As the pandemic continues to torment the world, every industry and employee struggles with its aftermaths. Although they live in continuous fear for their lives, people still have to show up and work, even if that means joining Zoom meetings while wearing pajama. As a result, burnout among many workforces has skyrocketed.
There is nothing regular about the reality we live in today. Our personal and professional lives are in the throes of COVID-19, and the future still seems uncertain. Yet, people have to juggle their worries, agony, and confusion with health measures and work responsibilities.
Shift to remote work is one of the principal changes in the workplace as a consequence of social distancing. Teleworking is a part of the alarming post-pandemic limbo where lay-offs and hiring freezes reside and plague employees. No matter if they’re essential workers or not, hires have to be productive, efficient, and engaged while managing their stress levels and uncertainty.
Although 98 percent of workers want to have the option of remote work at least some of the week, adjusting to the new virtual office and proving dedication is challenging. It is why, according to a recent survey, a new phenomenon called presenteeism is emerging. The results have shown that four in five HR managers believe that telework is causing a feeling of having to be online and available more than ever.
Unsurprisingly, the altered workplace is arousing high levels of burnout among employees. Gallup’s research shows an increase in burnout rate from 2016 to 2019, which is even more startling with remote workers. Those working from home all the time are experiencing 29 percent higher levels of burnout compared to the pre-COVID-19 era. Overall, burnout has reached a new high due to stress, anxiety, and loss of meaning.
Hence, one can’t overemphasize how crucial it is to detect and help employees who are overwhelmed, overworked, and burnout.
HOW EMPLOYERS CAN RECOGNIZE SIGNS OF BURNOUT AND SUPPORT THEIR HIRES
Employers and managers often fail to take burnout seriously or implement effective strategies to mitigate it. Despite 64 percent of workers being under constant stress at their job, 70 percent believe that their employers don’t do much to prevent or minimize it.
Management must realize that burnout is critical both for the company and their hires. Indeed, burnout negatively affects employees’ personal lives, but it also costs the global economy over one trillion dollars per year.
Employee burnout is more than having a bad day at work, and it grows over time, turning into a chronic condition that triggers physical, emotional, and mental pain. Thus, if it escalates, it can result in one hating their job, absenteeism, or depression.
Yet, workers who have supportive managers and enough time to complete all their assignments are 70 percent less likely to experience burnout. Support starts with recognizing signs of overstressed employees, reaching out, and alleviating their struggle.
These are some of the burnout’s signs.
- Moodiness, irritability, anxiety
- Loss of interest, motivation, and efficiency
- Inability to complete obligations
- Visible fatigue, tiredness, and exhaustion
- Avoidance, cynicism towards coworkers, and low morale
- Too many breaks or days-off
It is not enough to detect it because this condition demands a systemic approach and programs that focus on identifying, alleviating, and preventing burnout.
3 STRATEGIES TO REDUCE EMPLOYEE BURNOUT
1. ENSURE THAT WORKERS HAVE WORK-LIFE BALANCE
Every human needs to feel physically well to be well-performing at work, which means getting enough sleep and having enough time for relaxation. One frequent fallacy employers make is that work-life balance is solely employees’ responsibility. But if workers have an overwhelming work schedule, they will usually sacrifice their personal lives or health to achieve everything.
For instance, a French financial company’s study has shown that 97 percent of burnout employees also report non-restorative sleep, while 16 percent suffered from insomnia. The results point to lack of sleep as one of the principal agents of burnout. That’s a clear sign that burnout can ruin not only one’s career but also health.
Companies have the responsibility to provide their employees with a healthy (remote) work environment, reasonable working hours, and obligations. That requires high-quality evaluation of task delegation and making sure that no one works more than they should. When activities are well-proportioned, that also helps employees to disconnect once the work finishes.
2. NURTURE CONNECTION AND EMPATHY
Happiness expert, Jennifer Moss, pinpoints empathy as the best weapon against burnout. According to her research, empathetic leadership means removing your own needs, bias, and privilege, actively listening to hires, and taking action. Moss finds that form of management to prevent burnout and work-related stress.
Products and revenues are the most significant value of a company. It’s the people, those who make one organization and help the development of a healthy bottom line. Leaders need to keep that in mind when creating policies and managing a workplace. That ensures that employees are treated fairly, without having to struggle with an overwhelming workload and impossible expectations.
Besides, managers should work on developing workplace connections and a sense of belonging. The goal is to create and nurture positive relationships and culture in the company with clear goals and an empathetic environment.
3. EMPHASIZE ON WELLNESS PROGRAMS
Well-being and wellness programs have never been as essential as in the era of facing a widespread virus. They are a tool to boost engagement, employee health, and also to prevent burnout.
No matter if a company has wellness policies in place or not, it’s crucial to either introduce them or re-evaluate and adjust them to minimizing work stress. There are great ways to make these programs useful and not only as another obligation. For instance, yoga, meditation, and fitness workshops are excellent for disconnecting from work and resetting.
Companies can also leverage technologies and turn to well-being and tracking apps or surveys to help their employees maintain work-life balance and also to collect insights on how to improve their programs.
Make it a point to check on your employees. Working from home has its own challenges, employees need a resource to help guide them through these times if they are facing any of these challenges.