Earlier this month, we introduced ‘employee burnout’ with a blog on restoring work-life balance. However, while writing, we thought about the unique role HR has in protecting employees from burnout. So, we thought we’d share some tips on how to prevent employee burnout.
Measure Employee Burnout
The World Health Organization has classified burnout as a diagnosable disease. Like any disease, measurable symptoms arise. The National Academy of Medicine has an assortment of ways you can help your employees measure their own burnout. Consider asking your employees questions like:
- How often do you spend feeling excessively stressed?
- Would you describe your workload as reasonable?
- How often do you work overtime?
Questions, as such, give you quantifiable data that helps you better evaluate your employees and their workplace health.
Set Reasonable Expectations
When an employee overworks, we might admire that behavior as dedication. However, it’s important to note that excessive overworking can lead to burnout. To prevent this, you should work with employees to set clear and reasonable expectations.
Gallup research shows, when setting expectations, it’s important to keep job expectations and evaluations focused on an employee’s performance versus outside factors. According to Gallup, employees are 55% less likely to experience burnout on a frequent basis when their performance metrics are within their control. Your employees want to succeed; inspire them by setting performance metrics set to their capabilities.
Support Your Managers
Managers play a huge role in employees’ desire to work. So, it’s important for your managers to be on the same page as you when supporting your employees and preventing burnout. Work with your managers on setting the aforementioned expectations, and help them understand how they can guide employees to obtain these goals, without adding additional pressure. Also, encourage your managers to speak up if they feel like their team is being overworked.
Create a Positive Environment
A workplace’s physical environment will help your employees’ mental health. First, try to keep your work environment free of distractions. Aim for a space that’s collaborative but not busy. Provide a quiet area where employees can take important calls or, simply, focus in a new environment.
You can also provide stress-free outlets for employees. Break rooms are considered “playgrounds for adults” for a reason! Provide healthy snacks, caffeine, and some games or activities– anyone else want to play some ping pong?!
Encourage Employee Breaks
According to Business News Daily, encouraging workers to use vacation time ultimately pays off. More than half of employees say they feel more relaxed after taking vacation time, and 83% say they feel more productive. Yet, 68% of Americans didn’t use all of their vacation time in 2018. Employees feel too stressed to take time off, and this hurts both the employee and the company long-term. Encourage breaks for your employees.
Also, encourage employees to take breaks during the day; it’s much better to let employees take a 15-minute break than having them zone out on their computer screen. You can even go the extra mile by teaching wellness activities, like stretching, quick meditation, and desk workouts, to encourage your employees to take healthy breaks.
Or, here’s another (often-overlooked) break type: celebrations. When employees celebrate together, they not only get a mental break, but they establish bonds with one another as they celebrate each others’ accomplishments. Plus, who doesn’t love a good office party?!
No matter how much initiative you take to prevent burnouts, your employees are still bound to occasionally feel stressed. When this happens, encourage your employees to reach out and embrace vulnerability by sharing their burnout concerns.
Burnout is as relevant as ever, but you can protect your employees and their well-being by initiating the first steps. FirstVoice is a third-party app that gives employees a safe space to report topics of concern, including burnout.