Look out for the telltale warning signs of employee burnout, and act quickly to mitigate the risk.
It’s common for people to treat employee burnout as an individual problem, but it’s not – not entirely, at least.
There is a growing body of evidence that workplace burnout is a product of the work environment as much as it is the result of personal decisions. This approach has led many company leaders to implement widespread wellness campaigns aimed at improving employee health and resilience.
However, addressing burnout in the workplace goes beyond simply teaching yoga and mindfulness techniques to employees. It’s possible that large-scale corporate wellness initiatives simply don’t generate the kinds of results their advocates expect.
Instead, company leaders need to identify stress-causing elements in the workplace and make core adjustments to how employees should engage with those factors. Teams that deploy the best employee time tracking software can leverage valuable insights into the employee experience to identify workplace stressors.
How Burnout Impacts the Employee Experience
Employee burnout is an occupational phenomenon defined by the World Health Organization as a syndrome resulting from unsuccessful management of workplace stress. It’s not a medical condition; but it can be a precursor to stress-related diseases.
People who report feelings of professional burnout typically focus on some combination of the following three things:
- Feeling exhausted or depleted of energy while working.
- Disassociating from job performance and being mentally distant from their work.
- Working less effectively than they would otherwise.
These issues can become obstacles between people and their personal and professional goals. As many as 40% of employees who turn in their resignations cite employee burnout as a top reason for leaving the job. Of these, more than one-quarter left their jobs without waiting to line up another job first.
Neither employees nor employers want people to feel burned out at their job, and most large organizations take some kind of approach towards mitigating the risk of burnout for employees. This often includes finding the best employee time tracking software solutions to enable a successful, data-driven approach to proactively resolving workplace burnout.
5 Key Steps Leaders Can Take to Address Signs of Burnout
No corporate policy, however well-intentioned, can entirely eliminate stress from the workplace. However, certain policies and systems have proven to be effective at reducing the most serious impacts of stress-related workplace burnout. We’ve gathered some of the most valuable insights below:
Balance Workloads with Recovery Time
Pushing employees to their limit is unproductive. Company leaders and managers need to build in downtime, breaks and vacation opportunities as part of the productivity equation. While this may go against the hard-charging atmosphere of some industries, ample recovery time has been shown to make active work time more productive.
One of the benefits of employee monitoring software is that managers can easily scale workloads to meet individual employee needs in real-time. Your employee work monitoring software may clearly show that certain performers do their best work in quick bursts of activity, followed by longer periods of relatively low productivity.
You can use this kind of data to build optimized employee workflows that encourage people to meet production expectations and enjoy their well-deserved recovery time after the fact. You can monitor the results of this workload balancing process using office-based or remote time tracking software over an extended timeframe.
Foster a Company Culture Based on Well-Being
Every individual reacts differently to stress. Some people feel incredibly anxious about their ability to respond to stressful situations. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy since the anxiety makes those situations even more disruptive and stressful.
Other people learn to find stressful situations exhilarating, even if they aren’t always particularly enjoyable. These types of people tend to score higher on psychological tests that examine well-being. Promoting well-being equips people to handle stressful situations more successfully.
Leaders can express well-being in many ways – letting employees leave early after a particularly stressful day, for instance. Implementing hourly employee time tracking software to support work from home monitoring can encourage flexibility so that productivity needs are met without the need for strict scheduling that can cause a sense of stress or pressure.
Promote Authentic Social Connections
Human beings are intrinsically social. Teambuilding efforts are critical for fostering genuine human connections between co-workers, especially as teams increasingly work remotely with one another.
Many corporate team building exercises fall short of their capacity to build authentic social connections because they don’t actually focus on peoples’ real relationships. Encourage employees to connect with one another and to celebrate their successes together.
Connect Employees to Company Values
People who feel a sense of purpose are far more resilient to the symptoms of burnout than people who do not. When people feel a genuine emotional connection to the work they do, it makes them feel more connected with the company and with their colleagues.
Burnout can often arise when employees feel disconnected from the value of the work they do. They may not understand why what they’re doing is important, which makes it difficult for them to feel genuinely appreciated for it.
Leaders and managers can help employees take ownership of their job by intentionally reflecting on how the specific things they do actually help advance the big-picture values that the company stands for.
Reach Out to At-Risk Employees
Often addressing burnout can need a little friendly, direct contact. But the right time to do so can be hard to judge. But technology can lend a hand here.
The best employee time tracking software will provide you with more than simple data on how many hours an employee works per week. It will provide you with a detailed analysis of how efficiently that employee completes the various tasks they have to perform, and give you deep insight into how they feel about those tasks.
Teams that use fully-featured performance monitoring solutions like Time Doctor, ActivTrak and Hubstaff can identify at-risk employees before they feel the impact of burnout. Some Hubstaff alternatives like Insightful go beyond what online timesheet software can offer, giving you highly visible tools and analytics for addressing chronic burnout.
Depending on the situation, you may offer to temporarily move at-risk employees to lower-stress projects. You may also assign them to new departments, give them new skills to learn, or any number of other alternatives. The key to preventing workplace burnout is acting decisively as soon as you’re aware of the risk.