Job burnout has been an issue in workplaces for years, but in 2020, the issue is getting more press. Justifiably so: just observe the rise of work-from-home, increased workloads for many employees, and the continuing cycle of lay-offs across the country. Without the set hours of an office or the support of colleagues and management, burnout is easier to achieve — and harder to relieve — than ever.
How can you help your teams recognize and address employee burnout, especially if you’re dealing with a remote workforce? Here are some key tips to help you support your employees in and out of the office.
Causes and Signs of Burnout
Did you know work burnout is recognized as an illness by the World Health Organization? A Deloitte survey found 77% of respondents experienced burnout with their current job. Some of the common causes cite include frequent stress, and a lack of support or recognition from leadership.
WHO offers a long list of physical and mental symptoms which can point to burnout, but you (or your management teams) might not be seeing those from afar. Some signs leadership can spot include: a lack of satisfaction or excitement over achievements, cynicism or critical behaviors about work, irritability and impatience, or a disillusioned attitude.
Addressing Employee Burnout
Have you noticed some signs of burnout in your employees? You can take measures to address this with some stress alleviators, as well as ways to recognize and recreate positive workplace factors your employees may be missing.
- Set contact hours for workplace communications. Make sure your employees don’t feel like they need to reply to a 9 PM Slack message by setting hours and sticking to them. While it’s up to your employees to work when and how they want, it should be clear they’re not expected to be available around the clock.
- Offer a work phone or laptop. Have you ever seen the meme about staring at the bad screen all day when you just want to get home to stare at the good screen? There’s definitely a different feeling when you switch from your work equipment to your home equipment.
- Along those lines, you can also start the conversation about setting up effective home workspaces, especially for people who don’t have enough space to designate a room as their home office. Share photos, ideas, and inspiration on a specific Slack channel, company social networking site, or other communication tool.
- Add non-work communication channels to your Slack or other networking site. Use some of the tools in this post to keep your company culture and connections strong.
- Reduce stress with perks employees can use to increase mindfulness, physical fitness, and mental health. This could be as simple as ramping up your communications around EAP your company already offers. Or, if you don’t yet have robust mental and physical health support, it’s a good time to think about adding to your voluntary benefits and employee perks menu.
- During working hours, reach out and communicate with your employees. This is the best way to stay attuned to their attitude and monitor their conversation for warning signs they might need help.
Employee burnout isn’t someone else’s problem. It’s going on in your workforce right now, and the stresses of current times are only going to increase the risk of burnout. Talk to your management teams and provide guidance on how they should be monitoring, addressing, and working to prevent employee burnout. Make sure they’re aware of the tools available to support them, especially in mental health. With good communications and an engaged team, you can support your employees through their burnout and bring everyone back to their happy, productive, best selves.
Need help communicating with your team? WBD can help, with customizable communications and easy interfaces built right into our products. Contact us for more information!