Have you noticed your employees or team members acting sluggish and unproductive at work? Are they forgetful and uninterested in their tasks? Do they lack concentration and seem physically and emotionally exhausted? Then, there is a high chance that they are suffering from the most common occupational hazard— employee burnout.
What exactly is employee burnout and how does it come about?
A worker experiencing burnout suffers from a loss of personal identity and is in a state of both physical and emotional exhaustion. According to the International Classification of Diseases, employee burnout results from chronic workplace stress that has been unsuccessfully managed. Though it is something that is often overlooked, employee burnout is so common that nearly three-fourth, or 73% to be precise, of American employees, are currently experiencing worker burnout.
As a Manager it is of the utmost importance to identify the signs of a burnt-out employee before they reach a potentially worse situation, after all, 23% of burnt-out employees are more likely to visit the emergency room. Here are a few tips to help your employees get through this burnout.
1. Identify The Cause
Having a burnout worker in your team is extremely counterproductive. Studies have found that burnt-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and highly likely to leave their current employers. The first step to helping a burnt-out employee is by pinning down the root cause of the problem. As a manager or employer, it is a must to have an open mind and listen to your employees’ grievances. If your employees believe that they are being overworked, take a step back and see how you can reorganise their task list and cut down on unnecessary work.
2. Prioritise Mental Health
The stress caused by burnout pays a heavy toll on the mental health of employees and that is why it is vital to provide your team with mental and emotional support. Jennifer Moss, author of ‘The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It’ says that “You (managers) are not meant to be a mental health expert, but you are meant to know where those mental health experts exist in your organization. You are a conduit.” Having an Employee Assistance Program (EPA) provides your workers with an outlet to talk about their problems and find solutions. Another way to improve mental health in your organisation is by promoting work-life balance and incorporating short breaks throughout the day.
3. No Working After Hours
Employees who work from home are often pressured into working longer hours and even completing tasks when they’re on vacation or on their days off. This can lead to resentment and substandard work. In fact, this was such an issue that Portugal recently amended their labour laws to ban employers from contacting their staff outside their contracted working hours. It is a must to remember that your employees have a life outside of work and value their time. Fostering work-life balance reduces stress and thereby the chances of burnout.
4. Lead By Example
Several managers and employers feel the need to portray a perfect version of themselves but being honest and showcasing vulnerability in terms of your emotional and mental health can encourage employees to do the same. Even the most famous and admired entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk have admitted that their lifestyle isn’t healthy. A few years ago, Musk stated that “No one should put this many hours into your work. It’s not recommended for anyone. You’re gonna go a little bonkers if you work 120 hours a week.” So don’t forget to introspect and check if you yourself are suffering from burnout without realising it. Make use of your vacation days, take breaks to unwind, switch your phone off after work and focus on your mental health.
While employee burnout is becoming increasingly common in most organisations, a good and thoughtful employee who cares for the health and wellbeing of his employees can make all the difference. Ultimately, your business is only as strong as the amazing people who work for you.