Creating a Less Stressful Workplace: A Guide to Successful Employee Relocation and Increased Productivity

05/13/2016 03:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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For some time, stress has been implicated in a host of maladies.

Stress in the workplace has been identified as a major source, if not THE major source of stress for American adults. By all reports, it keeps getting worse. Such job stress, often perceived as having little control but beset with plenty of demands has been associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders.

One important subset of workplace stress is the matter of relocation. Surely, there is an emotional—and physical—toll endured by any family going through this process.

According to a 2015 Worldwide ERC US Transfer Volume and Cost Survey, the number one stress involving relocation is "family resistance to the move," affecting nearly 60% of those surveyed. From the start—even before a relocation happens—the evidence reveals that family unity (or the lack thereof) can be a source of great support or cause for consternation.

HR departments must become more aware of this phenomenon because an emotionally stressed employee is a stressed person, period. Meaning: That new recruit cannot do his or her job well, when the home front is a den of anxiety, resistance, depression, and fear.

Listen to Sara Boehm, CEO of Essential Engagement Services:

"Once a family's move is complete and everyone has physically settled into their new, respective neighborhood and home, each member of the family will expectedly be battling their own, unique challenges. Maybe the father is struggling to find a new job in his niche field or can't seem to find a religious group/community that he fits into as well as he did in his previous community. Perhaps his daughter is both adjusting to being a teenager at a new high school and is faced with making new friends while also getting good grades as she prepares for college applications."

"Meanwhile, the initial family member who prompted the relocation is tasked with building a strong work community in a new office that she is unfamiliar with while also ensuring her family is acclimating well and is happy."

No wonder the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry calls moving to a new community "one of the most stress-producing experiences a family faces."

Moving can be a wonderful opportunity for both an individual and their family. But the benefits of a move—including the chance to explore, make friends and meet new and exciting people—can easily can easily yield to feelings of loss, loneliness and depression.

I applaud groups like Essential Engagement Services for bringing this issue to the forefront of public conversation because the risks are too great—and the fallout is too substantial—for us to dismiss or ignore this problem.

With customized tools, resources, and workbooks, help is available for each family member to adjust to his or her own challenges.