Time heals all wounds, as the saying goes, but it also creates new ones. While businesses may be vigilant to external trends that may affect their performance of marketplace, they are also wise to be cognizant of internal problems as well. One such problem that affects every business, regardless of size or industry, is employee burnout.
How can we define employee burnout? There are a few classic “symptoms” that affected team members may display. Lateness for work, lack of productivity, and perpetual exhaustion are all signs that your employees may be feeling the stress of work.
We are a work-addicted culture, but burnout can occur as a result of being bored or under-stimulated in addition to being overworked. Additionally, the other people in the office can affect their mood. If they feel their colleagues are unsupportive, or that the office has a negative work environment, then they may also begin to tire of their job.
Navigating burnout can be difficult to deal with as a leader, as there’s no one way to tackle it. Time off seldom does any good, as the affected employee is likely to regress upon their return. Some leaders may attempt to fire employees that they feel have burnt out, which can be problematic if the fired employee’s responsibilities are now distributed to others. So, with this in mind, I’d like to share some of the best ways that you as a company leader can reduce employee burnout in the workplace.
Listen to your employees.
Ah, the nebulous concept of “communication.” It can be difficult to truly connect with and understand people under the best of circumstances, let alone in an office where you may not know some individuals very well. However, as a leader, you have a responsibility to interact with your employees and hear their problems out.
This isn’t quite as simple at putting a sign on your door that reads, “The Doctor Is In.” In order for this to work, you need to build trust between yourself and your employees. If you are approachable, they will be more willing to tell you about their reservations with the workspace and the job, allowing you to determine and minimize causes of burnout. Listening is our first line of defense against dealing with burnout, but it also relies on employees approaching you themselves; and there are several, more proactive methods to build on this.
Enable them to succeed.
While businesses often endeavor to minimize the resources, in terms of supplies or personnel that they need to succeed, not providing employees with any assistance of this sort can cause frustration and eventual burnout.
On a smaller level, providing better equipment can prevent a reduction in morale. Make sure that your technology is relatively usable and up to date, because outdated computer systems can cripple productivity and breed resentment.
Create a positive office culture.
It would be worth spending an entire blog to talk about the ins and outs of office culture. Suffice to say, culture is king, and modern offices are realizing that creating a positive environment does employees a lot of good when it comes to productivity and morale.
Little gestures, such as providing food, hosting social events, and allowing for flexible work hours go a long way when it comes to fostering a more connected, positive office.
Sure, earning a paycheck is nice, but employees may stagnate if they are not receiving feedback from leadership. Unexpected recognition for a job well done can boost morale, especially when done in front of peers.
However, don’t play favorites. While recognizing achievements is generally positive, it can turn sour if employees feel that some are being favored over others. Be aware of the relationships you develop with your team members and ask yourself if they’re coloring your judgment when it comes to rewarding work.
This is somewhere along the lines of “enable them to succeed,” but instead of ensuring that your employees are working with good equipment, you’re ensuring that they have the proper training and information to excel at their jobs.
—Holding staff meetings is one of the best ways to regularly keep employees involved in the vision of a company; it can be disheartening for a person to not know what role they play in overall operations. At the same time, encourage them to take the initiative to advance the company’s mission. Challenging team members is a great way to bring differing perspectives to the table and provide opportunities for advancement. If an employee feels invested in how a company performs and feels like they have the power to help improve it, then they are far less likely to burn out.