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6 ways managers can help prevent employee burnout

11/8/2021

Man leans over his work in exhaustion

Job burnout refers to chronic work-related stress that often results in personal and professional dissatisfaction, and employees who feel burned out can not only decrease productivity but incur significant organizational costs. A study by Flexjobs partnering with Mental Health America found that 75% of all workers have experienced burnout, while an alternative study from Eagle Hill Consulting states that 36% of employees believe their organization is not doing anything to resolve these issues. While it is important for employees to personally examine this matter, it is equally as crucial for employers to consider their role in promoting workplace wellness.

1) Communication
When managers actively manage communication in their workplace, employees are more likely to feel as if they are being seen and heard. Feeling like an integral part of the operation motivates workers, compared to when employees are overlooked and lose sight of their part in the equation.

2) Monitor workloads and scheduling
This can be seen as the easiest way for employers to turn the tide of employee burnout, as workload and scheduling management are directly influenced by their decisions. Workers can be overwhelmed if given too much responsibility and left to their own facilities, therefore, quality management and oversight are key to happy and productive employees.

3) Realistic goals and expectations
A substantial way that managers negatively affect their employees and increase the likeliness of burnout is by setting goals and expectations that are unrealistic. Setting the bar high for employees can be a great way to encourage hard work, but setting the bar too high can create doubt and shame in the mind of the employee who constantly feels a lack of achievement.

4) Promote a healthy work-life balance
Managers who understand the importance of finding a proper work-life balance are more likely to create a healthy work environment overall. It is easy for the stress from the workday to be carried over into personal time if not properly monitored by employers. A survey by CompareCamp clearly demonstrates this idea by finding that 65% of employees report workplace stress causing various difficulties in their lives. This is contrasted by further survey results that indicate an appropriate work-life balance leads to 25% lower employee turnover and increased productivity, in general.

5) Provide work-from-home options
Workers have quickly found an appreciation for remote work due to a lack of commute and a little more flexibility, and when done right it can lead to increased productivity from the workforce and fewer organizational costs for the company. Whether these options are fully remote or hybrid, the growing demand for this flexibility is established in a report by Buffer which states 98% of workers would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their career.

6) Encourage time-off
Encouraging time off from work is an important way for employers to indicate to workers that they care about their well-being. Time-off can be viewed in terms of small breaks throughout the day, the use of vacation time, and mental health days when needed. Workers can fear these types of breaks believing their workload is too heavy to leave or that they will simply be seen as lazy and replaceable. Promoting a work culture that values personal time and health is motivating, increasingly demanded, and likely to decrease employee turnover.  

Great managers and efficient management systems could be the difference between successful and productive employees and burnt-out workers who will ultimately serve as a liability to the organization. It is crucial for employers to set their organization up for success by examining the current structures they have in place and evaluating how to properly care for their employees and avoid potential burnout.