01.10.2023 | Employee Welcome Kits, Author: Jori Hamilton, How-to
Workplace burnout is a serious issue for businesses across the nation. Nearly 60% of employees have reported experiencing work-related stress in the past year and a further 36% experienced cognitive weariness due to the work.
But burnout can be prevented. Learning to spot the signs of burnout in employees can help you support your workforce and improve employee engagement.
Spotting the signs of burnout in employees can be tricky. Usually, you only realize employees are burnt out when it’s too late.
Fortunately, there are a few telltale signs of burnout that you can learn to identify. Common indicators include:
As a leader in your business, you should keep tabs on these indicators of burnout. You might, for example, complete a bi-monthly sleep survey as part of your corporate wellness programs. If you notice that some of your employees are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, you can start taking steps to reduce their workloads and prevent burnout.
Quiet quitting is another indicator of burnout at work. Quiet quitting is a recent phenomenon where employees no longer strive to excel at work but stick to their job description, instead. There’s nothing wrong with employees who decide to turn down responsibilities outside of the job description, but quiet quitting en masse may be a sign that your employees are burnt out.
Preventing burnout requires a coordinated approach to employee health and well-being. To achieve this, you need to understand employees' basic needs.
There are plenty of need-based approaches to understanding employee motivation, but Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has stood the test of time in the corporate world. Maslow’s hierarchy suggests that we all have basic physiological and security needs to reach self-actualization.
Survey your employees to discover their basic needs aren’t being met. You may find that employees who are burnt out have compromised their physiological needs to work overtime or fulfill their responsibilities. This is a major issue, as it suggests that your workplace fails to support the health and well-being of your staff.
Using these results, you can create employee health and wellness initiatives that prevent burnout by supporting employees' basic needs.
Surveying employees is particularly important if your employees need ADA accommodations. Some employees feel nervous about asking for ADA accommodations and will avoid raising issues even if they face significant barriers to success at work.
As an employer, give employees the chance to self-advocate and proactively offer solutions like assistive technology, large print materials, and screen reading software.
Investing in mental health resources for employees can help prevent burnout and improve productivity. However, there are plenty of potential resources to choose from, so you need to prioritize those which will make the biggest impact on your staff.
Start small and provide employees with opportunities to start practicing mindfulness during their workday. Even a short 10-minute break can make a lasting impact on your employees’ overall mental health.
Research shows that mindfulness interventions can reduce stress in those who are dealing with chronic conditions like burnout. Just be sure to equip your workforce with mindfulness tools for employees like guided meditation apps and a quiet area to relax in.
Over time, increase your funding for mental health and give each employee a health and wellness stipend that they can use to improve their mental health. Some employees may spend this money on physical wellness programs like gym membership while others may take yoga classes and join groups to support their overall mental well-being.
You can even restructure some of your operations to better support employee mental health. Consider providing mental health accommodations like a modified time schedule for employees who are burnt out and granting time off to those who are weary of work. If you work in a physical office, consider allowing pets into the space as this may help calm the mood and reduce stress at work.
Physical health and mental health are integrally tied. When employees suffer from poor health, they’re more likely to become burnt out. Likewise, burnout makes it difficult for employees to take their health seriously as they are always exhausted after completing their work day.
Use surveys and polls to assess employee health and wellness. This will help decide how to begin a health and wellness initiative at work. For example, if employees report that they don’t have time to improve their health, you might begin to trial-run flexible working schedules and free gym memberships at a local provider.
Taking care of your employees’ physical health can break the burnout cycle and is a great way to say “thank you” for their hard work.
Everyone likes to feel valued at work. As a leader, you can reward hard-working employees and prevent burnout by giving employees gifts and kits that support their overall well-being.
The gifts and kits you offer to employees should be contextually relevant to their work lives. For example, if you’ve recently returned to the office, you can offer wellness kits for employees that contain items like air purifiers, UV wands, and food baskets.
You mustn’t use gifts in a way that furthers burnout. Using gifts as a carrot on a stick will not produce a healthier work environment and will just deepen employees' resentment for their work.
An effective Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is key to spotting and preventing burnout in the workplace. An EAP is a work-based intervention program that helps employees overcome challenges they may face outside of work. Outside stressors and challenges can compound workplace burnout and make it much harder for employees to get out of a rut.
For example, if an employee needs to take care of an elderly family member, a corporate EAP may be able to assist them with finding and funding care. This means they’ll have more time and energy to relax in their free time and may help prevent burnout in the workplace.
Burnout is an issue for employees and businesses across the nation. As a business leader, you can learn to spot and prevent employee burnout. Start by surveying your current staff and note down any early signs of tiredness or fatigue. Offer health and wellness programs in addition to your employee assistance program as this will ensure employees get the help they need.
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