If you take the time to look, you can tell when employees are burnt out by the looks on their faces and the way they carry themselves. They show signs of exhaustion and have trouble performing at their optimal levels, having lost some of that sparky enthusiasm they had as new hires.
Burnout has a massive negative impact on employees’ well-being, but it also hurts organizations’ productivity and ultimately leads to expensive turnover. But, fortunately, the American office is beginning to shift as more companies realize that their best people need to be given time and space to care for themselves.
As the job market is beginning to fill up with millennials and Gen Z workers, generations that have grown up with the idea that mental health is something to be taken seriously, employers who want any chance of attracting and retaining talent must adapt for those needs.
How can you help prevent employee burnout? Try these tips.
Just as you would take steps to prevent your kids from missing out on vital rest, you must do the same for your staff members. Of course, you can’t check up on them at home and force them to go to bed, but you can set them up for success and encourage them to get the sleep they need to perform well, so they can come to work refreshed and alert.
One of the most important steps to take is to ensure that no work-related communications interfere with employees’ sleep. Even though our constant connectivity technically allows people to do work at 11 PM after a long day in the office, that doesn’t mean they should. It’s important to create a culture with boundaries that allow people to unplug at the end of the day and get some sleep.
Share tools with employees to help them compartmentalize their work and personal lives. Encourage employees to turn off notifications after work hours and stress to them that the office culture supports that.
You might also consider being more flexible with scheduling. Not everyone functions optimally on the same sleep schedule! Allowing people to come to work when they’re at their best can really make life happier for everyone while potentially boosting performance.
Obviously, it’s important for people to fulfill their work duties. But do they really need to be at the office by 8:30 AM to do so? Remember: you don’t have to go as far as creating nap rooms to help promote restfulness! Simple, mindful steps will do the trick for way cheaper.
When It’s Time to Give Rest to the Weary
It may be counterintuitive to get people to work harder by sending them home for a day or week, but as most HR professionals know, vacations and personal days are essential for employees’ well-being, attitude, and work ethic. Sometimes, you just have to give some rest to the weary and realize when it’s time to take a step back to prevent burnout.
Allowing and even encouraging people to take personal or mental health days during busy times can have an enormous positive impact on their mood and ability to focus. So can encouraging employees to take advantage of the vacation they’re entitled to. During the summer months and around the holidays are great opportunities for longer vacations that help to refresh employees’ mental wellness and enthusiasm.
It’s important to lay a distinction to employees between sick days and mental health days, as they are not the same and offer employees different benefits. A mental health day is for mental rest and relaxation and can be spent in a lot of different ways. A traditional sick day is for physical illnesses. Some companies go a step further by offering specific mental health days.
On a smaller scale, you can create mini-breaks at the office. Organize some in-office activities that get people away from their desks and having a little fun. Busting stress as much as you can will help prevent burnout among your employees and build goodwill in the office.
Nurture a Corporate Culture of Wellness
The truth is that 69 percent of American workers don’t feel that the organizations they work for do enough to address stress and burnout. Clearly, most companies either don’t value a culture of wellness or simply don’t understand how powerful it can be in helping employees to stay happy and healthy.
Stress reduction programs can help you move toward a supportive environment in the office that promotes wellness and health. While some programs do involve a significant investment, like subsidizing gym memberships (or even adding a gym on-site!) or employees’ sessions with a mental health professional, others are much easier to implement.
Simple gestures like offering a yoga class a couple of times a week, creating an office fitness challenge, or providing mental health days to all employees can make a difference. Not sure what will be the most helpful for your team? Ask them for their feedback!
Think Long-Term When It Comes to Employee Wellness
If you really want to reduce employee burnout, it’s important to realize that change doesn’t happen overnight. Cultures are built slowly. But by focusing your efforts on wellness, stress reduction, and recognition, you can help your employees take control and feel calmer and more focused at work.