How to prevent employee burnout

According to Jennifer Moss writing for the Harvard Business Review that burnout has always been an issue facing workers but that the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened cases of burnout among employees. In a Harvard Business Review survey, 89% of workers said their work-life was getting worse, 52% said their job demands had increased, and 57% said that the pandemic had either had a large impact on their job or totally dominated it. Moreover, only 21% described their well-being as “good.” As Moss points out, we treat employee burnout with self-care when it is actually an organizational issue. Here’s what you can do to mitigate employee burnout at your company.

  1. Emphasize balance

Many employees are working remotely for the first time. Some businesses have expected employees to have even more availability. As one survey respondent said, “emails start at 5:30 AM and don’t end until 10 PM, because they know you have nowhere else to go. For single people with no families, it’s worse, because you don’t get to say, ‘I need to go take care of my kids.’”

Employees still need time to rest. Employers should encourage their employees to set clearer boundaries, as this constant “availability” can quickly result in burnout.

  1. Limit your employee’s meetings where possible

The HBR survey indicates that the number of meetings has increased during the pandemic. The workday has also increased by 48 minutes. Not only is this alarming when considering that employees feel overworked, but online meetings are also more demanding than in-person meetings. According to the BBC, “Video chats mean we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy.” The combination of additional meetings and “Zoom fatigue” is a recipe for burnout. Limiting meetings, especially video meetings, can help decrease burnout.

  1. Check-in with your employees.

Many people have experienced increased stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you aren’t regularly checking in with your employees and offering support, you might not know what they’re facing. Many parents are simultaneously working and homeschooling or have more caretaking responsibilities. They may have lost family members or friends. Letting your employees know that they can come to you when they need support will help prevent burnout.


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