HR Strange But True!
April 07, 2009

Sure, your employees are on edge about the economy--and their jobs. Their anxiety is affecting productivity, and you want to keep things calm. What should you do? Start an open-door policy--and we mean open door.

Survey results released by Lynn Taylor Consulting (, found that when supervisors and leaders keep their office doors closed for no apparent reason, employee anxiety goes through the roof.

According to the survey, “Seventy-six percent of employees say that when faced with this scenario [closed doors] unexpectedly, it triggers thoughts of being laid off.”

Lynn Taylor, an expert and author on workplace issues, explains, “In today's economic environment, employees are searching for every clue to determine their job fate. Too often, not enough direct input is given to employees, and so nonverbal cues are heavily relied upon. Managers working behind closed doors may be shutting out more than noise--they may be shutting down productivity.”

The survey, reported in BLR's Best Practices in HR newsletter, was based on telephone interviews conducted with 1,000 respondents 18 years of age or older by a national independent research firm, according to the survey report.

Other results from the survey note that the average employee spends 2.8 hours (168.8 minutes) a day worrying about personal job concerns such as lay-offs and losing his or her own job.

According to Taylor , an earlier related study also revealed that 70 percent of adult working professionals believe that employees must be careful when “managing up” during their interactions with their bosses. She describes managing up as “proactively finding solutions to problems, consistently using good communication skills, and modeling positive behavior to a boss.”

“Many employees may avoid speaking up to their bosses for fear of being shown the door, when, in fact, their ideas might boost a company's bottom line at a time when that is sorely needed,” comments Taylor . “Opening your door--literally and figuratively--might not only mean greater profitability. In some cases, it might also help keep the doors of your business open.”

Source: BPHR

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