Learn how to manage employee burnout, and see why it may be the next challenge that companies face once the pandemic is over.
The pandemic has been difficult for everyone in some way. Though we’ve heard some positive side effects—like more time with family and less commuting—that’s only one part of the story. The other part of the story includes a hurdle organizations try to avoid—how to manage employee burnout.
Employees have reported feeling burnout for many reasons. Some are frustrated with increasing job demands and lack of adequate resources, but haven’t felt safe to leave due to employment uncertainty during a pandemic. Others are concerned about work life balance since working from home means you aren’t ever able to leave the office. And some employees have just struggled balancing family, work, health concerns, and caring for older loved ones.
As we move toward the end of the pandemic, organizations have to start asking themselves how to manage employee burnout. How can they focus on the mental health of their employees, promote positive remote cultures, and make sure that work life balance is maintained for remote and hybrid workers?
First, companies have to understand burnout
Burnout is going to look different for every employee that experiences it, and some workers may not experience it all. Overall outlook about work will contribute, but burnout is generally related to two things: job resources and job demands. Here’s how the two break down.
- Job resources: This relates to internal and external motivation, things like performance feedback, recognition, growth opportunities, career clarity, manager support, and more.
- Job demands: This relates to ambiguity, work pressure, difficult physical environments, role conflicts, role overload, and job insecurity.
If employees have high job demand and low resources, they’re likely to experience burnout. As we move toward the end of the pandemic, the concern for companies will be that employees who have had built up burnout will flee for a new job as soon as they see a good opportunity. These burned out employees might not have been willing to leave their job during a pandemic, but as the economy opens up and hiring booms, burned out employees will see their moment.
You’ll need to use targeted surveying to identify how to manage employee burnout in your company. There are different survey types available—and Workify can help find what’s best for you—but our employee burnout pulse survey template is a good place to start. It’ll help you discover how employees are feeling, what difficulties they’re experiencing, and what they’re lacking in their job.
Find ways to eliminate stressors
Once you start hearing feedback from workers and identify causes of employee burnout related to job demands, eliminate them, and don’t think twice. The last thing you want is to lose quality talent—and to have to spend the money training new workers—because you weren’t willing to make changes to improve employee retention. Here are two examples of job demand stressors and practical ways to help employees.
One work pressure employees have reported during the pandemic is Zoom fatigue. Researchers have explored various causes, but the bottomline is that it’s difficult for workers to watch themselves on camera and stay attentive for long stretches throughout the day. Various organizations have also taken to having excessive meetings during the pandemic, often in an attempt to make sure workers are productive and keep them engaged. Zoom fatigue can start to be eliminated by hosting off camera meetings, or encouraging workers to go on walks during calls that don’t require any screen shares.
While being able to work from anywhere is one of the advantages of the remote workplace, many workers have identified it as role overload because the office never leaves them and they’re always “on.” This has happened because the pandemic has started to blur the lines between work and home, causing an extra sense of work pressure. To solve for this, companies and managers can start encouraging hard sign-off times, and telling their workers that they need to log off for lunch and other breaks throughout the day.
Give your employees the resources they need
In order to minimize the possibility of employee burnout and eliminate additional causes, companies have to make sure workers are equipped with the job resources that they need. This includes remembering to focus on performance feedback and recognition. The digital workplace may be lacking in water coolers, but interpersonal needs have stayed the same.
By staying connected to their leaders, workers will feel a better sense of job clarity and purpose. This sort of connection can also foster conversations about growth opportunities and career possibilities. Maintaining hopefulness and a positive sense of the future is necessary to keep burnout at bay.
The other plus side of feedback, praise, and recognition is that it’s contagious. Once you start to build a workplace that encourages shouting out a good job, employees will do this unprompted. To get the results faster, you could even set your company up with a recognition program. Remember, workers are only human. Social support from coworkers goes a long way toward maintaining employee focus and happiness in the workplace.
We’ll help you learn how to manage employee burnout
Are you ready to start learning how to manage employee burnout? We’ll help you get started, including utilizing the right surveys to find out how your employees are feeling. Just reach out to us for questions or help with your company’s strategy.
Need help building an employee engagement or feedback program? Want a third party view on where you should focus. Book a free 30 minute employee engagement consultation to discuss any questions you’re grappling with or to help with your company’s strategy.