Do you know that 65% of SME owners say that their business productivity or lack thereof keeps them awake at night? The worry of not being able to make the next deadline results in waking up until odd hours at night. And that builds resentment, ultimately leading to colleagues lashing out at each other! This mayhem is not constricted to a specific office or industry. Instead is all-pervasive, and employee burnout is reaching record levels. Employee burnout doesn’t only affect employee health and office culture. But this overworking rather than increasing your productivity impact it negatively. Employee burnout affects a team’s mental health and an organization’s money too! But what is burnout? Here is the definition of burnout from WHO.
How WHO Defines Burnout?
Workplace burnout can take many forms, but here is how WHO characterizes burnout in three crisp points:
- The employee experiences feelings of exhaustion and energy depletion
- Increment in one’s mental distance from their job or feeling negativity or cynicism towards one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
Human Capital Strategy: Why Deal With Burnout?
Undoubtedly, a company thrives on its human capital. Your workforce is more than just a resource; it is a capital that yields with appropriate investment. And it is a known fact that employees drive profits. And employee burnout can impact an organization’s margins, productivity, profits, and even cash flow. Were you wondering how that works? Reduced employee burnout advocates a healthier working environment that will drive employee engagement in the most suitable manner. This would promote productivity, improve cash flow, and ultimately increase profitability.
How To Prevent Employee Burnout And Increase Productivity?
Employee burnout, however detrimental to a company’s productivity, is reversible. Below are a few ways to bring productivity and happiness back to your workplace.
Make Policies For Employee Vacations
Who doesn’t love to take a small break from work and travel the world? But, according to a survey conducted by US Travel Association, 52% of Americans said they do not consume all their vacations! And the blame is not entirely on the employee’s ambitions but, sadly, the work environment. There is a dire need to frame paid time off policies and take measures that provide a sense of work-life balance. One of them could be running a report every year on employee vacation hours to ensure they are not working excess hours. Studies have shown an improved work-life balance boosts an employee’s productivity and overall job satisfaction.
Track Time And Offer Flexible Work Schedules
As already discussed, it is in everybody’s interests to maintain employee work-life balance. Another excellent way to achieve this is by using a work schedule maker. It tracks the time employees have worked and effectively manages their time by setting, monitoring, and managing their schedules. Pro Tip: Use time-tracking software that integrates and tracks time for better work management.
Promote Small Breaks Every Little While
Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique for increasing focus? If not, it advocates taking breaks every little while. This technique has been proven to increase focus and productivity. But here, we are not promoting the Pomodoro technique. Instead, the power of taking short breaks every little while. 2019 Workplace Productivity Report showed that 87% of office professionals spend an average of 7 hours staring at a screen daily. Thus, small coffee breaks, a walk-in or around the premises, a small game, or a simple chat to step away from the digital screen for some time can indeed increase your team’s productivity levels.
Set Clear Objectives
Studies show that many employees are not clear about their expectations. In the absence of clearly defined expectations, they waste time on activities not expected of them. On the other hand, setting clear expectations guides employee efforts in the right direction. An effective way to deal with this is to have the manager and employee have a face-to-face conversation. Create a training video if necessary. And it is essential that they write down the expectations and goals clearly.
Fair Staffing Is Important
This might seem like a no-brainer. But indeed, distributing fair workloads and job responsibilities ensure employees achieve their targets- without burnout. Companies should set SMART recruitment goals for their teams. Do not mistake this for making things overly easy. The human brain likes challenges, but moderation is the key. Also, keep each employee’s capabilities in mind while making goal sheets and involving the employee in the task. They know their capabilities the best!
Know Your Priorities And Manage Time Accordingly
Every employee has tons of big and small responsibilities. But often, employees, in the absence of corrective guidance, give each job the same priority. This approach leads to a lot of time going wasted. Instead, an excellent approach to this issue is to use the 80:20 rule. The rule goes something like this, give 80% of your time to 20% of your most essential tasks. Being clear of your priorities improves performance and prevents burnout!
Offer Employee Perks Like Comp Offs And Overtime
Workplaces can get busy; however efficiently, you manage time and schedules. Companies should invest in their employees and offering compensatory offs or overtime can help employees stay motivated in difficult times. Such appreciation and recognition of employee efforts can increase employee job satisfaction. It might be the reason why they would either stay or move on from your company.
Pay Your Employees Adequately
Saving money on salaries can initially feel like a win-win situation, but the truth is instead the reverse. Money is a big motivation for most employees. It can be a serious demotivator when they see their peers earning more than them while working at similar profiles. Therefore it’s important that companies establish salary DOE. Additionally, financial worries can stress the employee more than work. They may feel tired, stressed, and demotivated at the workplace and may commit mistakes. Also, lack of money can mean employees have limited options for spending on leisure activities.
Undertake Team Building Exercises
Workplace rifts that lead to gossip and even enmity are the number one cause of creating a toxic work environment. If not taken care of at an early stage, a toxic work environment can lead to increased sick days, low motivation, and a high workforce turnover. These all are a big dent in your office productivity. But quick team building activities help to boost employee performance. Small efforts like putting up a staff lunch or arranging for drinks once in a while can go a long way in uniting your workforce. A team that eats together stays together. You can also arrange for outings like an amusement park, mini-golf, or even a bowling alley. Expenditure in team activities is an investment that will ultimately improve your work culture and can also play a role in attracting top talent!
Offer Positive Feedback And Appreciation
What if you are only informed about your improvements as an employee, and nobody claps when you do a good job or improve upon these improvements? Are you likely to repeat such an exemplary effort? Well, most probably no, right? Behavioral science says verbal reinforcement over somebody’s good actions increases the chance of them repeating that action. Even inc.com says that not reinforcing and recognizing employee efforts and achievements is one of the biggest communication hurdles in effective leadership. Almost 63% of respondents cited this as an example of poor management. Easily, training managers to appreciate employees’ good jobs is the quickest and most straightforward way to reduce employee burnout and increase engagement and organizational productivity.
Creating A Conducive Environment Where People Can Be Vulnerable
It is crucial to create a happy place and conducive environment where employees can reach their managers for guidance. Managers have been through the employees’ struggles and know how to deal with them. But only if your employees could be comfortable being vulnerable about their burnout and other workplace issues to their managers in a polite manner can they be resolved proactively. Indeed, being proactive with employee issues can help deal with burnout and strengthen employee and management relationships, ultimately leading to a healthy workplace.
Getting A Little Personal Doesn’t Hurt!
Humanising the work environment is essential. If your organization is up to 500 people, the management should make conscious efforts to know each employee personally. Indeed, personal connections amidst various levels of organizations help resolve root-level issues proactively while assisting employees in feeling connected and part of the organization. A simple, ‘Great Job!’ from a senior management official goes a long way in boosting employee morale. Perse, you are a restaurant owner. If an employee gets a good customer review or compliment, make it a huge deal. Highlight these achievements in a weekly newsletter. Go all aboard by sending appreciation letters to their family members for their exceptional achievements. Lastly, try to promote within the organization as far as possible. Keep celebrating small and significant achievements in whatever manner you can. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. But figure out how you can go personal with your workforce. It can make your workers go over and beyond with pleasure. This will increase their commitment to the company and reduce burnout rates.
How To Make An Effective Burnout Strategy?
- The first step is to develop an employee engagement plan. Begin with an extensive employee survey. The results will guide you to the solution.
- Design and implement a practical job design. Work with team leads and managers to develop job rotations, training and development, and methods for streamlining a profile’s tasks.
- Perform compensation analysis and devise a competitive pay.
- Lastly, promote work-life balance. The HR and senior management are in it together to cultivate a play hard and work hard motto!
Strong leadership and HR can promote work-life balance and reduce employee burnout at the workplace. Taking care of your people is not simply a gesture but an investment too. It can result in lower employee turnover and higher productivity. At the same time, a healthy office culture comes as an added advantage. So, is your workplace also dealing with employee burnout challenges, and are you employing any of the above techniques. Let us know! We are all ears.