Burnout can silent stunt growth, stifle innovation and poison a workplace environment. Before it becomes a problem, employers can help prevent and mitigate the effects of overworked employees. Here are strategies for effectively combating burnout.
Recognize the warning signs
Burnout can manifest itself in a number of ways, including decreased satisfaction and commitment, lower productivity, increased personal conflicts, and a desire to disengage and disconnect. Employees may feel like they can’t admit they are burned out because it feels like a personal shortcoming or shows a lack of commitment. To get around this issue, astute managers will pay attention to changes in employees’ attitudes which may indicate a deeper issue of burnout.
Often, the treatment for burnout can be simple and puts control in the hands of employees. Globally, 40% of people say schedule flexibility — especially flexible start and finish times and the ability to work from home — is one of the top three factors when making career decisions, according to ManpowerGroup research. Offering flexibility ensures that when stressful situations hit, employees can bend and not break.
Encourage regular vacation time on regular intervals
The human body and mind needs downtime and regular rest periods. Employees who push themselves for long periods of time and then cram all their time into one vacation – or worse, don’t take their full allotted time off – aren’t receiving optimal recovery. Instead, encourage employees whenever possible to spread out their vacations throughout the year. The rhythms of hard work and rest need to balance over time.
Take something off their plate
High performers are high performers for a reason – they take on a lot, and accomplish a lot. But eventually, even the most productive person can reach a breaking point. Recognize any early signs of stress, and relieve your busiest workers of certain roles or duties that can be reassigned. Everyone has a finite amount of hours in the day, and productivity without burnout requires strategic cutting back on the activities that consume energy.
In the best case scenario, employee burnout can be addressed. But this is not an issue that can ever be permanently cured. Burnout can always come back under different circumstances. Managers will do well to observe over time to ensure that employees receive the help they need – both now and in the future.