The advent of COVID and the increase in people working from home has unfortunately shown a correlating increase in worker burnout.
Some are surprised by this, thinking working at home is less stressful.
Although there are definitely some perks to working from home, people who work from home never “leave” work to go home, and many are finding it challenging to sign off for the day.
A 2020 survey conducted by Mental Health of America surveyed over 5,000 employees across 17 industries in the United States and found that most employees are experiencing the early signs of burnout.
Nearly 1 in 4 employees surveyed were experiencing the more severe signs of burnout.
What does this mean for your business?
Burnout leads to turnover, and turnover can significantly impact your business.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that it costs a company 6 to 9 months of an employee’s salary to replace that employee.
In addition to the financial ramifications, burnout impacts worker morale, motivation, and productivity.
These facts demonstrate the need for employers to identify and remedy worker burnout, and put measures in place to prevent it from occurring.
Identifying Worker Burnout
Employees suffering from burnout will experience some or many of the following:
Symptoms of Employee Burnout
- Critical of self or others
- Trouble starting work on time or getting started on projects
- Difficulty concentrating
- Change in sleep habits
- Persistent low energy
- Lack of satisfaction with job or achievements
- Physical issues (stomach issues, headaches)
Becoming familiar with these symptoms will help you recognize and address burnout early before it snowballs into a bigger issue.
Causes of Employee Burnout
If you have workers that are showing signs of burnout, you need to try and identify what may be causing the burnout—knowing the cause(s) will help you choose more effective solutions.
- Unclear job expectations
If an employee is constantly unsure about what is expected of them, there is a continual feeling of uneasiness and stress.
- Too much or too little work to do
If an employee is bored or overworked, job satisfaction goes down and burnout goes up.
- Not feeling listened to
If an employee feels that they have no control or say in their job, or that no one listens to their suggestions and feedback, job satisfaction goes down and frustration becomes commonplace and wears them down.
- Lack of resources
When employees don’t have the resources needed to do their job they will get burned out trying to achieve their goals without those resources.
If employees feel isolated (a common occurrence with the increasing work from home trend) it can contribute to burnout.
- Poor work-life balance
Unrealistic expectations, poor management, and extreme workloads can contribute to poor work-life balance, which in turn increases job burnout.
If you encounter these symptoms in your company you need to take action to correct them and create systems and policies that help prevent employee burnout.
Preventing Worker Burnout
So how can you prevent burnout from occurring? Your goal is to create an environment in which your employees feel productive, supported, listened to, and happy. These ideas will give you a solid start:
- Create and/or expand programs that offer mental health support to your employees.
If your company can’t afford as many programs as you would like, create a resource list of nonprofits to give to employees and post in common areas.
Classes such as meditation, yoga, health, and nutritional guidance, as well as workout apps, are popular options that help reduce burnout.
- Offer scheduling flexibility and create a culture in which time off is encouraged and supported.
Employees value flexible work schedules that allow them to balance work with outside commitments. Employers that build a culture which encourages time off are creating a culture with less stress and (therefore) less burnout.
- Train your managers and supervisors to utilize good communication.
When managers communicate frequently and openly with their employees, they are much more likely to become aware of any stress that their employees are experiencing and mitigate it before damage occurs.
Regular one-on-one meetings are a great way to accomplish this.
- Support—and model—logging off work at the end of the day to establish work-life balance.
Remote employees are especially at risk for always being “on duty” and burning out.
- Stay attuned to employee needs.
This is as simple as asking how they’re doing, where they are struggling, and what support they need. Respond to what you learn and provide necessary support to equip your employees for success.
- Offer unique employee benefits and perks.
In addition to the mental and physical health offerings and flex scheduling mentioned earlier, unique and employee-friendly perks can reduce burnout and increase employee retention.
Extra holidays, fun employee retreats, pet-friendly workplaces, and casual dress codes are all examples of perks that bolster employee spirits and reduce burnout.
Identifying and Preventing Worker Burnout Pays Off
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Worker burnout is all too common in today’s companies, making it even more essential that employers be intentional about preventing employee burnout, detecting it in the early stages, and helping employees who are experiencing it.
No Time To Address Worker Burnout?
Are you trying to implement a plan to prevent worker burnout but don’t have the time?
Robin Kramer is an Online Business Manager that has been working with small businesses for 23 years. She can help you analyze your overwhelming to-do list to identify what tasks need your executive expertise, and which ones she can manage for you to free your valuable time.
To learn more about Robin’s skills and how she could help your business, contact her for a free consultation today