Stumbling into February whilst carrying the burden of a pandemic, the worrying future of climate change, and the instability of government regulations on our shoulders, it’s no wonder employee burnout is becoming more widespread.
Employee burnout can spread like wildfire, obliterating anything in its path – decreasing productivity and depleting morale. In fact, employee burnout was one of the factors that contributed to The Great Resignation of 2021, with Randstad UK reporting 69% of workers feeling confident about resigning and moving to a new role. This in turn can have huge implications for organisations moving forward as employees are the most important assets of any company. It is vital that companies prioritise employees mental and physical health.
That’s why we’ve outlined four steps employers can take to avoid employee burnout.
But First – What Is Employee Burnout?
Defined by the World Health Organization as a condition that results from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. Burned-out employees face an unpleasant combination of work stress, fatigue, and emotional and physical exhaustion which could spiral quickly into depression and physical illnesses – from headaches to a higher risk of a stroke. Whilst the risks associated with burnout are high, Sweden is still the only country to recognise burnout as a disease.
Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive body in the UK showed that 822,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2020/21, a rate that is higher than pre-pandemic levels. Stress is a significant contributor to poor mental health, low productivity, and absenteeism in the UK workforce. With covid acting a brutal reminder of life being too short, the pandemic forced people to re-evaluate their priorities surrounding work and life.
While for some, burnout may give the final push needed to move on to a new and better job, it is still essential for companies to find ways to combat burnout before toxic consequences such as decreased efficiency, wasted resources and poor retention arise.
Key Factors Causing Employee Burnout
According to Psychology Today, these are just some of the triggers for burnout:
- Workers finding themselves spread thin and feeling overwhelmed
- A lack of support from management at work
- Feeling isolated due to remote working and the boundary between being on and off the clock being blurred
- The lack of autonomy workers have over their tasks and work hours
- Departments being understaffed
- Lack of growth opportunities
Recently, BetterUp’s Chief Impact Officer Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex spoke about his personal struggle with burnout after being left “burning the candle at both ends”. Prince Harry suggests bosses should offer employees more time in the day to focus on themselves such as fitting in 45-minutes of me-time every morning will lead to a happier workforce and better productivity.
“From an employer’s perspective, you can’t expect – in today’s world – people to put in the work on themselves if you’re not giving them the time to be able to do that. It’s so important as employers to say if you have the chance to do it in your own spare time that’s fantastic, but we are going to factor that into your routine at work. If everybody was doing that, the shift in global consciousness and awareness would be enormous.”
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
4 Steps Employers Can Take To Avoid Employee Burnout
- Make wellbeing a part of the company’s culture
Employees now want more than a salary; they want an organisation culture which is rich in trust and support. Organisations need to begin investing more in resources which promote health such as cycle to work schemes, gym and yoga memberships or have a policy in place to prevent emails being sent after work hours. Schedule in team lunches, happy hours or any remote team activities like virtual pub quizzes to grant workers an enjoyable break from work.
Research shows office workers are interrupted every three minutes and can take up to 23 minutes to get back on task. Companies like Facebook and Airbnb have “no-meeting Wednesdays,” while, Atlassian employees have a “Get S#!t done day” where they are excused from answering emails, calls, or attending meetings. By creating a culture of wellbeing, a culture that puts physical and mental health first, employee morale and engagement will improve whilst work stress and fatigue will diminish.
- Empower employees to choose their own hybrid workstyle
Why are commuters having to spend 2 to 3 hours each day travelling to and from work thus, cutting down on their ‘me’ time? Why are parents running around trying to find last minute sitters?
Today the workplace can be anywhere in the world. From working in the office to working remotely, or hybrid working, let employees have the flexibility to explore all options and set their own hybrid work path. By offering employees the flexibility to set their own work hours, they can establish a work-life balance and find their most productive hours. Employee-led work styles ensures employee experience and satisfaction, and due to the advancements in technology, employees can easily stay connected and catch up on work without burning out.
With employees navigating to a hybrid workstyle, Spica has seen a rise in demand for desk bookings and room reservation tools as well as remote collaboration tools. Employees want to easily find out where and when their colleagues will be in the office and reserve office space. The office is becoming more and more of a collaboration space, where employees can collaborate, brainstorm and interact with all departments, rather than a space with a permanent desk assigned to everyone.
- Provide feedback and recognition
Managers can show they care about their employees by setting up regular one-to-one sessions in which managers can provide any constructive feedback or recognition. It will lead to a greater positive impact on employee engagement as 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognised.
With Millennials and Generation Z making up a significant proportion of the workforce now, feedback will fuel the ambitious younger generation even further. A Yoh survey found 24% of employees would consider looking for work elsewhere if they received inadequate feedback from their managers. Therefore, providing valuable and constructive feedback will aid employers in retaining talent whilst encouraging a stronger manager-employee relationship. Building a strong relationship results in employees more likely to discuss challenges they are facing and feel more supported at work.
4. Adopt the Right Facilities Management Software Tools
The right cloud base software systems such as a workplace experience platform, a workplace experience mobile app, or artificial intelligence assistants can help manage systems, making life easier for managers and employees.
- In a study from Asana and 4media, 37% of employees don’t know whether work is evenly distributed which can lead to feeling undervalued, low job satisfaction and higher chance of employees not communicating their feelings to managers. Collaboration tools like Slack and Trello enable greater transparency in the workplace as managers gain a better understanding on how busy a colleague is to aid in delegating tasks, avoiding overloading staff with work and scheduling meetings as well as quicker response times than emails.
- Workforce analytics and productivity platform like ActivTrak can identify team members who may need support by evaluating where working hours are consistently high. ActivTrak also identifies employees with low levels of engagement, assess workloads across teams and understand typical start/end times. A productivity platform can help managers improve workload balance and enables managers to reach employees at high risk of burning out to show support before any dire consequences occur.
- Lack of communication from employees means HR managers have to rely on guess work to understand if employees are vulnerable to burnout. However, mental wellbeing platforms like Yerbo can collect data from weekly surveys and transform the results into valuable insights. This can act as first indicators for employers to do something to raise employee well-being and engagement before the onset of burnout.
- Implementing a workplace experience platform lets managers gain a deeper insight, enhanced control and a detailed comprehensive view of the whole building and all assets and data in one place. Spica’s GemEx Engine® platform can help managers do just that. Our enterprise graded platform consists of digital twin technology, which is connected to IoT sensors and third-party business system data to create a digital map of your corporate building, with real-time data feeds to give meaning and track status.
- The GemEx platform complements Luna, our workplace experience app which can be used by employees to reserve office spaces such as desks and meeting rooms. Employees can also raise service and maintenance requests whilst, monitoring and adjusting indoor environment quality such as temperature and humidity. The Luna app helps employees monitor who’s in the office and decide the day to come into office or to stay at home thus, managers can control workplace density and implement a successful hybrid working model whilst maintaining employee well-being as priority.
Nurture a lower-stress workplace and take the steps to prevent employee burnout
Our workplace experience solutions aid in automating daily tasks, saving managers time and being able to allocate resources elsewhere without being on the verge of feeling overwhelmed and low on fuel. Both GemEx and Luna provide real time and historical data which managers can use to address compliance, occupancy, space utilisation and workplace management issues. Implement the above preventative measures to reduce the chance of employee burnout occurring.
Book a demo now to see how our workplace experience solutions can help you. Our Digital Workplace Consultants will be happy to answer any questions you have.