Are you prepared to combat employee burnout?
Working from home has become a reality for employees around the world. As the weeks have turned to months, you have converted to an entirely different work culture, figuring out what works and what does not as you go along. Now your agile work environment requires that you address employee burnout.
But to solve the problem, you must understand where it comes from and how to recognize it.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when employees feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet work demands.
What are the signs and symptoms of burnout?
These are the general signs of employee burnout:
- Expressing feelings of being overwhelmed or exhausted.
- Interacting with team members or other colleagues negatively or with cynicism.
- Declining job performance.
- If any of your employees exhibit these symptoms, it is time to act. Remember that the longer you put off addressing their problems, the longer that individual’s mental health might be negatively affected.
What can you do to fight burnout?
- Encourage your employees to take care of themselves and each other.
Sometimes we all need a day off. If an employee feels overwhelmed, you must listen to their needs. Let them know that it is okay to rest.
- Support workers in pursuing their ideal work-life balance – what that might mean is that they are empowered to define reasonable working hours by taking advantage of your flexible work environment or enjoying their vacation time.
- Establish benefits that reflect your goals of employee health, safety, and wellbeing.
- Offer health insurance that minimizes employee costs, has flexibility, and broad family definitions.
- Arrange for adequate PTO so that distressed staff may have time away from their jobs.
- Add exercise to agendas for all meetings to reduce stress and improve staff interactions.
Set boundaries for your remote workers.
A worker who feels part of your team and is appreciated will take ownership of their performance and continue to be a hard-working team player. When workers feel valued, you, as their leader, reap the benefits.
- Provide direction, resources, and shared goals for each team and indirectly for each employee.
- Validate that every manager discusses workload priorities in every one-to-one interaction to prevent burnout.
- Enact professional development initiatives that show your genuine personal interest in workers and help them achieve their professional goals.
- Set times that limit when employees are required to respond to emails, make business phone calls or participate in video meetings.
- Allow team leaders to declare WFH Days for their members.
- Create a platform for employees to share their feelings.
- Reach out to those who are struggling.
Strive to maintain your social connection with your staff.
You can set the tone for how comfortable your employees feel discussing their problems. You should have an honest conversation with your teams and eliminate any stigma surrounding burnout.
- Host virtual fun activities, happy hours, and other ways for staff to socialize with each other.
- Recognize teams and outstanding performers to help employees feel appreciated.
- Boost work-life balance decisions by sharing how you are dealing with the current economic situations and business uncertainties.
- Develop routines for team leaders to check in with team members.
Facilitate your employees being able to ask for help.
Your workers require reassurance that their issues will remain confidential. Additionally, they do not want to be penalized for asking for help. Lasting stigma is a valid concern.
- Update your employee assistance program to help employees by providing them resources for stress and their mental health.
- Make it clear to staff that EAP programs are entirely confidential.
- Promote your program, so everyone knows what is available.
- Grant Mental Health Days to staff that is feeling undue stress in their work lives.
- Urge managers in one-on-one meetings to evaluate who is feeling overwhelmed.
Employee burnout can be a destructive force, but learning to recognize the signs can help you spot it early and take swift action. As we adapt to this pandemic’s uncertain circumstances, you need to invest time and energy in your employees’ wellbeing.
Taking these actions may help you avoid burnout and have workers continue to function as productive, engaged teams.
Burnout has the potential to be debilitating and requires an immediate, head-on response. While work is important, it should never overshadow your employees’ mental health and wellbeing.
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