April is Stress Awareness Month, so there is no better time to talk about managing stressed and even burnt out employees.
Burnout comes for everyone sooner or later. This all too common symptom of living in a time where the side hustle, 5am start and social media can make people feel guilty for even thinking about taking a break could hugely affect your team every day.
But COVID-19 could also seriously contribute to employee burnout. Reports of COVID fatigue state that it impacts energy levels for weeks after it first hits.
As someone who actually experienced this I can’t stress enough how exhausted, stressed and depressed it made me feel. It took me weeks to begin feeling normal again.
But even for those of us lucky enough to be asymptomatic or not catch COVID, burning out can be extremely hard to recover from.
And trying to recover from burnout in a time of lockdown restrictions and remote working can be an uphill battle.
The first step to addressing burnout is learning how to spot it.
Your employees could be burnt out if:
- They work more overtime or weekends than usual. Burnt out employees tend to feel that they have an overwhelming amount of work to do and prioritise that over rest.
- Their mood has changed. They might be more irritable, apathetic or stressed in their work day.
- Their health has been affected. Burnout and stress can manifest physically. Sleep, high blood pressure and even heart problems can be affected. If you don’t know too much about your employee’s health, an increased use of sick days could be a sign that they’re burning out.
We know that you want to help your employees feel happy and productive, so here are 5 ways to help your employees battle burnout.
1 – Encourage breaks
Your company culture can have a big impact on how your employees behave. If they think that it’s not normal to take breaks throughout the day, they might not think to take any at all.
Studies have shown that regular breaks can increase productivity and help your employees reduce feelings of burnout.
It’s always a good idea to lead by example. We would recommend encouraging your employees to take regular short breaks throughout the day and a longer lunchtime break away from their workspace.
2 – Talk about time off
Do your employees make the most of their paid leave and holiday time?
Sometimes we feel that working without taking time off is a great thing. That it shows determination, dedication and drive. But really it makes us burn out quicker.
Encouraging your employees to talk about and book time off can be a great way to ensure that they all take the breaks that they deserve.
3 – Schedule in social time
When working remotely, social time can easily be forgotten. But chatting with your coworkers, building friendships and a team bond is one of the top things about office work that we miss when working from home.
It’s really important that remote teams still get together for non-work related chat. It can help your employees feel less lonely, build friendships and morale.
All of these things can help them build a support structure that fights off burnout.
4 – Celebrate the wins
When working from home long-term it’s easy to feel your days blend into one. The endless grind of the 9 – 5 with little to break up the monotony can be hard to stomach.
So that’s why I would recommend celebrating your wins. Whether your company just scored a new big client, you finished a project or simply because it’s a Friday – celebrate!
Take the time to reward your employees with some social time or even a gift to show your appreciation. A little bit of thankfulness goes a long way!
5 – Work towards something
Hope is an incredibly powerful feeling that you can give to your employees. Hope can help them feel that their work makes a difference and has meaning.
When your employees don’t feel hopeful about their work, they won’t enjoy it.
That’s why it’s always good to work towards something. But whether that’s extra training, the next project or a big business move it needs to have meaning and bring hope.
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