Burnout Is Real — Here's How to Prevent It
It’s a scary thing when workplace issues start to affect employees’ physical and mental health. Employees who feel burned out are 63 percent more likely to take a sick day, and — even worse — 23 percent more likely to visit an emergency room, according to research by Gallup.
But even milder cases of burnout can send employees packing, as they are 2.6 times more likely to leave their job. The good news is that, as a manager, you can take steps to create a healthy work environment and protect your employees from burnout.
Let’s take a look at how to get started.
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Monitor employees’ workloads.
When staff members are asked to take on additional tasks, it can put them in a tricky position. On one hand, they might be excited to stretch their role and embrace the opportunity to move up in the company, but on the other hand, if they still have to fulfill their regular duties, the increased pressure can make them feel stressed and overwhelmed.
So when you ask employees to take on something new, talk to them about what else is on their plate and how you can work together to prioritize tasks, create realistic deadlines, and redistribute some of their other duties.
Focus on employees’ strengths.
Everyone brings certain skills to the job — that’s why you hired them. So if, for example, you hired an employee who is great with clients, it’s understandable that they would feel frustrated to be given tasks that have them always working by themselves.
Instead, make sure they are put on projects that play to their strengths so they can really connect with the work and thrive at the company. When employees feel like they are doing the work they do best, they are 57 percent less likely to frequently experience burnout, according to Gallup.
Meet for regular check-ins.
If you only have one-on-ones with employees during annual reviews, you’re likely to miss the symptoms of burnout. Plan weekly or biweekly meetings with your direct reports to get a sense of their workload and stress level. These check-ins are also a good opportunity to build a friendly rapport with your staff: Ask them about themselves, their interests, and their goals.
The Gallup study found that employees whose manager is always willing to listen to their work-related problems are 62 percent less likely to be burned out. So, when your employees realize that you care about them as people, they’re more likely to talk to you about feeling overwhelmed, so hopefully you can help them avoid feelings of stress and despair.
Strive for “work-life harmony.”
The term “work-life balance” can be controversial, and even Amazon head Jeff Bezos isn’t a fan of it. That’s because he says the term implies a tradeoff, when instead we should be aiming for a more harmonious relationship between our jobs and our personal lives.
Think about how to apply this in your own business. Flexible hours, working from home, discounted fitness memberships, and generous PTO policies are all ways that you can help employees create schedules that are ideal for the type of work they do. If your business doesn’t require shift-based work, then you have the freedom to create nontraditional schedules that best fit the needs of your company and your employees.
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