The Disability Management Employer Coalition has released a paper describing measures employers can take to keep blue-collar workers healthy and productive during the recession.

Pushing for the maximum theoretical level of productivity is unsustainable, according to Marcia Carruthers, president of DMEC, San Diego.

Instead, DMEC experts recommend in the paper that employers try to improve morale and help employees achieve a better balance between their work and personal lives.

Employers should encourage direct supervisors to make emotional connections with the people they supervise, establish mentoring systems, and let employees make suggestions about the production workflow, the authors of the paper write.

Employers also should try to eliminate any unnecessary tasks, allow employees to bid on extra overtime hours, and look for ways to adjust job design, to reduce employees’ feelings of being overworked, the authors write.

A copy of the paper is available here.