Burnout related to workplace stress is a psychological process that employees go through as a result of job-related and personal experiences. Workers who suffer from burnout often have a feeling of being emotionally exhausted from their jobs. As a way of coping, the person may depersonalize relationships with their co-workers and become cynical and uncooperative in the workplace. Additionally, too much stress can take a negative toll on workers’ health and wellness, according to the American Psychological Association.
At the beginning of the year, many companies implement changes, and employees work harder than normal to start off on a good foundation. Extra hours and new business initiatives can energize some employees, but for others, it can be exhausting and stressful. If you have developed an employee wellness program, you already know some ways to combat stress and exhaustion. In addition, consider some of the following methods to prevent burnout:
Proactive Communication: Regular updates concerning the company, business goals and future development plans will keep your employees engaged and motivated to excel in their jobs.
Recognition: Employees who work the same job day in and day out can feel unappreciated and forgotten. Regular recognition of job performance and commitment can help alleviate feelings of boredom and can renew interest in company business goals.
Team building: Burnout can be accompanied with withdrawal behaviors where your employees avoid social interaction and have attendance problems. Emphasizing teamwork and developing team-building activities will renew relationships between employees and remind them of the need to work together toward a common goal.
Increased participation in decision-making: Many times, there is a sense among employees that the company policies and procedures are created by managers who are not in touch with the reality of the workplace. Listen to employee concerns, and allow them to be a part of the decision-making process to create an atmosphere where the workforce feels valued.
Transparent job requirements: Each job in your company should have clearly defined requirements and responsibilities. Each requirement should be measurable and reasonable, and you should keep an eye on employee workloads to ensure that they aren’t overburdened.
Rotation of responsibilities: Take a look at job responsibilities to see if any changes can be made to break up monotony in worker’s jobs. There may be some duties, such as meeting planning, that could be shared on a rotational basis to keep employees engaged.
Time off: While it is important to meet business goals, it is also important that your employees rest and have time away from the responsibilities of their jobs. Monitor time-off requests to make sure that employees are not working for long stretches without time away.
Flexible schedules: There are times when a traditional 9-to-5 work schedule may contribute to burnout. Depending on your business needs, you may be able to allow workers to vary their hours to bring some variety to their days.
It is important to understand that any strategy for intervention should be appropriate for your workforce. Your company has unique needs and variables, so be prudent in addressing the problem of burnout. By mitigating workplace stress, you can keep your employees happy and avoid lost productivity from illness and burnout.
Mary Parsons is retired from a 30-year career in the insurance industry. She worked in the claims department of a major insurance carrier as a claims adjuster, manager and a member of a catastrophe team. Since her retirement, she has developed a career as a freelance writer. As an insurance professional, she has been a contributor to several insurance websites.