Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, burnout has become a relevant issue as employees have been forced to work remotely or change jobs altogether. Being isolated, stressed, and overworked puts your employees at increased risk of burnout. The impact this can have on your organization is detrimental. Long-term burnout leads to lower productivity and engagement as well as higher levels of absenteeism and turnover. Oftentimes, the responsibility of dealing with burnout falls onto Human Resources. This leaves many HR teams without lifelines of their own in the case they experience burnout. Today we will discuss an overview of burnout and how HR teams can take steps to ensure they stay afloat when overburdened.
The Significance Of Preventing Burnout In The Workplace
What Is Burnout?
In order to prevent burnout, we must first understand what it means. In simple terms, burnout is the feeling of mental exhaustion stemming from workplace responsibilities. According to the World Health Organization, burnout may be shown through the following symptoms:
- Fatigue or low energy levels
- Decreased engagement at work or negative feelings related to one’s job
- Reduced productivity or efficiency
However, burnout can be seen through more subtle behaviors such as:
- Mood swings
- Uncharacterized sensitivity
- Working more than usual
- Decreased socialization
- Increased time away from work
As these examples show, burnout doesn’t look the same for everyone and all employees will react to burnout differently. Yet, the impacts of burnout are typically uniform—lower productivity, lower-quality work, and detrimental health effects.
Why It’s Important To Combat Burnout
For many employees, the negative effects of burnout can extend beyond the workplace and affect their personal and home life. In other words, burnout can stem from an overload of work, personal responsibilities, or a mixture of both. This highlights the importance of employers preventing burnout in their workforce to help reduce its overall negative impact on employees.
Moreover, burnout can increase an employee’s risk of getting sick or developing a chronic condition. This can lead to more time spent away from work, lower productivity, increased workplace resentment, and is simply bad for your company’s well-being.
How To Combat Burnout In The Workplace
Since burnout is usually the result of prolonged workplace stress, it’s important to know what signs to look for in order to eliminate these stressors. While it’s inevitable to eliminate all stress from your workplace, HR leaders can help their teams manage stress effectively. Common job stressors include a heavy workload, intense pressure to perform at high levels, excessive travel, office politics, and conflicts with co-workers. Any of these factors can put enough stress on an employee to affect their performance. That’s why it’s important to find ways to eliminate unnecessary stress in the workplace.
For HR teams, stressors may also include dealing with a great number of employee issues, handling tasks that they usually aren’t responsible for, and complying with fluctuating workplace regulations and conditions. Luckily, HR teams can implement various strategies to help reduce their team’s overall stress levels.
Tips To Eliminating Stress & Preventing Burnout
We’ve highlighted many of the common causes of burnout and the importance of preventing it for the sake of your business. Now we want to share various tips your company can utilize to eliminate workplace stress. Consider the following tips to ensure your employees don’t suffer from burnout:
- Create fair workloads: Your HR team needs to ensure that performance goals are communicated clearly to employees at the beginning of the year. Also, it’s important that they maintain optimum staffing by distributing job responsibilities fairly across the company. This will ensure that no employee has a ridiculous amount of work compared to others and will help improve retention.
- Value vacations: Encourage employees to take their allotted vacation time. Although many companies offer vacation, employees often feel pressured to turn them down. Make it clear to your employees that vacation is encouraged and promote the discussion of work/life balance in the workplace so that employees can feel comfortable bringing it up.
- Kill old, arbitrary rules: Many workplaces still enforce traditional rules that add to the stress of a job. For example, don’t force employees to come in at the same time. Some individuals thrive better at 8:00 AM while others may be most productive at 2:00 PM. Moreover, allow employees to work remotely if the job allows. There’s no use in forcing an employee to get ready, battle traffic, and drive 20 minutes to the office when their job could be done effectively from home.
- Encourage friendships: Although there is a fine line between work and personal life, that doesn’t mean we can’t have office friendships. Developing meaningful relationships between coworkers will make them feel connected and can improve the entire synergy of your organization. Simply put, employees who know and like one another will have an easier time working together and will lead to less burnout.
All of these tips can be applied to help prevent burnout within your workforce. Additionally, HR leaders should be ready to adapt these actions to conform to the unique needs of their teams. If some tactics aren’t working to reduce burnout, restrategize and try new ones.
Creating A Productive, Friendly Work Environment
Burnout is a serious condition that can disrupt an entire organization. This is especially true when HR teams become afflicted and can no longer adequately assist other employees with their problems. That can create a snowball effect where employees have nowhere to turn for timely assistance. That’s why HR leaders must introduce safeguards against burnout and know how to spot its signs. For employers who want to create a productive workplace, reach out to Alltrust Insurance today for more resources on preventing burnout among employees and other workplace guidance.