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Can personal factors affect employee motivation and work performance ?

Oh Yes ! Certainly ! 

My experience with the big business houses along with my interaction with corporate as well as general clients seeking consultation in my clinic, show that though the Management generally keep a close watch (at times too cursorily) on the workers morale and efficiency aspects, they often tend to ignore the effects of personal problems which can come in the way of the workers’ self – confidence and naturally, productivity.

After all, we are human beings, and we have our own share of extraneous issues which can impair our personal life and job.

The common factors which I have found to influence employee drive and efficiency are :

– Long commutation 

– Marital conflicts

– Financial issues

– Sexual problems

– Infertility

– Problem children at home

– Divorce 

– Chronically ill parent(s) at home

– Addiction

– Mental Health issues of the employee, or someone else at home

– Health problems of the worker

Mind you, all these factors are serious Stressors and they affect every aspect of a worker’s life and career.

A company normally doesn’t ascribe much importance to the personal issues of the workers until there is clear sign that a promising worker is unable to live up to the reputation that he or she had already shown in the past. 

Let me tell you that a sizable 30 – 65% of workers have issues at home and in their personal spheres, which can compromise their work output.

Long Commutation 

It is understandable that this cannot be a Management’s consideration as how a worker travels to and from the workplace. It is solely a concern of the workers. True. But the truth is, protracted travel time from home to the office, can be really a vexing issue, when you know pretty well the maddening traffic conditions inside the city, especially, during office hours.

Solution : I normally advice such clients of mine, either to look for an accomodation close to the workplace, or make use of Mass Transit Systems, like Metro Rail, or otherwise, to have time in hand while traveling to the workplace.

Marital Conflicts 

Marital strife is one of the commonest causes of poor work performance. My studies reveal that more than 58% of employees carry behind them, a major disabling stress load emanating from troubled marriages.

Solution : Such employees should immediately consult a Relationship Therapist. And the Management should keep an eye on such individuals and advice them to handle this issues there and then, and take the help of a Mental Health Professional. At the same time, the boss can and should give practical advices to such employees.

Financial Issues 

This is also a serious issue. And it often puts a definitive dent on the workers’ spirit and can smother a potential worker into a defunct individual.

Solution : The worker should address the issue promptly and use scissors to cut down on needless expenses, save money, clear loans as fast possible, take soft loans to clear dues, should avoid heavy borrowing and spend money very carefully. On the other hand, the Management, can proffer monetary assistance to help the worker out of the trouble. Of course, that discretion lies with the company.

Sexual Problems 

This is also turning out to be a matter of serious concern. If I simply go by my data bank, a substantial number of employees in the range of 54 – 70% are reeling under the impact of sexual problems. Sexual issues lead to anxiety, depressive tendencies, mood swings, anger issues, sleeplessness, easy distractability, absentmindedness, low morale and hence impaired work performance.

Solution : Take immediate help of a Mental Health Professional, preferably a Sexual Health Expert or a psychiatrist.


This problem has began to raise it’s ugly head and is pushing an increasingly large number of couples in the brink of either, a separation or a major strife.

Infertility was not a major problem till even a decade back, but now it’s going through the roof. Just think of the number Infertility clinics in your own city. It’s huge !

Solution : The employee should take the help of an Infertility Specialist or a Gynecologist, as quick as possible.

Problem Children at Home

These days, I am getting to see a lot of children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Learning Disorders, Academic Disinclination, Academic Decline, Conduct Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorders, Adjustment Disorders, Addictive Disorders, Anger Outbursts and Smartphone Addiction. If an employee have problem children back at home, it’s certain to affect the attitude and efficiency of the individual.

Solution : Take immediate help of a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist.


This is again an event or a state which has the potential to take the sting out of a prolific worker, though there are exceptions, depending on whether the divorce was welcome or disruptive, and whether there are children to look after.

Solution : Take the ensuing situation with mental strength and acceptance. If need be, one can consider a second marriage.

Chronically ill parents at home 

This is a problem only the sufferers know very well, how it can throttle one’s work life and throw one’s personal life out of gear.

Last week, I happened to meet one lady whose father – in – law was suffering from Alzheimer’s Dementia and End Stage Lung Cancer. She came for help to my clinic following a premeditated suicide of her husband as he was unable to come to terms with the difficult situation at home. It’s not at all an easy job for an employee who has an ailing or critically ill parent (s) at home, to handle things unaffected. 

Solution : One will have to accept the situation, manage things with the help of other family members, and if need be, friends too. Though it’s easier said than done. My advice to an employee in such a situation is to hold on to one’s nerve and coordinate things as practically as possible and leave the rest to one’s luck.


Everyone knows how addiction is on the rise. It can destroy a potential worker and it can kill the best employee !

Addictive behaviour readily shows up in the general demeanor and work style of a worker. In a scenario like this, it can spell trouble not only in the life of an addicted person but also on the company.

Solution : Take immediate help of a psychiatrist.

Mental Health Issues of the employee or someone else at home

This is again a serious situation worthy of consideration. I can tell you straight from my data bank and experience that between 25 – 50% of employees suffer from various types of mental illness and psychological problems, ranging from Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Panic Disorder, Adjustment Disorders, Personality Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Mood Disorders and Psychotic Disorders, including Delusional Disorders and Schizophrenia.

Mental Illnesses can just wreck an individual, let alone his or her career.

Solution : Seek the help of a psychiatrist immediately.

Health Problems of the Worker

Many employees suffer from Diabetes, Hypertension, Thyroid Disorders, Arthritis, Headache, Spondylitis, Vertigo, Neuropathic states, Heart Diseases, General Weakness, etc. Any of these illnesses can affect the entire life quality of an employee and go onto compromise work delivery.

Solution : Consult a Medical Specialist right away and institute requisite lifestyle modification and dietary changes and try to maintain fitness.

I have come to the very end of my blog. Sorry for the story being a bit large, but I couldn’t help it. This subject is actually a huge one and exceedingly important. I tried to compress the long as much as possible. 

Before I end, just one word of advice to all employees. 

Accept the undeniable and inescapable fact that Life is a very tricky stuff and everyone’s going to have every type of problems, either continually or in fits and starts, but you should never allow the problems to bog you down and get the better of you. Life is a struggle. Prepare yourself for the combat and gear yourself up to face challenges with a smiling face and an armoured heart !

While for the employers, my request is to have a little bit of heart, a little bit of compassion and a wee bit empathy, as your attitude towards such distressed workers do matter. 

My symbolic double – meaning buzzphrase here is  ‘Management Matters, while the Workers are in Tatters’.

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