You may recognize it as the feeling of despair in the pit of your stomach when you log onto your work calendar to see that another internal project review meeting has been added to the week, as the wave of hopelessness you feel in your chest when you look at your insurmountable to-do list, or maybe even as the sharp headache behind your left eye that won’t seem to go away no matter how many shots of espresso you added to your morning latte. No matter how it manifests in your day, workplace burnout has become an alarming issue in today's fast-paced and demanding professional environment.
89% of workers report having experienced burnout within the past year. The negative consequences of burnout include decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, increased employee turnover, and compromised employee well-being, all of which can severely impact organizational success. Below are actionable strategies for organizations to support their employees and foster a healthier work environment.
Encourage Time Off
Burnout is different from typical work-related stress in that there is no end in sight and it does not simply go away once an important project has been completed or a difficult week has passed. Burnout often creeps up on workers slowly over time, and can result in physical, emotional, and social fatigue that can only be relieved through having adequate time to rest.
It is not enough to offer time off to employees - organizations need to foster a company culture that encourages them to use it. 46% of American workers take less time off than they are offered due to fears that they will fall behind on their job or that they will miss out on career advancement opportunities in the future. Start by making sure you aren’t holding unreasonable workload standards for your team members and remind them to take advantage of their time off.
Promoting work-life balance is important for helping to prevent burnout. Taking time off is an important part of recovering from burnout, but it will only serve as a temporary fix if the underlying causes, such as heavy workloads and lack of autonomy, are not addressed. Consider ways to make your team members’ workdays more flexible, such as Summer Fridays, hybrid work schedules, and walking meetings when possible. Be respectful of your employee’s time and trust them to complete tasks without micromanaging them or expecting them to juggle heavy workloads for extended periods of time.
Be Open to Feedback
The best way to check in with your workforce and take a pulse check of their energy levels is to ask them through anonymous surveys. Listen and act on their feedback and suggestions. If you start noticing a lack of motivation or decreased productivity levels in a team member, have a one-on-one conversation with them asking how you can better set them up for success. If a team member discloses concerns about burnout to you, take them seriously and discuss both long-term and short-term solutions with them.
Invest in Management Training
As an organization, it is crucial to address and mitigate burnout effectively—and workforce training can help organization leaders do this effectively. A good leader will promote productivity while also making sure employees feel appreciated and advocated for. Organizations who invest in management training can promote a healthy work environment that allows open and honest communication in which team members feel encouraged to voice their needs and ideas.
At Front Line Leadership, we provide a 10-module leadership training program that will elevate your current and future leaders to new levels to foster a healthier work environment. For more leadership training and resources, contact Front Line Leadership today.