Even those workers lucky enough to still have a job aren’t immune to economic angst, said Ellen Wulfhorst in Reuters. One in five U.S. workers surveyed by staffing agency Adecco USA say the recession is affecting their emotional health “as they battle anxiety and fear over the potential loss of their jobs.” Yet, letting stress get the best of you—or of your employees—will only make matters worse. “It starts to become a downward spiral,” says Elisha Goldstein, a Los Angeles–based psychologist who specializes in stress issues. “An economic recession starts to become more of an emotional and mental recession.”
No one wants to work in a place where people only show up because they wouldn’t “dare call in sick” or take a personal day, said Gail Rosenblum in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. How can listless clock-punchers get over the bad-news blahs and actually get some work done? Take baby steps, says Mark Meier, a clinical social worker who specializes in workplace issues. “Say, ‘I’m going to answer seven e-mails today and get this report written,’” he says. When you do need a distraction, at least try to focus on something that will improve your mood, not make it worse.