Five Ways to Help Your Team Avoid Burning Out
“Burnout exists because we’ve made rest a reward rather than a right.” ― Juliet C. Obodo.
With research showing that one in every five employees is at risk of burnout, it's incredulous that more employers aren't taking the subject more seriously.
When we talk about burnout, we refer to lower levels of productivity, exhaustion (physical and mental), disengagement, negativity, and even a decline in health. In fact, some symptoms of burnout are scarily similar to those of clinical depression.
The results of your employees experiencing burnout can be disastrous, not only to the employees themselves but to the company too. How can your business possibly succeed if the people who are integral to attaining that success can’t cope?
And burnout can cause sudden and dramatic breakdowns - potentially also threatening the wellbeing not only of the employee concerned but their family members and colleagues, as well as being potentially very damaging to your clients and your brand reputation.
It doesn't matter whether you've hired the best of the best – burnout can affect anyone. This post suggests ways to improve work-life balance to help prevent your team from burning out.
Implement a break schedule
It may seem obvious, but to many employees, it may feel as though there’s simply not enough time in the day to have a break. But taking some time out to gather your thoughts after 90 minutes of focused work is said to improve your focus when returning, as you'll feel rested, recharged, more inclined to do good work and less inclined to make mistakes. According to a Tork survey, nearly 90% of North American employees say lunch breaks help them feel refreshed and ready to get back to work.
Managers should be encouraging their teams to take regular breaks, even if it is simply getting a cup of tea or coffee, going for a walk or even just a breath of fresh air.
Time off is sacred
We all know it can be somewhat impossible to switch off at the end of the day, but bringing your work home or on vacation should be an absolute no-no. Businesses need to establish teams that trust each other to proceed with work in their absence.
Encourage your teams not to work after hours. It's crucial to enforce a healthy work-life balance.
Invest in employee wellbeing
Studies have found a clear link between poor health and poor workplace engagement. One study involving 30,000 professionals, by consulting firm Willis Towers Watson, showed a rise in both absence and disengagement when employees are inclined to smoke more, drink, have poor diets and get inadequate exercise or sleep. How important is this? Low engagement costs businesses $7 trillion per year globally.
An employee wellbeing program could include providing healthy snacks in the workplace and having walking meetings, providing free or discounted access to a fitness center, or investing in an Employee Assistance Program. A great way to promote healthy activities is to gift employees with sports and fitness related surprises - getting your team outdoors and active will reap rewards for your employees and your brand alike.
Redefine the standard workday
Maybe this means offering your employees flexible working hours or the opportunity to work from home. It could even mean implementing a four-day workweek, with increasing numbers of businesses now doing just that - and finding that productivity actually increased by as much as 40 percent!
Allowing this flexibility is a way of showing your employees that you trust them to get the work done. And trust can lead to more open communication and productivity on the whole.
It's vital to ensure that your employees are equipped with everything they need to get their jobs done, whether that's hardware or software, the right working environment, or transparency from management.
These kinds of constrictions can prevent employees from getting work done accurately and efficiently and cause unnecessary stress.
It's essential to manage both your and your employee’s expectations. Setting unrealistic goals will lead to feelings of despair and can ultimately result in burnout or top talent leaving for a job with more attainable goals and a healthier work-life balance.
“Ninety nine percent of the time it's not urgent and to create a culture where you are constantly plugged in and expected to be always-on is to create a culture of burnout.” ― Arianna Huffington