A 2021 report from Indeed found that 52% of all employees are experiencing what they would describe as “burnout.” This is an alarming statistic for business owners, since employee burnout is one of the leading causes of absenteeism in the workplace. In fact, in the United States alone, workplace stress leads to nearly 120,000 deaths and nearly $190 billion in spending each year, according to the Harvard Business Review.
So, what exactly does employee burnout mean?
Employee burnout, in a nutshell, is defined as a physical or psychological response to extended exposure to interpersonal pressures at work. Burnout can manifest as a sense of reduced accomplishment, loss of personal identity, and dissatisfaction with one’s current working environment. All of this can result in stress, worry, depression and general discontent.
All of this, of course, leads to a variety of issues for businesses, including decreased productivity, disengagement, and low staff retention rates. To make matters worse, 36% of employees felt their company is doing nothing to help with employee burnout. On that note, here are five steps you can take to avoid becoming part of that statistic.
Be clear about job roles and expectations
Ambiguity is a major contributor to workplace burnout. This usually occurs due to a conflict between roles, a failure to understand expectations or poor management communication. With this in mind, you must prioritise defining clear objectives for your employees, so they know exactly what is expected of them (and when).
If you fail to execute this, your employees may end up floating aimlessly, with no purpose or direction. Furthermore, if they believe they cannot seek help or admit to not understanding their roles, it creates an even more stressful scenario, especially if you punish them harshly for underperformance. Keep things simple and make sure there is always an open line of communication.
Ensure you provide adequate training
Knowing you did a good job is a huge element of feeling satisfied at work. However, if you lack the necessary abilities or expertise, you will certainly experience stress and burnout. As a result, it is your responsibility as an employer to ensure that all of your employees receive enough training to accomplish their duties. While many of them may be well-qualified when they join your organization, further developments in the field and technological advancements may cause them to fall behind. You must understand this and make efforts to ensure that your staff can complete their responsibilities, meet their targets, and go about their employment without feeling incompetent in any way. You should see vast improvements in productivity and morale as a result.
Offer support where needed
Employee stress can escalate into a wide number of issues if left unchecked. Sometimes, it could be a small issue, but if it isn’t dealt with promptly, then it could snowball into a much bigger (and more difficult) issue to solve. With this in mind, you should offer support to your employees regularly.
Your staff must have somewhere to turn when they feel overwhelmed or unhappy in the workplace. If you give them the opportunity to vent their stress, anxiety or conflict, you will have the opportunity to outline a solution and overcome the issue on your terms. That way, they can get back to the task at hand with a happier and more productive mentality.
Allocate time for fun
Work does not necessarily have to be a serious environment. Giving your employees extra downtime can sometimes be a fantastic approach to decrease stress and boost team collaboration and engagement. With this in mind, allocating time to play games once or twice a week may help to alleviate stress and burnout inside your organisation.
Obviously, the possibilities are limitless here. You could bring in a video game console, organise a workplace table tennis tournament or simply allow your workers some alone time to play solitaire and relax on their own for a brief period.
Promote a better work-life balance
Due to the events over the past few years, establishing a better work-life balance has become a top priority for many workers worldwide. People don’t want to be worked to the bone until they have very little time to spend with their families. And then when they finally do get time to spend their way home, they are too stressed or anxious to enjoy it.
With this in mind, you should see if there are any possible ways to promote a better work-life balance for your employees. Of course, it is important to note that a healthy work-life balance will be different for all of us. For some, it may mean meeting deadlines at work while still having enough time for family and friends. For others, it may mean having enough time to sleep, eat and exercise well after work. Nevertheless, there are some measures you can put in place to help improve employee work-life balance, such as:
- Allowing employees to work from home
- Providing flexible working hours
- Placing a restriction on working hours (no allowing employees to work past a certain time)
- Focus on productivity instead of hours worked (let them go home when the job is done)
- Give adequate time off
- Give extra benefits such as a gym membership or gift vouchers for health and wellness activities
Following these five tips will help you reduce employee burnout and boost employee morale in the workplace. When implemented correctly, these tips should not only help to improve the lives of your workforce, but should also result in boosted productivity, efficiency, and increased employee retention, all of which will stand to improve your bottom line.