Six Essential Tips to Help Burned Out Employees
Written by Complete Payroll
Burnout is a common issue that affects millions of employees worldwide. It can be caused by long hours, high-stress levels, lack of support, and many other factors. Burnout can lead to many negative consequences, including decreased productivity, low morale, and even health problems.
Some signs that an employee may be experiencing the physical and emotional strain of burnout include:
- Unexplained absences from work
- Showing up to work late/leaving early
- Decrease in productivity
- Apparent frustration
- Decline in health
When an employee experiences burnout for one reason or another for an extended period of time, it often leads to leaving the organization for another opportunity.
To help employees who are struggling with burnout, it's essential to provide them with the resources and support they need to thrive. Here are six essential tips that can help.
1. Offer Rewards for No Reason At All
Many employers think that offering an incentive for employees will motivate them to work harder and be more productive. While people like incentives, continued pressure to work even harder can often contribute to burnout.
While these types of incentives have their place, they shouldn’t be the only way an employee is rewarded. Whether it’s a gift card, extra break time, the chance to leave early, or snacks in the breakroom, these types of rewards, just for being part of the team, can help motivate employees a lot and make them feel appreciated and understood.
2. Remember Off-Duty Obligations
As a leader, you likely have a solid understanding of the importance of valuing your employees' time while on the job. However, have you given equal consideration to the time they spend outside of work hours?
Many employees have family responsibilities, secondary employment, or engage in freelance work to make ends meet. Although this additional work should never interfere with their primary job responsibilities, it's crucial to be mindful of the demands they may be facing that could result in feelings of depression, hopelessness, and exhaustion.
3. Avoid Excessive Communication
Collaboration and communication are important for the success of any company. However, there are times when it can take on a life of its own. When extra meetings are called, or excessive emails pop up in the inbox, it stops being helpful and starts interfering with the daily operations of the company and its employees. Constant communication takes a lot of emotional energy and mental space, which leads to burnout in your employees.
Pare down all meetings and communications to ensure they aren’t interfering with why everyone is working in the first place. This will create a new culture where all communication has an important purpose and still prioritizes the company’s end goals.
4. Give Employees a Voice
Checking in with employees and asking them to voice their frustrations or problems of practice is a helpful way to prevent or manage burnout. When employees feel like they don’t have control over their circumstances or that they aren’t being heard, they begin to feel they are powerless in their situation.
As a leader, conduct informal check-ins and welcome open-door conversations to give employees the opportunity and the comfort to share. When employees communicate, really listen, even if your knee-jerk reaction is to get defensive. Hear them out - employees understand their own needs better than anyone.
5. Encourage Stress Relievers
Help your employees reduce stress by encouraging them to incorporate stress relief into their daily routines. Permit them to listen to music during work hours, offer flexible work schedules when possible, and allow casual attire on designated days or regularly. If suitable, provide the option for remote work.
By granting them the trust to complete their tasks even when dressed casually or using headphones, you demonstrate your concern for their well-being and overall happiness at the workplace. This simple gesture can have a profound impact on your employees' morale and motivation.
6. Make Mental Health a Priority
Normalize taking care of mental health as one would physical health. There are many ways you can show your employees that their mental health is just as important. Some ways you can do this include:
- Incorporate brain breaks in the day. If an employee needs to take a 5-minute break to breathe and get away from the desk, don’t make them feel like they’re just messing around on company time.
- Establish and promote a solid Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that includes mental health counseling, financial counseling, addiction counseling, and other services that will help them with the stress they are bringing into the workplace.
Burnout is a serious issue that can have a significant impact on employees and the overall health of a company. To help employees avoid burnout, it's essential to provide them with the resources and support they need to maintain a healthy work-life balance, feel fulfilled in their work, and stay motivated. By taking these steps, you can help employees avoid burnout and maintain a high level of performance, which is good for everyone involved.