Employees Personal lives and Productivity

Employees Personal lives and Productivity


Regardless of what level or role you have in a business, we all know through our own experiences that our personal lives effect our work, performance and productivity – and that’s when it becomes a workplace issue.   There used to be an expectation that employees leave their personal life at home.  Increasingly however, businesses are appreciating the impact that other factors have on our work and instead of expecting workers to leave their personal lives at home -are supporting and assisting them.  For many this businesses this approach is more successful and rewarding.

47% of employees say that problems in their personal lives sometimes affect their work performance, according to research by Bensinger, DuPont & Associates.  More than 15% reported that personal changes caused absenteeism and nearly half said it was hard for them to concentrate.

From talking to various business owners from time to time you hear, ‘I’m not responsible for my employee’s personal lives’ and this is correct, BUT once you appreciate that personal lives do, in fact impact on performance and productivity then you might take a closer look at supporting and managing the impact of those things that impact employees – which impact on productivity.   I am not suggesting you control your employees’ personal lives, but know them, talk to them and genuinely care about them because then you will be able to do the best thing for them and the business.

There are businesses that do it well and they do it well because they genuinely care about their employees.  Don’t take that care factor out, but at least realise the impact on productivity and how you can minimise the risk of some things impacting on that – and therefore your business.

It doesn’t necessarily matter if the personal issues= positive ones as these can still be a distraction or at the very least a consideration for workforce planning.   Different stages of life, such as relationships, marriage, parenthood, midlife, retirement all of which can be positive or negative, if nothing else create a distraction and can all have an impact on employees and therefore their productivity and performance.   There are many personal issues that are experienced so support them as much as you can.   Here are some other big ones;

Health & Fitness.  Employee health should be considered including encouraging and providing opportunities which promote a healthy and fit lifestyle.  If not, illnesses such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes all contribute to costs to the business and impact on employee’s performance and productivity.

Mental Health.  At HR Business Direction we are passionate about Mental Health and how the workplace can impact on it (and vice versa).  Safe Work Australia recently published some statistics indicated that a typical claim payment for a mental health issue is $22,200 with 13.3 weeks of time off work as opposed to $8,000 and 5 weeks for typical physical claims.  Mental Health issues impact on employee’s performance and productivity.  Services such as employee assistance programs can assist workers manage non work related personal issues which in turns helps prevent mental health issues and the work related costs of these.

Domestic Violence.  According to Access Economics the impact of domestic violence in Australia is estimated to cost businesses $456 million a year, with a further $609 million per year in productivity losses, due to lower revenue, increased costs, staff turnover and reduced access to human capital.  The sex discrimination commission states that 1.4 million Australian women are living in abusive relationships or have done so in the past.   800,000 are in the paid workforce.  If employees are subjected to domestic violence than it will impact their productivity and performance.  

So, Managers, Directors, and business Owners next time you think ‘It’s not your problem’ think again and provide support, help them (reasonably) manage whatever it is they are going through and don’t forget where appropriate ask ‘R U OK?’ because once they have been through the journey they’re on you will be rewarded, otherwise you will continually pay the cost of employees personal lives (even after the fact).

At HR Business Direction we are able to assist with managing your human resources through developing a culture, leaders, team and HR Strategy and Workforce Plan that support taking these issues seriously.


Leisa Messer BBus(HRM); GradDipIR; CAHRI; IRSQ
Managing Director | HR Strategist
07 3890 2066

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