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Employee burnout is a problem in stable environments let alone the current turbulent times. It is far more important to take care of the employees than it has been in the past. The employees that burn out faster are usually the ones who are too invested in their work and are high-performers. Therefore, it becomes even more important to retain these employees rather than preparing for new recruits which cost much higher.
I have been working in the corporate world for close to two decades and I can vouch for the employee burnout concept. There are a lot of factors that can help you determine if you as a business owner, manager or HR needs in order to reduce employee burnouts such as what’s the general philosophy of your firm? What is the kind of behavior that is promoted at the workplace? Are there enough resources and are they available to everyone? Is the culture of your workplace an open one? Do you have an easy onboarding process?
12 Ways To Reduce Employee Burnout and Increase Productivity
While you answer those questions, somewhere in the fine lines of the records you will be able to read the real reason behind why employees get overworked at your workplace. Here are some ways to reduce employee burnout:
1. It is a 9-5 on paper and 9-10 in reality:
Yes, we all know that is a thing with workplaces, don’t we? You have to introduce proper working hours in your organization if you want to prevent employee burnout. There are people who can work longer hours than others, but let those extra hours not be the basis of performance. Promote a healthy work culture where sitting extra hours in the office doesn’t mean brownie points, it just means inefficiency to complete the given amount of work on time. Promote getting in early and getting our early culture or maybe discuss with your team and see what works best for them. Maybe in the wake of the current situation, they have some special requirements. Please take it through the proper procedure and see if you can help.
2. Make employees feel welcome:
It is very important that you make your employees a priority while taking decisions that might impact them in any manner. Make them feel involved in the company’s decisions and make their opinions valued and heard. For example, In my previous organization, there was a concept of Career Counsellor and the counselee within the organization. This career counselor was someone who was not on the same team as your manager and could still present your case to the manager because their role is similar to your manager’s and so is their position within the organization. This made it very easy for the employees to approach the career counselor even if they couldn’t directly approach their managers about a certain issue.
That’s a brilliant idea, in my opinion, however, it always made me feel like a direct approach works well but you have to create the right environment for it. Make all your employees heard and valued. It works well not just in keeping employees happy but makes them productive too.
3. Play fair and square:
Does the workplace promote untimely promotions without merit? Does the workplace support recognition for small achievements of some employees while ignoring the others? If your workplace promotes such hostile practices, then you know why your well-performing employees are looking for other jobs. It is safe to say that we all love honesty and hard work and if you keep the workplace honest, it is likely to make everyone want to perform to the best of their abilities when they don’t feel cheated and their efforts don’t feel useless to them because someone less qualified got promoted over them!
4. Promote vacation time:
A lot of companies around the world are now promoting unlimited vacation time. Think of a time where the number of holidays you take is not directly proportional to your salary. Now think the same about your employees. Think about how much load it takes off the chest. But well, let’s be real. It is not possible for every company out there to change their policies overnight for newer concepts that are still in testing waters. What can be done is that companies can encourage their employees to take vacation time and utilize it. It is also important that employees are encouraged not to work during their vacation time. It should be an actual time off work for them to enjoy other things in life so that they return to work refreshed. A good night’s sleep can work wonders for us, imagine what a two-week-long vacation can do. Don’t we all function better after a vacation? (Well, keeping our urge to go on another vacation aside!!!)
5. Offer flexible and remote working options:
Companies used to think that remote working wasn’t possible, and now look at them! They have shut offices because they realized they will save on so many expenses that way. Many companies, big and small have adopted the work from home permanently where they have given up their office spaces. It depends on the employee to the employee but you should have the option of letting your employees work remotely if they want. You can organize this process of managing remote work by using FactoHR, BambooHR, and Payroo. Apart from that, you can always honestly give your employee feedback about their productivity if it suffers. But hard-working employees who are ready to put in the work even while being away from the office are hardly shirkers. Therefore, it is important for you to be flexible and allow for remote working options within your organization.
6. Take care of their well-being:
Whether it is that yoga session or getting a general physician and that psychologist or leadership expert on board, you need to take care of your employees. This instills in them a feeling of being cared for and looked after and employees who feel a part of the family, don’t leave the family.
7. Have an open channel of communication:
Is everyone in your organization comfortable talking about their problems and just at water coolers and washrooms breaks in hushed voices but actually, logically put their point forth and get a solution for it? If that doesn’t happen, it is time you make some changes to the workplace and encourage employees to talk and connect more. Because some problems can be solved just by being a part of a good and helpful network that always come forth to solve any issues the team might be facing.
8. Introduce and practice the concept of work-life balance:
A lot of firms talk about work-life balance but only a few practice it. Do your employees work after going home? Do your employees work during their time off on weekends? Well, if you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need to work on inculcating some good work culture within your organization. Employees need to have time off from work for their minds and body to relax and rejuvenate from all the hard work they put in while at work. Here’s a leave management guide, in case you don’t have one in place yet.
Your employees don’t work but you send them emails during weekends which piles on more work for them over the weekdays? Well, then you need some work-life balance in your life too. If you are the manager and you are a good manager, chances are that many of your teammates see you as an inspiration or at least follow your orders without any questions because they have to. It is time for you to lead by example and take time off work. Give yourself the much-needed break or you will burn out before your employees do. When your employees see you being efficient with your work and managing your time perfectly, they will learn it too or maybe you can have short meetings and tell them how they can do their work more efficiently in a lesser amount of time and get themselves the much-needed break from work, each and every day.
9. Is it break time yet?:
How often have I worked in companies where the employees eagerly waited for the lunch hour like it was school! I always wondered why I was supposed to bring my school culture into my work culture? Work is supposed to be done with a peaceful and free mind, not while it is constantly making plans to eat lunch and biding time. Offices should have a culture of break time during the day, nothing that hampers creativity but something that will totally boost productivity if they don’t have the sword hanging over their heads for the break time they take if their work is complete.
10. Have cool-off zones and fun activities in the office:
A lot of offices these days have snooker tables, basketballs, PS zones, table tennis, foosball tables and other board games for employees to take their mind off of work and relax. It is important for you to make sure that employees have enough entertainment available at the workplace to rewind from a stressful situation at the earliest and nothing better than getting some stress buster activities right within the premises. You can have employees come together and make an intro video and have a lot of fun, while you are at it!
11. Consider reshuffling and rescheduling:
Employees burn out faster if they feel that the role they can perform better in a different role on the project than the one they have been assigned. And when that happens, it is important that as a manager, you hear them out and make the necessary changes, if you see their skill set is a better match. It is also a good idea to reshuffle work within the team so that nobody feels that the other person is favored with the most important tasks of the project, in spite of having the same skill set and credibility.
12. Ask for feedback:
You rolled out a new plan? There is a new vacation program? There is a new offshore program? If you are looking at fun activities and you need to generate new slogans for this activity that sticks, here is how to find effective slogans for your initiative. Or simply ask them about what they think about their position in the company and what changes would they like you to make in order to make it more conducive to them? Yes, a little effort from your end will go a long way in preventing employee burnout.
It is important to really take care of your employees if you want to keep them from leaving you and going to the competitor. You should take care to keep some basics in mind to retain the employees you have, especially the top-notch ones who run a higher risk of burning out sooner because they are more invested than others. It is up to you to make sure to find out if that’s happening within your organization and turn it around by not just stopping the employee burnout but making the workforce even more productive. Check out this article with 7 more ways to reduce employee burnout.