Are your employees exhausted, irritable, or making constant mistakes at work? If so, they may be experiencing burnout. Burnout should be a concern for all employers, especially now that many employees are working from home and the lines between our work and personal lives have become blurred. According to the Mayo Clinic, burnout is “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” The implications of burnout can be serious for both your employees and your organization, so I urge you to monitor for it closely.
In order to have a happy and healthy workforce, I’ve outlined some recommendations for preventing employee burnout now and beyond the pandemic.
For employees working from home, they may be experiencing difficulty setting boundaries between their work and personal lives. Many employees who have children are playing double duty right now as employee and parent while they care for their children during virtual learning. For this reason, encourage your employees to dedicate a space in their household solely dedicated to where they can work. More importantly, I recommend speaking with them about their workload to see if it’s still manageable, and if not, consider redistributing the work amongst your employees who can manage more work at the moment.
Employees working on-site may also experience burnout, too, especially if you work in an essential industry. If this is the case, consider increasing your staffing levels by hiring temporary or contract workers rather than relying on your current employees to work overtime hours. If you consistently offer overtime hours, it’s likely that your employees may keep saying “yes” because of the money and not immediately think about their health first.
Practicing self-care is beneficial in any situation, but especially when it comes to preventing burnout. While you can’t actively monitor whether your employees are taking care of themselves, you can provide them with tools and resources to do so. I suggest hosting workshops on healthy eating, yoga or mindfulness. Even better than guessing what they could benefit from, engage with your employees to see what support they need or would value. In order to get the most accurate response, you may consider sending a survey that allows them to anonymously respond in case they don’t feel comfortable sharing their ideas to management. Either way, providing them with tools and resources is a step in the right direction!
Provide reasonable accommodations
Our employees have done a lot for us, especially throughout this pandemic. If you haven’t been doing so already, now is the time to truly show them how valued they are. While you may not be able to provide unlimited sick days or vacation, you may want to consider giving them additional personal days to rest and relax. Additionally, as we enter the summer months, you may want to offer summer hours, such as Friday afternoons off. Again, speak to your employees to see what they would value the most, and try your very best to implement it if you can. Employees are the heart and soul of our organizations and without them we would not be successful.
For additional support, refer your employees to their Employee Assistance Program (EAP). It’s available to them 24/7 and provides access to a variety of beneficial services, including mental health counselling, legal, financial and nutrition services, and much more!