Employee burnout is experienced across essentially all industries. This is most likely to stem from unfair compensation, working too many hours, or having too many responsibilities. Other contributors include dissatisfaction with management, disengagement with company culture, or a lack of connection with the job position. A recent Gallup study found that two-thirds of full-time workers feel burnout at least some of the time, if not all of the time.
A work-life imbalance can have devastating consequences. Employees are more likely to have trouble sleeping or eating, and to experience other health conditions, like high blood pressure or depression. Employee relationships are also likely to suffer – both at home and in the office – which, more often than not, just add to the amount of stress that an employee is feeling.
The effects of employee burnout are certainly experienced by the company as well. Beyond an increase in the number of sick days and a decrease in overall productivity, it is estimated that burnout is the cause of about half of all employee turnover. This can have a devastating financial impact on a company, resulting in valuable time and resources needed to be spent in the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding process.
And burnout rarely happens in isolation. Burnt out managers or team members bring this negativity into the office, which can quickly spread throughout a group.
What can you do to prevent burnout? A few things have proven to be very effective:
Mandate vacation time.
Less than a quarter of employees take their full number of vacation days. For those who do, over 60% report working during their vacations. This means that they are never truly able to disconnect and may return to the office as though they never left at all. Taking time away from the office is essential for our personal and professional wellbeing. It helps us think more clearly and creatively. Some companies have begun to mandate that employees take their full number of vacation days and have seen turnover decrease as a result.
Make yourself available.
It is important that you know what is causing stress in your employees’ lives. Having open and honest conversations is essential if you are going to help keep morale – and, as a result, productivity – high. For example, you may discover that nearly everyone feels like those Monday morning meetings are a waste of time and that they would rather have an email update and not lose that hour at the beginning of the week. This is something that is relatively easy to address, and which can have a major impact.
Keep a clear mind.
When our mind is running a mile a minute it is easy to become overwhelmed. Over a sustained period of time, this will lead to burnout. Some ways to help keep our mind clear and focused is to avoid multitasking. It can be tempting to try to do a million things at once, as you think of them. Instead, have an ongoing list of to-dos, which you can prioritize and work through one by one. You will be less likely to make errors and more efficient with your time.
Burnout can be devastating and hurts the individual, the team, and the company as a whole. By keeping these recommendations in mind, you can prevent burnout and increase productivity and workplace morale.
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