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Sharing her ideas with the team(TNS)—If you’re an employer, you have a lot of power to improve the lives of your workers. Investing in the emotional and physical well-being of employees can affect families and communities for years to come.

When people are treated well at work, this has a major impact on them every single day. Even if your work arena is stressful, and employees must often give 100 percent or more, those workers will absorb good feelings that supervisors act out in the workplace.

Consider a friend of ours whose father worked for a large munitions plant in East Tennessee after World War II through the Eighties. Our friend says her father, and all employees at the plant, were treated unbelievably well in those days.

“My father worked a forty-hour week,” says our friend whom we’ll call Janie. “He got 5-day mini vacations every six weeks, plus three additional weeks of vacation time and a large bonus every spring. My dad worked three different shifts in rotation and then got the 5-day ‘long weekend’ as a period of time to recover after he’d worked the graveyard shift.”

She went on to say, “My dad’s employer had a recreational facility for company employees and their families. We had everything from a roller skating rink to a movie theater. My dad worked in a hot factory, but he and our entire family were very happy. We felt like royalty.”

While a recreational building or facility is nice, employers can do a lot for employees at little or no cost. These include having:

— Suggestion boxes for enhancing the workplace. Employers can offer a small monetary reward for great suggestions.

— Hiking or wellness programs. When employees participate in exercise programs and weekend employee picnics, for example, they feel valued as part of the workplace “family.”

— A company newsletter. When employers take time to issue a small publication, even on a website, employees feel they matter. Pictures of employees and their pets, jokes, health tips and more can be placed in the newsletter.

— A bulletin board with accolades written by bosses. Every company department should be encouraged to praise the efforts, however small, of each and every employee.

“I’m on a new kick of furnishing healthy snacks for my 15 employees,” says a dentist we’ll call Jack. “I figure that these snacks might cost me fifty dollars a day. But, my goal is to encourage my employees to incorporate healthy foods at home. I’m also encouraging my employees to take a brisk 15-minute walk every day.”

Jack goes on to say that caring about employees creates loyalty. And, he’s fully aware that if they create happy families when they go home, this positively affects every aspect of their lives—not to mention his business as a whole when they come to work happier.

A high school principal in our area also has a plan to encourage and empower the school’s staff. We’ll call him Franklin.

“I’ve made it a goal to call our teachers together every week,” says Franklin. “I tell them how much I appreciate their efforts. I love asking them for great ideas on improving our school and improving relations with parents and students. The bonding and unity we have is real. We invite their spouses and children for school events. The good feelings we’ve created are very real, and tension is very low among staff members at our school.”

Judi Light Hopson is the Executive Director of the stress management website USA Wellness Café at . Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.

©2015 Person to Person
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