According to Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report, there’s been a strong increase in negative emotions over the past year — like stress, worry, sadness and anger. This was most pronounced for female employees and those under 40.
There may be specific cultural or business model factors that are burning out employees in your company. The best way to learn about that is to ask them, through surveys, focus groups or just casual conversations at the manager level. But in the meantime, here are five ideas to help counteract the trend and support your employees:
Offer support for stress at home
Working remotely provides better work/life balance for many, but for others it places increased demands on their energy and attention. They’ll have a hard time focusing on work if they’re simultaneously overseeing online school or attending to a live-in parent. Some companies have provided free online homework assistance for kids and day care support for both children and elders.
Make counseling easier to access
Your EAP probably offers counseling services, but maybe you could do better than that. Some film sets are now adding a therapist to the crew, so that people can take work or personal issues to a qualified professional when they have a break in the workday. For a hybrid or remote workforce, you might contract with a provider that matches employees with a qualified therapist for video sessions or phone calls.
Train managers to watch for signs
Managers are usually in a good position to notice burnout in someone on their team – if they know what to look for. When a previously productive employee is underperforming or seems to have a less-than-positive attitude, that can be a sign they need some additional support. Encourage managers to consider that burnout is a widespread issue right now, and to keep an eye on how their team is doing.
Encourage employees to set boundaries
Sometimes the employees who burn out are the ones who don’t feel comfortable saying no. Communicate that it’s okay to set limits on their work. For some employees, that might mean stepping away from their computer (and their work phone) at a certain time in the evening. For others, it might be declining invitations for meetings in which they won’t be a major contributor.
Recognize heroic efforts
Many companies have stretched employees to the limit through this pandemic. Frontline staff are experiencing rudeness and even abuse from customers. Some office employees are finding it difficult to work at home without the equipment they had at the office. Servers and kitchen workers are struggling to fill the gaps of short-staffed restaurants.