If you can’t implement their suggestions, let them know why
How do I relieve employee stress?
Encourage wellness in the workplace
Two of the most potent weapons you can have against employee stress are healthy living and exercise. Exercise will help your employees take their minds off the stress they feel while at work, while also helping to boost their moods.
When employees feel that you value their health, they’re bound to feel more valued. As Peapod.com explained in a study, about 66 percent of workers felt happy when their employees restock the fridge, while 83 percent claimed that healthy eating was a huge work perk.
Change the workplace
A lot of employee stress comes from the work environment. If you want to relieve it, then think about every aspect of the office space and how it could improve the wellness of your workers.
So, optimize the workplace to value their wellness. From things like the coffee quality to big things like changing the office furniture, try as much as you can to revamp the environment.
Let employees work remotely
If you’re confident about the employees’ ability to get the work done and produce reports, then let them prove it to you. The office should feel less like a cell, and workers should be free to work from home from time to time.
Among other things, it allows the workers to understand that their work hinges on productivity, and not whether or not they get to the workplace.
Make time for social activity
All work and no play makes everyone dull. Encourage more social activities, and let the employees spend time together. As they continue to socialize, they feel more comfortable with each other, and the interactions between them are improved.
Everyone loves a little bit of praise when they do a good job. So, if you notice that someone has crushed their objectives, be the first person to show them how proud of them you are. This achieves two goals; it makes the celebrated employee feel valued, while others are also encouraged to double up on the work.