No matter how stable an organization’s team, environment and profit seem, employee burnout is always a risk. Even before the coronavirus disrupted the workplace, 76% of employees reported feeling burned out on occasion, while 28% reported “near-constant” or “often” levels of burnout.
With abrupt changes to work environments, widespread understaffing and increased stress levels, people are feeling more burned out than ever. In fact, in a post-pandemic world, burnout may, unfortunately, be the new normal.
What Is Employee Burnout?
Employee burnout is a type of exhaustion that employees feel when they are stretched beyond their limits. It affects people physically, emotionally and mentally and can precipitate bouts of depression and anxiety.
It typically occurs after prolonged periods of high stress with little to no reprieve. Other causes include:
Lack of support or communication from supervisors and team leaders.
Unmanageable workloads with unreasonable deadlines.
Unfair or disrespectful treatment from other employees, supervisors or executives.
To be clear, this isn’t something that just affects entry- or mid-level employees, either. Burnout can impact any person at any level of an organization, and it is the company’s responsibility to mitigate the circumstances that perpetuate it.
The Signs of Employee Burnout
Supervisors, executives and even other employees should be constantly vigilant and hyper-aware of the well-being of their team members. There are many signs of employee burnout, including:
Decreased levels of productivity
Signs of physical exhaustion, like chronic yawning, sluggishness and lower energy levels
Increased sensitivity to constructive feedback
Isolation and disengagement from team members
Increased levels of job dissatisfaction, usually vocalized around other team members and supervisors
Work avoidance and increased absenteeism
Every person within an organization should take it upon themselves to reach out, offer solutions or bring it to the immediate attention of a supervisor when they see these issues manifest.
7 Ways to Prevent Employee Burnout and Create a Happy Team
1. Practice Transparency and Open Communication
To combat the inevitable isolation and disengagement that comes with employee burnout, organizations should try to maintain a high level of transparency and open communication. Employees should feel comfortable talking to their supervisors about their needs. Additionally, companies should regularly ask for feedback to ensure they’re actively engaging with their team.
2. Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance
One of the largest contributors to employee burnout is the lack of a work-life balance. When employees feel they spend all their time working and no time with their friends and family, they will begin to resent their employer. Enabling employees to have an active and happy home life is a critical part of preventing employee burnout.
3. Check in With Employees Regularly
In addition to being transparent and openly communicating, team leaders, supervisors and executives should check in with their employees as often as possible. This is the most effective way to allow employees the opportunity to speak up. One way to accomplish this is by instituting monthly or bi-monthly one-on-one or team meetings.
4. Provide Flexible Work Environments
Statistically speaking, roughly 90% of employees say they prefer flexibility regarding when or where they work. Providing flexible work environments is a great way to reduce burnout because it gives people freedom. When given a choice, employees will often go out of their way to prove themselves. Plus, it’s always a good idea to loosen the reins, reduce micro-management and allow employees to thrive on their own.
5. Provide Career Advancement Opportunities
People should never feel stuck or feel like they’re out of options. If organizations want to prevent employee burnout, they should actively provide opportunities for their team members to grow, learn and advance. Upward mobility and recognition are critical parts of employee happiness and well-being.
6. Prioritize Wellness and Well-Being
Employee burnout is a multi-faceted level of exhaustion that requires a multi-dimensional solution. If organizations want to prevent burnout, they must prioritize their employees’ physical, emotional and mental well-being. It’s not enough to ask questions and monitor. If an organization wants to make a positive difference in its people’s lives, it must enact policies and provide benefits catered to their individual needs.
7. Offer Customizable Lifestyle Benefits
The best way to offer benefits that positively impact an employee’s life is to give them options. Fringe’s customizable benefits platform gives organizations the ability to provide personalized lifestyle benefits. This solution eliminates the one-size-fits-all approach and allows employees to choose the benefits that will significantly impact their lives. By catering to individual needs, companies can help combat burnout on an individual level.
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