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Connection Time

Wednesday, September 8, 2021 - Joe Kiedinger

Have you ever woken up in the morning, had one thing go awry and then declared the whole day a dud? Maybe you spilled your coffee on your shirt while walking out the door or a train made you late for your first meeting. Whatever it was, that one moment set the tone for the day and you walked through the rest of it with a rain cloud looming overhead.

Do you think that negative tone was perceptible to your co-workers or associates? Did it affect your decisions and conversations that day? Were you less focused? Less effective?

You might be surprised to know that many of your associates are likely facing much heavier stressors in their day-to-day lives—issues that surely affect their mental health and performance at work. Perhaps they’re going through a divorce, are facing addiction or have a parent in hospice.

According to the American Psychological Association’s 2017 Stress in America survey, “stress costs U.S. employers an estimated $300 billion annually through absenteeism, illness and productivity.” In other words, your employees’ mental health has a direct and significant effect on the performance of your company.

Do you have a plan in place to check in with your associates and help them through their struggles? Have you created an environment where your employees can come to you and share their struggles openly?

I urge you to schedule some real connection time with those in your care. Danica and I have been doing just that over the past week. Give your associates a friendly, comfortable space to take a deep breath, let it out and share anything on their mind. And dignify them by listening intently and empathizing with them.

Let’s be there for one another. Let’s connect. Let’s support. Because we’re stronger when we stick together.

JOE KIEDINGER

ACTION PLAN: Take it one step further and put a formal mental health plan into place. What small things can you do to improve upon their wellness?

Boost awareness through training programs? Invest in a meditation subscription? Allow time off for mental health? Provide stress-busting activities? Or better yet, ask your associates what would help them!