The ones who work in isolation and feel they cannot communicate or don't want to, those people will drown, and they'll drown silently. You need to be communicating with your bosses and teammates about what's possible to accomplish.

What are ways workplaces can reduce stress?

No. 1, have good team dynamics. Actually care about people. It's not just enough to care, check on people's welfare, balance their workload.

The second thing people should be doing is talking about it. People should be talking about their stress levels. In fact, that's a good way to start every meeting.

Finally, you have to be prepared to make some hard decisions as a leader. You have to be prepared to take some hits. You have to decide what you're team is not going to do, and when higher-ups complain, the wrong answer is to hang your employees out to dry. The correct answer is, "Yes, that was my decision not to do it."

How do workers deal with the financial strain of lost paychecks?

I urge people to pay attention and acknowledge that feeling of failure — though you really are not a failure. Ask yourself: Is it rational? Is it true? I missed a mortgage payment. Does that make me a bad father?

The right answer is: Of course not. You really need to recognize the widespread effect of the shutdown on everyone. But in the short term it's perfectly OK to feel like crap. You're not a failure; you're not weak.

Are there events or exercises to build back camaraderie?

There are a lot of things you can do. Little games, jokes, rewards if they're done in a positive manner. Little things that create laughter. The best antidote to fear is laughter. There are lots of little projects and rewards for your group that can be of tremendous help to lift moods.

jgeorge@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justingeorge