by Dr. Jill Murray
A recent study in a national business journal stated that U.S. workers took less time-off benefits in 2013 than any other point in the last 40 years. In fact, last year American workers took an average of 16 days of paid vacation compared with 20.3 days in 2000. The reason? They don't want to be seen as "slackers" at their place of employment. "I want to be seen as someone who works harder and is really dedicated", most employees stated.
Many employees are now expected to be available and working via laptops, tablets, and smartphones before and after hours and on the weekend. The concept of downtime or family time is often put to the side. Many employees believe that with an overstuffed work market, even the highest ranking supervisor or director is expendable; therefore, the way to distinguish oneself is to out-work anyone else.
There is a direct link between this type of stress and pressure and emotional woes such as depression, anxiety, lack of productivity, relationship difficulties both at work and home, and physical illness/sick days.
Naturally, the best possible scenario would be individual counseling, but in a climate in which employees believe they must work longer and harder, how does one find time? As a private practice psychotherapist I can't count the number of times I receive calls and emails requesting therapy, however when we try to find a time to schedule it, I'm asked questions such as, "Do you have appointments at 8 p.m.?", "The only time I have is Sunday at 6 p.m.", "Do you take appointments at 6 a.m. so I can be at work by 7:30?".
Stress, anxiety, pressure and depression is at an all-time high in the workplace. Many employees sit at their computers staring at the screen unable to focus or concentrate. Many feel emotionally frozen. Their home lives are in shambles. Self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse are on the rise.
One powerful answer to this dilemma is counseling at the workplace. As a licensed therapist, I've long been interested in finding a delivery system of therapy for those who cannot find the time to come to me.
My model is simple: I will come to your workplace—ideally twice each month—and provide individual counseling in a private setting (you provide an office) to any of your employees who desire to talk with me about any subject that's hampering their life or productivity. Additionally, I am available to talk to your employees as a group regarding assertiveness, conflict resolution skills, mediation, and managing up.
Since my daily fee is paid by the employer, what do you receive in return? The benefits are unquestionably large:
- Greater productivity and fewer sick days,
- Increased goodwill; employees understand that their employer truly cares about and values their emotional health,
- Greater employee loyalty to the company,
- Since "millenials" highly value recognition and better work/life balance over increased salary, this concept accomplishes both values,
- A more collegial workplace.
For a more complete list of the counseling services I provide and answers to many of your questions, please see the topic and FAQ lists on this page. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a more personal discussion about the ways in which I can help you and your employees be happier and more productive in life and at work.