A popular t-shirt in the 1980s espoused simply that, “Life Happens.” And happen it does, as daily people face the ups and downs of birth and marriage, death and divorce, financial ups and downs, and injury and disease. Every day each one of us faces a variety of personal problems and issues, of all weights and complexities, bombarding our emotions and vying for our attention. It is obvious to say that often these personal stresses (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘productivity’
Employers know that parents worry about their children, and sometimes are preoccupied with thoughts about their children’s health and well-being while at work. To be sure employees going through a litigated divorce are often preoccupied with the process and worry about the outcome.
There is a lot of talk these days about employee stress. Employees report feeling overwhelmed with higher employer expectations for less pay. The news is full of headlines about long-term unemployment, and most have either experienced unemployment recently or know someone who has. It is reasonable to assume that current economic conditions increase stress experienced in the workplace. (more…)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is 20 years old. In addition, recently employer focused ADA compliance issues and requirements were in the news as a result of some political campaign, included national coverage of Rand Paul’s senate run in Kentucky.
It is hard to argue the impact of ADA in our everyday lives, many accessibility improvements have become commonplace when they used to be rare. Technology has also increased accessibility options – such as voice simulation on computers, virtual offices, web-based communications – allowing widespread access to information, communication, and functionality that was not an option 30 years ago.
Despite the options currently available, at issue for employers is complying with ADA accessibility requests of its employees and potential hires. Unfortunately it is the perception of many that employer ADA compliance results in a costly and often unreasonable burden on the employer.
This is a clear misunderstanding.
ADA compliance guidelines charge employers with making “Reasonable Accommodation” to comply with ADA guidelines. Unfortunately, this seems to be often misunderstood. It is not the intent of ADA that employers are at the mercy of their employees (or potential employees), instead it is the intent that reasonable accommodations will be made to facilitate an individual employee’s ability to be a successful and valuable employee. In other words, ADA compliance guidelines benefit both the employee and the employer.
Perhaps a job function requires that an employee stand for an extended period of time. However, someone – who can fulfill all other requirements of the job – is not able to comply with the expectation of standing due to temporary or permanent injury or disability. A reasonable accommodation may be the use of a stool or chair during this individual’s shift.
Perhaps an office is located above ground level with no wheelchair access. As opposed to relocating the entire office to accommodate a single employee, creating a virtual work environment for the employee may be an option.
An employee who has back or other issues requiring a modified work station may initially request a particular ergonomic chair that costs thousands of dollars – which can be cost prohibitive for many employers. Perhaps there are other options that meet the physical and medical needs of the employee, but are far more realistic for employers to provide.
These options may seem overly simplistic – how can it be that easy if everyone is so at odds about the cost of ADA compliance?
It seems that, like so many conflicts (an issue that is trying to be resolved from two divergent views), the employers and employees involved in this issue have found themselves fully ensconced in their emotional-based positions: each side focusing on protecting and supporting their idea, instead of working towards a resolution. They have lost sight of the shared interest in the resolution of the conflict.
Mediation is an excellent means of the resolving conflicts related to ADA compliance – included worksite ADA compliance issues.
A neutral mediator can bring both sides together to create a resolution to the ADA compliance issue that promotes the shared interests and meets both the needs of the employer and the employee.
A new study by Shepell Fgi, The Missing Link: Supervisors’ Role in Employee Health Management, refers to the important role that supervisors play in employee benefit utilization and overall employee health and wellness.
Not only does supervisory quality directly impact the health and well-being of workers, it can help or hinder access to all the other supports an organization puts into place. For example, an organization can have excellent work/life balance policies and programs, but if a supervisor is not supportive of employees’ lives outside of work, this can become a significant stressor and may lead to physical or mental health problems for employees.
Ensuring that supervisors are aware of available health and wellness benefits and can offer their employees real solutions to personal issues is important to an employer’s bottom line.
The answer is no. Employee Mediation Benefits, like other health and wellness benefits, are entirely voluntary and confidential.. Your employer has no involvement in your case beyond providing you information about the benefit.
So why are they doing this for you?
Employee Mediation Benefits provide employees with a real means of resolving personal and workplace issues that otherwise can have a negative impact on general levels of productivity.
Lost productivity in the workplace accounts for a significant amount of any company’s losses. According to the 2007 CCH Unscheduled Absence Survey, two-thirds of employees who call in sick are really skipping work to deal with personal and family issues. One widely quoted study by the Employers Health Coalition showed that the costs of presenteeism can be found by taking the costs of absenteeism and multiplying them by 7.5. Could those costs be avoided?
Absolutely – in fact, that is exactly what those types of benefits are designed to do. Consider the Employee Mediation Benefit. This benefit does more than just help employees deal with conflict in the workplace, it provides access to services which help them resolve personal conflict. If conflicts are addressed promptly and efficiently through mediation, employees are less likely to focus on personal business during the work day. One online survey suggested that employees actually spend 1.3 hours of every day on personal business.
The average costs of wasted time and avoidable productivity losses can range from $700 to $2000 per year per employee, depending on whose research you read. To find out more about CFR’s Employee Mediation benefit, contact our benefits department for more information. It’s private, it saves time, and it definitely saves everyone money.
The question of why an employer should provide an Employee Mediation Benefit that addresses personal conflicts such as divorce or child custody, in addition to internal workplace issues, is not surprising – especially in these economic times.
The news is rife with stories of rising benefit costs and falling revenues. Employers are more likely to cut voluntary benefit programs versus adding a new one. An Employee Mediation Benefit, which can be added for little or no cost is one that can significantly reduce the impact interpersonal conflicts have on productivity.
By promoting mediation as the preferred means of conflict resolution for life’s problems, employers are ensuring their employees are able to resolve their personal conflicts with the least amount of added stress, time, or expense. Mediation has the added benefit of having a great level of long-term effectiveness and adherence to settlement agreements. Participants in mediation no only agree to all aspects of the settlement, they also develop improved communication skills, resulting in less future conflict.
Encouraging employees to access mediation to solve personal conflicts, versus traditional legal intervention, means less likelihood that the issue will bleed into the workplace and affect general productivity. Employees that are going through a divorce or custody battle are likely to have increased absenteeism, presenteeism, interpersonal conflict, and stress levels. They are likely to be preoccupied causing additional workplace stress as well.
Unlike litigation, or traditional legal intervention, mediation is a means of establishing an efficient and effective resolution, which frees employees to focus on their jobs not their problems. An employer’s minimal financial investment is rewarded with focused employees who see their employers as providing a valuable benefit that resolves the conflict quickly and effectively.