Life can be somewhat unpredictable. It is amazing how an individual can go from being so full of life in one minute to being depressed in another. When situations arise in their personal lives, employees tend to take the same attitude into their workplaces.
At the slightest provocation, they might nag, scream, or get angry. Almost 50% of workers attest to a drop in productivity due to personal problems. Moreover, when they are unable to turn in their deliverables, the team is stuck. Besides,
The Gallup Company revealed that almost 70% of workers feel disengaged from their jobs.
To prevent such a situation, you need to become aware, proactive, and open up to the right authorities. If you need to take some time off work, you need to make your case and see it through a conclusion.
Disease diagnosis, family issues, psychological trauma, and life-threatening circumstances could impact your work performance negatively.
Although this might seem challenging in your mind, we have segmented the problems and proffered simple solutions.
Problem #1: Explaining problems in complex terms
When disaster strikes, it can become challenging to organize your thoughts and present your argument in a clear, outlined manner. Your brain might be moving ten times faster than your mouth and hands.
Hence, by the time you uttered one statement, you have made five statements in your head. This ensuing communication gap can be detrimental to your reputation and those who listen to you.
According to a research report by the American Psychology Association, millennials are the biggest victims of stress and increasing pressure.
During situations like this, the ability to compose yourself and present your argument in clear terms is your superpower.
- Unearth the Company’s HR Policies
Every company has its Human Resource policies that dictate the different routes to stating your challenges. Professionals suggest that you pay a visit to the HR office first before considering other alternatives.
The reason is not far fetched – this unit has a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s procedures and policies in various situations. Moreover, yours is neither the first nor the last. You have to find out the provisions that the company has in place.
Emotional breakdown due to heartbreak or preventable injuries are often excluded in HR policies.
According to the Executive Officer of Marcova HR Consultancy firm, Carley Childress, “The human resources unit is your go-to resource place to learn about how to act in this condition.” She continued, “Oftentimes, your boss might be ignorant of the modus operandi of your peculiar situation.”
Furthermore, you can get processes and steps to follow in your employee handbook. Depending on the severity of the situation, find out the provisions of such laws as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
- Research support programs available to workers
The law requires all employers to set up Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to cater to workers going through varying degrees of stress and disturbance.
Ideally, these initiatives have a space on the company’s financial budget. Some employers have provisions for therapists, consultants, counselors, and other essential professionals. These initiatives cover financial indebtedness by workers, family woes, misuse of dangerous substances, and psychological traumas.
According to Lisa Barrington, an HR Expert, “Avoid being too busy to take care of your emotional needs“.
Create time to speak with those in charge of the EAP and make the call. If need be, proceed to the counselor’s office.” In some cases, sharing your problems with someone who has a minimal attachment to you might lift your burden. Besides, they can readily refer to other service providers for proper treatment.
- Share only work-related issues
When one’s heart becomes heavy, it can be soothing to share the pain with any listening ear. This step has some obvious drawbacks. For instance, you cannot guarantee that the other person will keep the matter secret. Chitchats are workplace norms, and before you know it, your matter is on the lips of everyone.
Also, you open yourself up to be blackmailed or sabotaged later on. You risk being seen as a soft person without sufficient emotional intelligence.
To prevent these issues, resist the temptation to make everyone your sounding board. Normalize “it is personal” in your conversations unless it is necessary. “Be brief when discussing your problems because not everyone who listens can help you. You have the liberty to exclude details,” says Deb Muller, the Executive Officer of HR Acuity.
- Keep shyness at Bay
Not everybody can express his or her thoughts without the fear of inadequacy. However, when shyness reduces your contribution and opportunity to move higher in your career, you need to find a lasting solution.
This is invaluable when you visit the Human Resources unit because unless you convincingly make your arguments, getting your desired results might be difficult.
Since you know what you are going through and what you need, speak boldly. Besides, proper preparation gives your confidence and poise while speaking.
- Keep proper records and documents.
Having a handful of the right documents cannot be overemphasized. It simplifies the task of convincing HR personnel and other people involved. If you (or your family members) have a medical challenge and need to seek medical advice, your doctor must give you a signed note. This note will validate your claim immediately after you tender it.
Besides, if the issue is legal-related, you need to get a letter from a lawyer that explains the details of your situation. Moreover, ensure that HR has a written record of your challenge and your request.
It does not hurt to keep a personal copy of the emails and papers to prevent an upheaval in the future.
Problem #2: –
Failure to Define How Much Help You Expect from the Company During Traumatic Situations
Another common challenge that workers have while facing a personal problem is expecting too much from the company. You might be tempted to think that your organization owes you more than you deserve.
Workers with an enormous work ethic, who see nothing bad in working round the clock, are usually the culprits. When your high expectations are not met, discouragement and frustration sets in. If you don’t deal with it quickly, it might degenerate into a feeling of inadequacy or non-appreciation.
To prevent circumstances like these, you need to be fully responsible for whatever happens to you.
- Manage your expectations
Before you set out to discuss with the authorities, have the right expectations. Do not shoot for the moon in hopes that you will fall among the stars. That is a recipe for disaster.
When you expect too much, you start saying too much. Moreover, you go overboard what they need to know. There is a tendency to take a victim or pitiable posture, which has unhealthy repercussions later.
Since no one is omniscient, what he or she knows is what you tell him or her. Therefore, share only sufficient information to generate the response you desire. Besides, know what to reveal and what needs to remain a workplace secret.
“Oversharing your burdens and pains can misrepresent you before your co-workers and superiors about your soft skills and emotional intelligence,”– Jess Chua, a Career Expert.
- Discuss with your boss
In the end, the buck stop on your boss’s table. When the unthinkable happens in your personal life, speak to your manager as soon as possible. If you wait until your productivity hits rock bottom, you are liable to have a bad reputation for being lazy or distracted.
According to Jess Chua, “Communicate the issue with your boss while erring on the side of caution about the nitty-gritty. Make it clear that the distraction is only temporary, and you are working hard to overcome the situation.” This step appeases their minds and puts you in their good book. She continued, “Eliminate assumptions and inform them about how long it might take before it subsides.”
Meanwhile, you should be as formal as possible and armed with all the essential documents to drive home your point. “Setting the right boundaries will help your cause and show you as professional,” says Dan Sprock, Director of Human Resources at Fairygodboss.
- Be Proactive
Rather than appear as a problem-focused worker, come up with probable solutions for your particular circumstance. That is what we term “proactivity.” Before approaching HR or your boss, think through the different dimensions of your problem. After that, come up with a list of solutions that will ease your situation.
“When you show up at their door with what you need, you simplify their jobs. Now, they do not have to start thinking about how to help you. They only need to go through your list to see which one fits into the company’s policies or EAPs,” Carley Childress explained.
Do not entertain any feeling of guilt for requesting help. To keep you at the top of your game, you need all the support you can get.
If the problem is medically-inclined, speak with your doctor to get a handle on your options. Do you have to take a leave? Are there working conditions that you should avoid or put in place? What else do you need to ensure the situation is easy and bearable for you?
Consider getting your doctor to write a signed note to your employer, which will authenticate your prescription.
Going through these steps will guarantee that you receive attention and reach a favorable conclusion quickly. Furthermore, have a plan in place about how you will get your job done. Will it be at the end of your leave? Alternatively, would you switch to a remote working lifestyle? Answering these questions will go a long way to help you.
Problem #3: Trying to bear your burdens alone
Going through a difficult circumstance is hard. Moreover, when you are the only one thinking and strategizing on what to do, it can be overwhelming.
Slipping into frustration becomes a palatable option for some workers. Others become touchy and get angry easily. Before long, you pick up a bad reputation.
Knowing who to meet and share your concerns with will help you survive the hardest situations. Sometimes, expressing your problems aloud to a listening ear will prove soothing. Whether this is a close acquaintance, your boss, or HR personnel, meeting the right persons is non-negotiable.
- Fill your emotional requirements’ bank.
As mentioned earlier, humans are social beings. We need others to survive, whether we are extroverts, introverts, or ambiverts. Moreover, during a psychological trauma, it is imperative to seek avenues to meet your psychological needs.
If you are a spiritual person, book sessions with your spiritual leaders. They are experts in calming troubled souls and giving them another shot at life. Your family can prove helpful at this time. It can be your Mum, Dad, spouse, or sibling that you can open your heart to.
Family is likely the only institution that accepts you wholeheartedly; so, tap into it.
Good friends share more than cookies, cakes, and pizza; they share pains and problems, too. Discussing with friends who can keep your secret and give you an unbiased judgment is crucial.
Alternatively, you can visit a therapist. As a professional, he or she knows the intricacies of dealing with people undergoing trauma, stress, and unpalatable circumstances.
According to a leading psychiatrist, Dr. Celia Trotta, “if you have a therapy session before, try increasing it during your challenging moments. You can find all the solace that you want there.” She continued, “Tap into your social network. There’s hardly anything that a rich social circle cannot give you.”
Other means of filling your emotional tank include drinking tea, becoming self-aware of your environment, and taking stress pills.
- Take breaks when necessary.
According to research by Projecttimeoff, over 40% of millennial workers believe they are martyrs at their workplace. As such, they keep working even when they have sufficient reasons to pause and breathe.
When the law of diminishing returns sets in, it forces you to hibernate and take adequate rest. Moreover, while going through debilitating situations, you need to take a break.
“Having four quality days at work is better than five days of average performance,” says Lisa Barrington, an HR Expert.
Humans are not immune to personal problems. When they happen, it can infiltrate your psyche and affect your work performance. However, by simplifying the situation, communicating to the right persons, and setting proper expectations, you can be on top of the situation.