Olympic athletes that are citing burnout and mental health as the reason they’re dropping out of competitive events have been in the news. Athletes are not the only ones that experience burnout and mental health challenges; they exist in the workplace as well. Once an employee has lost motivation, it’s very hard to get it back. What are the signs of employee burnout and how can managers avoid burnout before it’s too late?
As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers into 2021, over 77% of employees report feeling burned out at some point in their current job, yet 21% say their company doesn’t offer programs or tactics to alleviate stress or prevent burnout.
Signs of employee burnout
Employee burnout doesn’t happen overnight. More likely there are a number of smaller events that can trigger one or more of the following signs:
- Loss of motivation or enthusiasm for the job
- Decreased productivity
- More mistakes/poor memory
- Difficult to make decisions or inability to make decisions
- Poor sleep habits
- Disengaged from the workplace culture
- Increased absenteeism
- Cynical and increased negativity
What’s an employer to do?
Instituting an employee Wellness Program is a great place to start. Connecting your wellness program to your employee recognition/rewards program is by far the most effective way to entice and sustain high participation levels. If you already have a Wellness Program in place, adding elements that specifically address mental health is helpful. Some examples are:
- Proactively work with employees to mitigate overwhelming workloads or schedules
- Offer flex-time and/or a hybrid office/work-from-home policy
- Encourage mental health days and use of vacation days
- Add travel or other experiences to your employee reward and recognition program mix
- Enable formal and informal communication paths
- Offer healthy activities during break times (yoga, meditation, walking paths indoors or outdoors, etc.)
Smartphones have made employees accessible 24/7. Encourage employees to “unplug” after working hours – and mean it! It’s important for employees at every level to have some downtime where they don’t have to be checking their phones and responding to work requests.
Managers can help avoid burnout by setting realistic expectations and listening to employees when they say they feel stressed or overwhelmed. Managers can help employees to focus on the positive and look for ways to set a more flexible schedule that works for the employee as well as the company.
Engaged employees rarely experience burnout. Instituting a targeted and effective employee reward and recognition program is a good way to set goals with employees, break the goals into smaller steps, keep employees on track and communicate what’s most important to the organization. Employees that feel appreciated and recognized are more likely to stay with an organization, form stronger work relationships and perform better.
For more information on how to avoid employee burnout through effective employee engagement strategies, contact us today!