Helping employees combat burnout

Employer advice, client

When stress and concern are on the rise for today’s workforce, accessible wellbeing support is key.

In March when Covid-19 upended the way millions of UK workers operate, many workplaces went into emergency mode, which required long hours and extreme focus to make necessary shifts for survival. As the pandemic continues, we’re seeing dips in motivation and focus. Organisations need to help reorient toward the long-term and care for their team’s mental wellbeing.

Here are four ways organisations can combat burnout in this new environment:

Be available – in person or virtually

Leadership needs to remain visible and approachable, and that includes heightening virtual availability if necessary. Many online meeting tools like Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business make it easy for an employee to schedule a brief virtual drop in to ask work questions –– or just to chat. Virtual pop-ins and meetings are important for setting the tone for leadership, especially if the workforce is remote.

Recognise the warning signs

Burnout can manifest itself in a number of ways, including decreased satisfaction and commitment, lower productivity, increased personal conflicts, and a desire to disengage and disconnect. Employees may feel like they can’t admit they are burned out because it feels like a personal shortcoming or shows a lack of commitment. To get around this issue, astute managers will pay attention to changes in employees’ attitudes which may indicate a deeper issue of burnout.

Provide coaching for resiliency

Research shows individual coaching increases resilience at work, so managers should check-in frequently for both work goals and personal health. RightCoach is another option that provides virtual, on-demand coaching, with 30- or 60-minute blocks that can address situational coaching needs. Remember that career conversations are essential to development, and that a sense of progress and forward momentum boosts satisfaction, motivation and a sense of resiliency.

Reduce workloads when necessary

High performers are high performers for a reason – they take on a lot and accomplish a lot. But eventually, even the most productive person can reach a breaking point. Recognise any early signs of stress and relieve your busiest workers of certain roles or duties that can be reassigned. Everyone has a finite number of hours in the day, and productivity without burnout requires strategic cutting back on the activities that consume energy.

With the right mitigation strategies, employee burnout can be addressed. Managers will do well to observe over time to ensure that employees receive the help they need, especially while managing a crisis situation over a long period of time.