Tired of hearing about burnout yet? It feels like we’ve been talking about it for years now.
Wait. We have!
And, sorry to tell you, it won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon!
One of the sad facts about our world today is many employers are understaffed. And, because of that, the workers they do have are carrying the burden to get everything done.
In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a company nowadays that doesn’t have at least a minor issue with burnout.
And we aren’t just talking about stressed out employees.
What is burnout?
Specifically, “job burnout is a special type of work-related stress – a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
Here’s a little quiz from the Mayo Clinic you could give employees to see the varying degrees of burnout you’re dealing with. Have them ask themselves:
- Have you become cynical/critical at work?
- Do you dread going to work?
- Do you have issues with making yourself start working?
- Have you become irritable, impatient with co-workers or customers?
- Do you feel unproductive?
- Do you have issue with concentrating?
- Does your job not give you a sense of satisfaction with your achievements?
- Do you feel disillusioned with your job?
- Do you need to use food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or not feel at all?
- Are you having issues with sleep that you didn’t have before?
- Do you have new physical issues like headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other thing?
Saying yes to any of these questions could mean your employees are experiencing burnout. However, the more questions they answer yes to, the greater the odds they have it.
Burnout hurts business
The bottom line: Burnout can hurt your business big time.
Employees who experience burnout are:
- 13% less confident in their performance
- 63% more apt to use their sick time, and
- 2.6 times more likely to “actively” look for a new job, according to a Harris Poll of 1,136 employed U.S. adults, commissioned by Spring Health.
How to reduce burnout
How can Benefits pros play a role in reducing burnout?
Twenty-five percent of U.S. workers say they’d be better able to fight burnout with “better mental health-related policies,” according to a Spring Health report.
Here are four tools the company says work for leaders and managers:
- Get people talking. Encourage open communications and let employees know that as a Benefits pro you are there for them as are their managers. People need to feel comfortable with you to open up. It’s also a good idea to provide training for managers and other leaders.
- Keep tabs on employees’ workloads. Employees who are loyal and good at their jobs are often rewarded with more work. These employees end up overloaded and burned out because they don’t want to disappoint you. Communicate to managers and leaders to watch for unbalanced workloads.
- Encourage healthy habits. Again, you can’t do this all on your own. Although you can send out emails, infographics, etc., to remind people to eat healthy, get good sleep and take breaks, you need managements help, too. Encourage them to not require overtime, and to advise employees to keep set workhours that don’t run into their personal time. People need to keep work and their personal lives as separate as possible. Also, encourage employees to take vacations.
- Be fair. Burnout is often spurred on by inequities. Whether that is favoritism, workload, etc. Be sure everything from your policies to compensation to diversity and equity initiatives are fair and support everyone.
Give employees tools they need
It’s also a good idea to tackle the subject head on. Give employees the information they need to identify burnout and handle it.
For instance, the Mayo Clinic says to handle burnout employees need to:
- Talk to their supervisor about concerns they have. Then work with them to come up with a solution and prioritize responsibilities.
- Reach out. It doesn’t matter to whom they reach out to. It could be co-workers, friends, loved ones, whomever they feel comfortable talking to about their situation. Basically, they’re looking for support. So, guide them toward any relevant services your company offers or any kind of employee assistance program.
- Enlighten employees about relaxation activities as a great way to help them deal with stress. Send them information on yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc., and any classes in the nearby vicinity.
- Encourage them to exercise. Getting regular physical activity can help employees process stress better and get their mind on something else besides work.
- Remind them how important sleep is at restoring their well-being and protecting their health. There are several apps available, as well as devices, that track the amount and quality of sleep. Employees may be surprised at how poorly they’re sleeping. It may also uncover an underlying condition like sleep apnea.
- Promote mindfulness among employees. Focusing on breathing and being aware of what they’re sensing and feeling helps center the mind and put clarity on situations. Again, you may want to have information available on this that you can send to employees.