The employee had gone to her primary care physician (PCP) for a physical which was suggested by her manager. The PCP told the employee that she needed to see a counselor immediately and reduce her stress given some previous health issues and family history of heart disease and stroke. The doctor was concerned about the level of stress the employee was experiencing.
Subsequently, the employee was scheduled for an initial counseling consultation with me where we reviewed her work situation. Although the employee did have a large work load, I determined that there were some things that she could do around limit setting and directing off-site consultants to the appropriate person. The employee said that some staff contact her about issues that are not her job as she is “easier to deal with” than some of the other staff members. We created an action plan where I suggested that this employee speak to her manager and get support around redirecting off site consultants. We also addressed boundaries for her scheduled work day and agreed that she should stick with her scheduled work hours and take a 30 minute lunch break. She enjoyed going to the gym and meeting some friends every Friday evening after work, but she had been missing visits to the gym and often late to the Friday social hour. We agreed that the boundaries around her work hours would allow her to resume her after work activities.
While initially these strategies sounded obvious to her, she found that integrating a lunch break, her workouts and the Friday evening social time, made a dramatic difference.
After 5 sessions she successfully decreased stress levels by setting limits, redirecting and restructuring work flow and the department had a 20% gain in sales.
I also consulted with her manager on strategies for decreasing her workload and stress reduction techniques to minimize illness and to eliminate absences.
During my final consultation with the HR manager, he said he was happy with my employee relations counseling and was convinced that this effort mitigated risk of worker’s compensation claim. In addition, he reported her attendance record had improved significantly.
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