Shift Your Tradition or Threat Worker Burn Out

November 17, 2020 6 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.

This article was written by Alex Fluegel, a member of Entrepreneur NEXT supported by the Assemble Content Team. Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble is a freelance matching platform leading the future of work. If you’re struggling to find, review, and hire the right freelancers for your business, Entrepreneur NEXT can help you hire the freelancers you need, exactly when you need them. From business to marketing, sales, design, finance to technology, we have the top 3 percent of freelance professionals ready to work for you.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the way companies do business, recent reports show that employee burnout is on the rise. In a survey of US workers, more than half said they were feeling the symptoms of burnout, and when you consider the main causes of the condition – work-life balance, isolation, unmanageable workload – the increase is not surprising.

And it comes at a high cost. One survey found that “95 percent of hiring managers admit that burnout sabotages employee retention in employees,” and another survey reported that workplace stress causes between $ 125 and 190 billion in additional health expenditure annually. And that was before the pandemic.

It is important that companies adapt to the unique needs of a workforce facing the challenges of Covid-19 and create cultures that value the entire individual, not just the sum of their efforts. Here are ways to make culture changes that will keep your employees engaged.

Sustainable workload.

Workload is often one of the main reasons employees feel burned out. Despite some reports showing that productivity increased as teams moved to a completely remote job, executives should not consider this a clear call to increase the workload. For many, it has been a way to jump into work to deal with the huge unknowns that characterized this year, and productivity may simply drop because they have been shooting so hot for so long.

It’s also important to consider competing challenges that employees may face, such as: B. Childcare or Zoom Fatigue, and assign tasks and workload complexity based on your assessment and the skills of each employee.

Performance expectations.

High stresses due to performance expectations can often be resolved by analyzing your teams in the current context. The abrupt move to virtual teamwork has put a heavy strain on individuals and the pressure on teams will continue as companies focus on how, if and when to get employees back into the office.

Evaluate the composition and status of your company’s teams, taking into account tasks and people. Are their goals still relevant and are their schedules appropriate? Are you spreading certain people too thin by putting them on unnecessary teams? Or are there teams that need more resources to work more effectively? Taking a curious approach to performance can help organizations better identify problems and ease pressure to perform.

When you give employees clear priorities, you can focus on the essentials and balance their responsibilities. Make sure your teams have a solid understanding of the goals or deadlines they are expected to achieve, and feel empowered to weigh those expectations.

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Work-life balance.

With the lines blurring between work and home, maintaining a culture that prioritizes rest is vital. Tranquility goes hand in hand with innovation, creativity and results. However, the pandemic has made traditional travel challenging, if not impossible. Most employees work with no vacation time in sight, forgetting that they can still use their paid time off even when there is nowhere to go. Remind them the importance of taking a break.

It is also important that you adjust your idea of ​​what a work day is all about. For some, traditional work hours may still fit into a home-work landscape, while for others, a less traditional schedule can do wonders for their wellbeing. Create ways for your teams to think about when they’re working best and customize their workflow. Are they most inspired in the evenings after the kids are in bed? Do you need a few hours between meetings to give yourself time to recharge? Be open to new schedules and structures and set a good example.

In addition, because of the increasing reliance on virtual communication and home offices, it is more difficult for many to unplug and turn off work. Ask the staff how the calm in this new landscape looks like for them. Does it have a day without meetings? Blocking times for phone calls? These small steps can be critical to making sure your teams have the time and space they need to recharge.

Communication, feedback and support.

Creating a culture of trust, transparency and openness is critical to alleviating the stress of today’s workforce. This year was full of uncertainties. So, being open with your teams about the organization’s return plans, structure, or projections can give them a sense of control when it comes to childcare planning, personal financial decisions, and how you prioritize their tasks. With clear, regular updates from executives, organizations can improve morale and engagement, and help their teams feel empowered to make informed decisions for themselves and their families.

The American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence emphasized the importance of communication in preventing burnout and recommended “regular, ongoing opportunities to provide feedback to management.” This allows executives to know when it is time to call back requirements and expand resources, such as: B. Support with childcare and more support for wellness and mental health.

Connection and commitment.

One of the biggest challenges facing companies right now is how to relieve their employees’ feelings of isolation. Feeling disconnected can add stress due to workload and performance. With many companies still far away, leaders need to find new ways to make authentic connections. Virtual coworking is a good place to start, but finding ways to make connections that are not workload related is critical. For some organizations, virtual happy hours, quiz nights, and even karaoke parties have been innovative ways to create a culture of online fun. Slack can also be used for more than just productivity. Start a channel that invites people to share birthdays, post pictures of pets and fun WFH moments, and of course, share memes.

Nothing can happen without organizations first recognizing the circumstances. By deciding not to continue as usual, executives can develop response strategies that can increase employee satisfaction and loyalty and improve performance.

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