Working remotely has hit the forefront of our lives over the past year, and apart from a few in essential roles, nearly all of us has worked from home more than we ever thought we would.
While for some, perhaps those with larger houses, or ones who prefer solo working, working from home has been fine, those with families or in smaller spaces have really struggled. Bringing your work life into your home with little choice is a hard one to stomach.
As an employer, you’ll suddenly have no office space for your team and in a time that required home schooling and working during a global pandemic, burnout became a lot more of a prevalent topic.
Some companies tried to find ways to ensure their employees were just as productive as they would be in an office environment, but what everyone should have been focused on was employee support and wellbeing.
Here’s five ways you can help avoid employee burnout.
Set Up Company Off-Time
By creating ‘off-time’ or a blackout, whatever you want to call it, remotely forcing a switch off, or a company wide do not disturb after a certain time ensures that people won’t get notifications when they’re not supposed to be working.
This sets healthy boundaries in place and removes the expectation of working unusual hours. Some employees may have a great idea at 10pm, but that doesn’t mean everyone else needs to hear it at that time. There’s not many industries where something is so urgent it has to be done at that exact moment, it can always wait until the next working day.
Make Some Calls Voice Only
Where applicable, set some calls to be voice only, or on a mobile phone. ‘Zoom fatigue’ is real, as one Stanford study investigated, and the results encouraged making some audio only. This gives the person the chance to walk around and gives them the freedom to take the call flexibly.
It also allows employees to relax when speaking to you or clients, and means they don’t have to stress about stray children or pets walking behind them and into view. For working mums, they don’t have to worry about looking presentable as balancing home-schooling and working is nigh on impossible without some interruptions.
Allow for Flexible Working Hours
Alongside company wide blackouts at unreasonable hours, allow people to clock in and out whenever. As long they’re on time for client meetings or internal calls, does it really matter what time they’re online? Some may choose to start early in the morning during breakfast, others once online school has started.
Some companies may choose a staggered workday start, others completely flexible. Using a time tracking tool can be really helpful here, not for micromanaging, but to ensure that any work that clients pay for by the hour or day, is getting billed correctly. Clockify, Asana and similar all have good free plans.
Create a Company Policy for Mental Health Days, As Well As Sick Days
According to research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), anxiety and depressive disorders cost more than a trillion dollars globally in lost productivity each year.
Having a company policy of mental health days will help your employees to feel like they can take a day, or half a day off, to look after their mental wellbeing. Why not take one yourself, and set an example, as well as showing there’s no repercussions.
These could be used to simply rest, binge some Netflix, enjoy a daytime walk or get on with some life admin that had all become too much. For working mums, it could be as simple as having time to help their child on a project, or spend some much needed bonding time together.
Don’t Enforce Out of Work Hour Do’s
Chances are, after a day on conference call after conference call, people don’t want to sit on another one for fun. If you’ve got young children, childcare isn’t an option in lockdowns.
Once online school is over, there’s no respite and enforcing a work do out of hours just puts parents in an awkward position. If it’s near dinner time, or bedtime, the chances of them being able to attend, especially as a single parent, is very slim. If it involves alcohol, it’s once again isolating and can create feelings of resentment towards you. It also forces people to be online and alert, when all they want to do is switch off.
About the Author
Steven Cox, Chief Evangelist at IRIS FMP, a leading global international payroll provider to SME organisations.