Employee burnout is a rapidly growing issue in today’s business world. The World Health Organization, considers employee burnout an “occupational phenomenon” but not an actual disease. WHO stated that there are three main components to burnout being, (1) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, (2) increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, and (3) reduced professional efficacy. Although burnout is not considered an illness worthy of medical treatment, it’s still important for organizations to watch carefully for signs of burnout and help employees overcome its symptoms if and when it occurs.
Many companies are struggling to help employees bounce back from the effects of burnout once affected by it. However, there are effective strategies recommended by multiple wellness experts to reverse its effects and even prevent it before it starts.
1. Work-Life Wellbeing
We’ve all heard the term “work-life balance” and learned the importance of letting employees clock out mentally and physically so they can decompress. It is an incredibly important aspect of a healthy workplace but here we are talking about work-life wellbeing. Similar in many ways but different in its approach to specifically focus on what employees are actually achieving in their work lives. Even if offered the luxury of work-life balance an employee may still feel stressed and anxious outside of work because they are not completely happy or successful in their role at work.
Although this could be a result of languishing toward their company or role overall, it’s typically caused by a toxic work environment or culture that sticks with employees even after they clock out. Therefore companies should work to not only provide employees with a healthy work-life balance but healthy work-life well-being as well. Consider accomplishing this by:
- Providing employees with positive feedback as well as constructive feedback
- Encouraging mental and physical health practices in the office
- Taking employee comments, concerns, and feedback into consideration in a proactive manner
Worklife wellbeing is essentially a positive sense of self and life, driven by health, environment, purpose, relationships, and community within an office environment.
2. Get Serious About Mental and Physical Health
More and more we see mental and physical health issues arising in office settings. Oftentimes, these health issues are overlooked in the office and written off as something employees should address outside of the office. However, employee overall health is just as important to the employee as it is to the employer because it can affect their wellbeing and, therefore, their productivity.
It is important to note that employees downplay their health issues because they are afraid they will receive negative consequences and lose their responsibility or job based on their performance.
There are several ways to keep employee health top of mind without being intrusive:
- Make sure employees are taking frequent breaks from their screens. Overuse of digital screens, such as computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, can cause employees to be overly sedentary throughout the day. With everything they need to finish a report or presentation at the tips of their fingers, employees often forget to get up and leave their desks for hours on end. Remaining sedentary too consistently can lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more. Encourage employees to stand up, stretch, and go for regular walks.
- Encourage eye doctor’s visits even if they require PTO. Many employees feel as if they can’t make their annual appointments as they are often scheduled during work hours. If employees are wearing the wrong prescription lenses as a result of missing their last eye appointment they will begin to feel the effects of eye strain, which can cause blurry vision, eye pain, and headaches. This is more common among employees today because overuse of screens can cause eye strain, therefore, the combination of bad prescription lenses and heavy screen use can make employees feel fatigued and pixelated. Optometrists recommend updating prescription lenses at minimum every two years. Knowing this, employees should feel empowered to take the time away from work to make these changes. Nowadays, online prescription contacts can be acquired within minutes, so a 30 minute eye exam is really no time loss to a company at all. Companies that keep the health of their teams at the forefront of their mission tend to have better employee retention overall.
- Learn how to spot mental health issues. While companies can’t expect managers to read minds, they can learn to spot mental health signs and symptoms. Managers should be trained on what to look for in employees who might require some help.
3. Provide Rewards That Work Against Burnout
There are multiple reasons to offer rewards. Oftentimes rewards encourage and drive employees to work harder and achieve more. However, that can quickly become a quick driver of burnout, and once employees are burnt out, a reward will no longer motivate them as it did before.
Creating a weekly lottery, where all employees are eligible to win a reward based on their involvement in the company, rather than their success can build positivity. Rewards can simply include gift cards, a few extra paid vacation hours, a half-day, or break room snacks of their choice, whatever it may be, letting employees know they are valued goes a very long way.
Performance-based rewards have their place, but if all rewards are performance-based, you can send employees down a path towards burnout.
As we move further into the digital age, it can be easy for employees to become burnt out without realizing it. Finding simple ways to motivate employees daily can make all the difference.