It takes time for an employee to burn out. Even the most passionate employee can become disengaged over time due to a series of triggers. Even though a little stress can be motivating, too much of it, combined with excessive work demands and personal life stressors, can result in burnout.
Employers cannot always help curb employees' burnout, especially when the cause of burnout is a very personal matter. However, the workplace can still be improved by tackling burnout more effectively.
You can address and prevent employee burnout in a variety of ways, as follows:
1. Promote a mental health-friendly and ‘’safe zone’’ culture
The solution to burnout goes beyond implementing a well-being program. We must change workplace habits, identify root causes, and allow leadership to set the tone. Managers and leadership provide employees with information about workplace norms and acceptable behaviour. Therefore, leaders should be champions of mental health and well-being.
Employees might not feel comfortable discussing work and personal pressures with you if you're a manager. It is important that you let them know you are there to listen to them. In addition, encourage team members to support each other, especially during times of pressure.
You can prevent employee burnout by creating a ''safe place'' in the office and letting employees express their opinions and thoughts without fear of repercussions.
2. Watch out for warning signs
Burnout among employees is a reality that must be recognised. Make sure you pay attention to warning signs within your team. Increasing absenteeism and illness are common signs of burnout.
However, you may also notice changes in people's behaviour. A cynical attitude toward work and being overly irritated by co-workers are among them. An employee suffering from burnout may exhibit signs of chronic fatigue, anger, self-criticism and negativity. If you see any of these signs, find out what you can do to help the individual and don’t punish them for feeling that way.
3. Create a culture that embraces emotion
The importance of emotions in building the right culture is underestimated by most companies. There is a tendency to focus on the cognitive culture: the shared values, norms and assumptions that govern how employees think and behave at work. Even though that is important, an equally significant element is a strong emotional culture.
The culture of a company will undoubtedly suffer if it ignores or fails to understand how emotions play a role in its well-being. Creating a culture of emotion means creating a space where employees feel comfortable sharing their feelings and concerns. Employees' emotions affect their ability to be creative, make decisions, perform well, and continue to work for the company. It all affects the bottom line.
4. Monitor people's workloads
Make sure your team members' workloads are manageable by regularly checking in with them. Defining everyone's roles and responsibilities clearly is also important from time to time. If possible, try rotating your people out of exhausting positions for less stressful ones, a change of pace can shift their energy levels. The practice of working long hours over an extended period is also counterproductive. They will lose efficiency and productivity.
5. Professional Development
The likelihood of burnout increases when employees are unsatisfied with their career or current position. Hence, access to professional development opportunities is crucial for team members.
Burnout also occurs when people feel they lack the necessary skills and knowledge to do their jobs well. By identifying their learning needs, you can offer regular training on new processes, systems, or technologies.
6. Bring some fun into the workplace
There is no doubt that work can be a serious business. But a workplace that encourages some fun can help alleviate stress. Think of tasks that will spark your team's imagination, creativity, and innovation. Social events and teambuilding exercises can also help people relax and bond in a less formal environment. Management plays a crucial role in ensuring that your team does not suffer undue stress.
7. Be a positive role model
Take into account how the long hours you work impacts your team. It can lead to a negative culture of presenteeism if they feel forced to follow your lead. Set a good example to ensure your team members clock off at a reasonable time. In addition, encourage your employees to take regular breaks at work and eat their lunch away from their workstations. Taking annual leave will also help people refresh physically and mentally after working long hours. Make sure people take all the holidays they are entitled to.