Eliminate and Avoid Employee Burnout

March 11, 2020 | 821 views

Eliminate and Avoid Employee Burnout
Eliminate and Avoid Employee Burnout

We live in a culture that rewards the workaholic. At times, maybe you’ve been the one going in early, staying late, or putting in extra time on an important project. These efforts for the team seem like good engagement and a normal part of our working lives. Yet the results of too much of this goodness can create burned-out employees.

Symptoms of Burnout

When that reliable, always-says-yes employee starts to experience burn-out, it will be reflected in their behavior. Perhaps a short fuse is more common, or she backs away from projects that were normally a favorite. Worse, productivity may decrease and absenteeism may increase. These are all signs that an employee no longer has the fiery energy they once did.

After a frank conversation with the employee confirms burnout as the cause of these changes, you must take steps to alleviate the environment that is causing the problem. There could be many different reasons—heavy workloads or an unreasonable manager, lack of flexibility or a noisy work environment.

What to Do

Many simple alternatives will create a better overall workplace:

  1. Address the specific issue. Chances are that a complaint is shared by others. It could be a lack of necessary equipment to do a good job, for example. An investment in one area might create exponential benefits with multiple employees.
  2. Monitor workloads and schedules. Equitable distribution of work is important. Sure, we rely on our best employees when needed, but we can lead others to greater success by sharing the load more.
  3. Encourage work-life balance. Even if we need an employee more at certain times, encourage time off with appreciation for the efforts shown during crunch times. And respect that time. No contact with employees on vacation is a necessary rule. Oh, and be sure to take this time for yourself too, as a model of its importance.
  4. Change the work environment. If a commute is stressful, maybe telecommuting is an option. Encourage camaraderie and daytime breaks in the office. Or change the office décor and lighting to encourage a less stressful atmosphere.
  5. Simplify processes. Paperwork and approvals can be tough drudgeries. If these are a hindrance or source of frustration for employees, review and revise the methodology to streamline this tedious aspect of work.
  6. Bring in help. Especially for temporary projects. Part-time employees and interns can play a valuable role in an organization while preserving balance and reducing burnout.
  7. Identify other resources. If an employee burnout is mixed with personal reasons, your company’s Employee Assistance Program might help coach that person through a tough time. The plan exists for this purpose, so encourage its use.
  8. Recognize and show appreciation. Employees often want the simple “thank you” from a manager. Say it in front of everyone at an impromptu lunch or over coffee and pastries. Even a frustrated, overworked, or burned out employee will appreciate the acknowledgment.

With thoughtful and appropriate changes, employee burnout will no longer be a problem. And most of these ideas are low-cost efforts that will be appreciated by everyone on the team. 

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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