Preventing Employee Burnout

By: First Union

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Preventing Employee Burnout

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The old term every manager and business owner hates to hear: Employee Burnout. Employee burnout is when your employee has exhausted their physical and emotional strength, typically a result of prolonged stress, frustration, and sometimes, work environment. When you mix a stressful job and an organization that lacks support and resources, you are bound to see employee burnout. Typically, employee burnout manifests itself in:

  • Anger
  • Sarcasm
  • Being argumentative
  • Frustration toward work
  • Indifference toward work
  • Persistent irritability
  • Absenteeism
  • Exhaustion

Burnout also means a huge drain on your business's morale and fiscal situation. A burned-out employee can be costly in terms of productivity, and sometimes they will quit their jobs, which means more recruiting, hiring, and employee onboarding costs.

For the record, you cannot always prevent burnout - sometimes, it turns out your employee has set extremely high standards for themselves. To effectively manage employee burnout, you should try to:

  • Understand why your employee is burning out
  • Spark employee motivation
  • Find a middle ground and mutually-agreed-upon solutions

Remember: Employee burnout can affect anyone, even those with well-paying, high-profile jobs. It comes in many forms at all different levels.

Before providing solutions, you will need to assess and identify the sources of stress and form a plan for your business. Make sure you communicate effectively to all of the management the changes being made to the policies and procedures around dealing with employee burnout.

Conduct Outside or Walking Meetings

An option to create a more open and stress-free environments is to bring your job outside. Sitting at a desk all day is exhausting and stressful. Your phone is constantly buzzing, your emails are always flashing, and a chat window is always popping up. Taking a step away from the office and having a meeting outside or while taking a nice walk can cultivate a healthy and open working environment. Something as simple as fresh air can change the mood and stress-levels of an employee who is close to burning out.

Offer Mental Health Days

The same goes for mental health days. Add mental health days to your employee's benefits package, or have a policy on mental health days. An employee should never be embarrassed or feel shame when it comes to taking a mental health day - everyone needs to clear their head and step away at times.

Allow Employees to Work from Home One to Two Days a Week

Offering your employees the opportunity to work from home (WFH/), if it is possible for their roles, is a benefit that can go a long way. By offering WFH days, your employees:

  • Do not need to wake up as early, since they do not need to commute to the office
  • Do not need to deal with the stress of rush hour traffic during their morning and afternoon commutes
  • Save money by making their meals in the comfort of your kitchen
  • Can use the entirety of their lunch break without stress of running to a meeting
  • Can change locations of working, which can cultivate creativity, and increase comfort and focus
  • Can wear more comfortable clothes, which can reduce stress
  • Get more work done because they do not have colleagues stopping by their desk with questions or to chat
  • Spend more time with their family
  • Have a healthier work-life balance

Imagine offering your employees one-to-two WFH days a week and their productivity increasing, their chance of burning out decreasing, and their overall job satisfaction flying through the roof.

Express the Value of Using Vacation Time

Many companies offer wonderful vacation and personal time off, however many employees do not use all of their time. Millions of personal and vacation hours are lost each year in the United States by simply not taking vacation time.

As a manager, it is important to understand that those days are there for a reason. You cannot force your employees to use their days, but you can positively influence them to take a few days and "turn off work". You want that for your employees.

If you have an employee who is always working, they are more likely to burnout, which can cause a reduction of productivity within your businesstheir department. Creating healthy, balanced work-life habits can help an employee steer clear of burnout.

Properly Define Your Employees' Job Roles

Your employees may on the verge of burnout if they are wearing many hats - and there isn't a clear future on how many more hats they will have to continue to wear and the others that may be added to the pile. If you have employees taking on roles that do not fall under their current job title, then it may be time to redefine their job roles (maybe thrown in a raise if they are doing a great job managing all roles and preventing you from having to hire additional resourcing - they'll appreciate the validation/).

If you have a younger business where you've started with the model "all hands on deck," and your employee is on the verge of burnout, it may be time to fully define their role and responsibilities. By providing your employees with a clear vision of what their responsibilities and goals are, you create a less volatile work environment, which can help prevent employee burnout.

Review Schedules

If you have an employee on the verge of burnout, it may be time to review their schedule. How much time are they working? Are they on the road a lot for work? Do they have something going on in their personal life that makes their current schedule hard to manage? Always stay open to that a traditional schedule may not be the best way to have a happy and productive employee. Work with your employee on their schedule, if you can offer flexibility. Your level of understanding and compassion will go a long way with the employee and they are less likely to burnout over the job.

Give Everyone the Tools they Need to Thrive

Is your employee on the verge of burning out because they do not have the proper resources and tools to perform their job properly? If your employee is constantly struggling with an obsolete software, doesn't have the proper equipment to complete the job they've been sent to, or is consistently struggling to maintain a phonevideo call connection with your clients, it may be time to look at what resources you are providing your employees to succeed at their jobs.

It becomes easier to burnout if you do not feel valued or heard. If your employee has communicated their inability to perform their job, handle it ASAP.

Keep an Open Door Policy

By keeping your office door open and encouraging your employees to come in and chat, you create an environment of trust. If your employee feels they can talk to you about their struggles, you are likely to get ahead of burnout.

Owners/Managers who keep their doors open to their employees tend to have a positive perception across their organization. There is nothing better than a collaborative environment that cultivates compassion and community.

Set Policies to Prevent and Handle Employee Burnout

It is always a smart idea to create internal procedures when it comes to employee burnout, working toward preventing burnout, and identifying employees who may be at risk. Work with your human resources professional to build a plan to combat employee burnout.

Remember to include manager training, since handling a personal interaction with an employee who is on the verge of burning out can be stressful and difficult to handle if not prepared.

Looking to Invest in Your Employees' Happiness?

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