Over the past few years, employee burnout has been on an upward trend. This phenomenon refers to employees becoming overwhelmed with work. Burnout can ultimately lead to disengagement, withdrawal, stress, or worry; all of which can perpetuate a negative workplace climate. When employees are experiencing burnout, they are more likely to take frequent absences, become sick, or even leave the company for better opportunities.
To combat the increasing trend of employee burnout, leaders and companies can take initiative to improve the workplace environment. Here are a few things to consider as a leader to help employees prevent and avoid burnout.
Create a Welcoming Environment
Many companies are still remote due to the pandemic, but plenty are starting to return to the office for work. A calm, soothing and open environment can help employees build better relationships with their coworkers and colleagues, while also promoting more collaboration opportunities. When people are working in the same space, they are more likely to chat with those around them, share ideas, and feel less isolated. This is a completely different approach in comparison with working in a private cubicle, head down focusing on work and work only all day long.
If you’re looking to go the extra mile, consider repainting the walls a bright white to make the space feel clean, with pops of blue, a color known to help calm the mind and aid in concentration. Simple additions to your workspace can go a long way. It has been proven that engaging work environments can improve productivity, and make employees happier and more confident. Another option to boost mode is to place aroma diffusers around the office. Citrus essential oils such as lime, orange, or lemon can boost energy as well as productivity. One study showed that factors such as noise, lighting, humidity, and temperature can all have an effect on productivity in the workplace. These small changes to your workplace environment can make a lasting impact on employees and prevent burnout now and in the future.
Communicate Often and Build Connection
The best way to keep tabs on employees’ happiness or contentment is to keep an open line of communication. Consider using the “open door policy” to encourage a continuous open flow of communication. Managers that make themselves accessible are more likely to have their employees stop by to chat, or have difficult conversations because they’ll feel comfortable in doing so. An employee who feels as though they can’t talk to their manager or other employees about the issues they are facing at work can experience built-up stress and anxiety. That stress in turn can lead to employee burnout. A friendly, open line of communication between everyone in an office can make a huge difference in the workplace and keep employees from looking elsewhere for employment.
If you feel as if your employees still aren’t comfortable discussing workplace issues after offering an open door policy, consider offering them an outlet, such as an anonymous survey or suggestion box. This can also give them the opportunity to air their grievance and allow management to make some effective changes. Remember to be present and that when it comes to burnout building connection is key.
Provide the Right Tools
Another way to avoid employee burnout within the workplace is to provide the employees with the tools they need to succeed. For example, many employees are working from a computer or laptop throughout the entire day and may suffer from eye fatigue, digital eye strain, or headaches as a result. A great way to convey to employees that their health and wellness is valuable and important to management is to purchase blue light glasses for those who would benefit from them. The blue light emitted from screens can have a lasting negative effect on employees’ eyes, but blue light glasses can filter out the harmful blue light, protecting employees from developing work-related eye problems.
Fostering a relationship with your employees that shows you truly care makes them feel not only appreciated but also inspired to be peak performers. Something as small as gifting your employees with blue light glasses can help keep burnout at bay.
Encourage Work-life Balance
One of the most effective ways to make sure employees aren’t suffering from burnout is to encourage them to take breaks. Encouraging them to use their time off to mentally recharge and come back in a better headspace, will make them feel empowered to take some downtime. Employees today often feel as if they cannot or should not take time off due to busy work schedules and deadlines. However, this can create a very toxic atmosphere at work and make employees feel resentful.
A work-life balance is imperative, especially in this day in age. It is so easy to become bogged down in the never-ending list of to-dos, put your head down and grind it out, and forget about your own health and wellness. Research has shown that taking more vacation time results in greater success at work. It also lowers stress levels for people both at work and at home.
As a leader, encouraging your team to unplug, reiterating the importance of PTO, and allowing them to take mental health days as needed can greatly decrease levels of employee burnout. Make sure your employees know that it is more than okay to plan a trip and enjoy some time away from work and screens.
Offer Incentives to Employees
Lastly, in order to keep your employees satisfied in their role, allow them time to step away throughout the day. The past year and a half have shown that remote work can be just as effective and efficient as working in an office every day. Offer the option of working remotely to your employees a few days during the week. Sometimes having the option to sleep in a few extra minutes and avoid the traffic from a commute can simultaneously boost your mood and your work productivity that day. Being able to work from the comfort of your own home can help ease stress and prevent employee burnout.
Another option is to incorporate a flexible schedule, meaning employees have the ability to leave work for a period of time in order to get a coffee, go to a doctor’s appointment, or grab lunch and then make up those hours later in the day or week. The added flexibility gives employees more freedom to decipher how and when they’re most productive. The last option, if you really want to show your employees that you care about them, is to give them an extra day of PTO to show them your appreciation.
Shift the Perspective
Productivity tends to ebb and flow, and a great way to get your employees back in the swing of things with a fresh perspective is to have them take note of their energy outputs. Where a person spends their energy makes a massive impact on their performance. If a person is spending all of their energy on things that are draining them, they can begin to feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. This can cause them to become burnt out, exhausted, and difficulty prioritizing what matters. Inform your employees on how to discover ways to align energy with what matters to them so they can find freedom, flow, focus, and productivity.
Every job can be stressful in its own way, but burnout takes that stress to an extreme level which can lead to a multitude of negative impacts. Lack of engagement from management puts the company at risk of losing employees due to burnout, but with these tips in mind, it can be prevented.
About Molly Fletcher: A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. In her keynote presentations, Molly inspires leaders, teams, and organizations to kick-start growth.
For more information on Molly, click here.