As per Forbes, more than 50% of employees across the globe experience instances of employee burnout. We’ve known for a long time that workplace stress is real and is something employees everywhere have in common. However, in recent years, the discussions have gone one step further to lay emphasis on workplace and employee burnout. As the corporate world embraces hybrid and remote work in the wake of Covid-19, the instances of workplace burnout are also mounting at an unprecedented pace.
For organizations, the high rates of employee burnout are posing a great threat to employee engagement and retention levels. In fact, rising instances of burnout when there is more awareness of mental health than ever before is one of the major reasons fuelling the great resignation.
Today, you need to create a high-performing culture that puts you at a competitive advantage but to do that, you need to help your employees avoid burnout. When your employees are at their best, they can lead your organization to unimaginable success. For that, the onus lies on you as a leader to keep employee burnout to a minimum.
In this blog, we shed light on the most effective strategies for providing worthwhile burnout assistance to employees. With the efficient application of these strategies, you can drive positive changes in your organization to scale new horizons of growth. So, let us get started without further ado.
Actionable strategies for preventing employee burnout
1. Offer greater flexibility
In the modern corporate world, flexibility has become the cornerstone of positive workplace cultures. Thanks to amazing technological innovations, flexible work arrangements are for real. The best part is that flexibility facilitates a pleasant work-life balance both for employers and employees.
To validate, as per LinkedIn, almost 80 percent of employees feel that flexible work arrangements help them in maintaining an optimum work-life balance. In fact, a large number of employees will happily leave their current jobs to join organizations that offer greater flexibility.
Speaking of the younger working generations, around 51 percent of millennials will resign from their current job for greater flexibility as per People Matters. For Gen Z professionals, this percentage is around 62 percent.
We already know that these generations are the future of the corporate world and it is essential for organizations to retain their top millennial talents. You would surely not want your top talents switching to other organizations because of high stress.
Having said that, it is imperative that you offer greater flexibility to your employees to help them maintain a good balance between their personal and professional lives. In this way, you can effectively assist your employees in not being vulnerable to employee burnout instances.
As far as productivity is concerned, you will be glad to know that employees report greater productivity in flexible work arrangements. To substantiate, as per Gartner, more than 40 percent of employees are of the view that flexible working helps them to boost their productivity.
When you allow greater flexibility, you empower your employees by showing greater faith in them. They will respond to the same with greater employee engagement, dedication, and zeal to perform exceptionally well. Hence, there is a lot more to promoting greater flexibility in the workplace than just reducing the vulnerability to burnout.
2. Invest in the right technology
Doing recurring and monotonous tasks in a routine manner can be unexciting and stressful. Besides, doing complex tasks without effective assistance from technology can also make employees highly vulnerable to profuse stress. In either case, employees will eventually find themselves on the brink of burnout.
However, by investing in the right technology, you can add greater productivity to your workforce while bringing down their stress in a significant manner. To substantiate, Forbes reveals that 64 percent of employees feel that their workload and stress can be dramatically reduced with automation technologies. Having said that, it is essential for you to invest in the right technologies and tools to keep productivity high and workplace stress low.
From project management tools to advanced AI technologies for automation, businesses are now increasingly investing in technology. With automation tools, you can replace the recurring administrative tasks that otherwise can be time-consuming and stressful.
All in all, a vital step in the direction of preventing your employees from burnout is to support them by providing them with the right tools, software, and technologies to share their workload.
The greater the assistance offered by technology the lower will be the levels of stress and hence, the vulnerability to burnout. As a leader, you need to ensure that you are investing in the right tools and technologies to make things simpler for your employees. Needless to say, for the effective integration of these technologies, you need systematic change management mechanisms.
3. Provide emotional intelligence training
Employees are more prone to burnout when they are not capable of managing their emotions effectively. When negative emotions get the better of employees, they begin to reel under immense pressure. On the contrary, people with high emotional intelligence can manage and control their emotions in a positive way to produce great outcomes.
Moreover, people with high EQ are also capable of managing others’ emotions in a positive way for worthwhile outcomes. This explains why EQ is gaining incredible significance in the modern workplace. The idea is quite simple: if people can manage negative emotional influences with great efficiency, they can also manage their stress proficiently.
Needless to say, when people are more resilient to stress, they are less prone to burnout. Having said that, providing effective EQ training and mentoring to your employees can be a great way to help them become self-sufficient in dealing with the risks of burnout. With EQ, you can inspire greater motivation and stress management abilities in your employees.
4. Address social isolation in remote employees
Remote workers face the issue of social isolation in an incessant manner hence, pushing them towards burnout. To explain, in remote working arrangements, employees lack emotional support from their colleagues or superiors. This is not the case in a traditional office setup where co-workers are physically present with each other to offer moral and emotional support.
This prolonged feeling of social isolation can easily translate into burnout if not addressed. Having said that, as a leader, you should offer effective assistance to your remote employees to overcome social isolation. The question is, how can you really help your employees to get over the feeling of social and emotional disconnection?
Well, there are some simple and inexpensive ways in which you can show greater support to your remote team. Given below are some interesting ways in which you can offer support to your employees virtually.
- Hosting virtual coffee breaks: All team members can break at the same time and connect virtually for some candid discussions to let go of the stress
- Virtual movie nights: Like virtual coffee breaks, you can also host virtual movie nights for your employees so that everyone can connect in an unofficial way beyond their work stress.
- Surprise meals: You can send surprise meals to your remote workers to show your love and concern for them. In fact, surprise meals can be a great token of appreciation for your employees.
These are just to name a few interesting ways in which you can address the feeling of social isolation in your remote employees. When you succeed in doing so, you have a great chance of ensuring that your remote workers do not find themselves on the verge of burnout.
5. Reward employees with additional paid time off
Another interesting and actionable strategy for preventing your employees from burnout can be to offer additional paid leaves for exceptional performers. To explain, additional paid leaves can be introduced as a reward for employees. This reward will certainly motivate your employees to exhibit greater engagement and commitment. More importantly, it will be a great opportunity to rejuvenate their minds and souls for those who win their way to additional paid time off.
So, let’s say your organization offers two paid leaves per month as of now. You can introduce two additional paid leaves for the best performers to support their mental wellness in lieu of their diligent performance. Instead of buying hefty rewards for them, additional paid time off will be a better idea with multidimensional benefits. Makes complete sense right?
6. Introduce mental wellness programs
When it comes to burnout prevention in the workplace, mental wellness programs are imperative. The mental wellness of your employees is a direct measure of how much you have been successful in preventing your employees from burnout. If you can create an environment that promotes positive mental wellness, you can successfully keep burnout at bay.
For that, you need to introduce effective and meticulous mental wellness programs in the workplace. With workplace wellness programs, you can create a natural environment that cares for employees’ well-being. Not only can wellness programs save healthcare costs incurred by your organization but also offer a high ROI.
As per SHRM, workplace wellness programs can offer an impressive return on investment of $1.5 for every dollar invested for employees’ well-being. However, if you are a small business, investing in healthcare programs may not be much feasible. Even then, the least you can do is hold mental wellness webinars and seminars where established counselors can hold worthwhile discussions on mental health with your employees.
7. Promote a culture of open communication
At times, talking it out may be the simplest and the most effective way to get rid of success. However, employees are often reluctant to express their problems and stressors to their managers or the top management.
If they could easily express themselves in the workplace without hesitation, things can be far better. Otherwise, the stress will keep piling up and that blended with the constant reluctance to express can push employees to the brink of burnout.
Can there be a way out of this complex yet so common scenario? Well, there definitely is a way out and as a leader, you need to lead by example. You need to create an environment of open communication that inspires great confidence among your employees to express themselves freely.
Once they feel comfortable enough to share their feelings and insecurities with their co-workers or seniors, they will witness a positive change in their state of mental wellbeing. Having said that, they can talk things out before they take a real toll on their minds.
Even if your organization has gone completely remote, you can foster a culture of open communication via effective internal communication tools. As mentioned above, it is such a key thing to invest in the right technology. Also, for remote teams, visual communication will be of great significance.
To conclude, high productivity and alarming rates of workplace burnout cannot go hand in hand. If you need to get the best out of your people and retain your top talents, you need to address the rising instances of employee burnout. The greater your effectiveness as a leader to protect your team from burnout the greater the engagement that you can drive in the workplace. For that, the above actionable strategies can be of immense value leading to great outcomes.