Have you ever looked around your office and wondered exactly what’s happened to your employees? They might have each started with energy and enthusiasm, but now they’re almost completely spent. It’s affecting their work and productivity.
Simply put, your employees are burnt out.
Some people claim that it’s better to “burnout” quickly than to “fade away” slowly, but that’s debatable and especially not true for the workplace! For healthy and productive work, you need momentum and enthusiasm among your employees.
The good news is that even if you believe your employees are burning out, or at risk for it, you can help. There are measures to take, not passively, but actively!
6 Tips on How to Avoid Employee Burnout
1. Don’t Overwork Them
You need your employees to work for you, but you have to be reasonable. If you’re just bombarding them with assignments, they’re going to be stressed and ultimately burned out. Employees need to have a clear focus with every assignment. Multi-tasking is a normal part of work, but while there might be some overlap between assignments, they shouldn’t feel like they need to juggle ten at one time.
Some people say they thrive off being workaholics, but that’s an unhealthy relationship that has long and short term consequences. There are not many benefits to having people work until their eyes and fingers are sore.
2. Keep Them Enthusiastic
If your employees are just clocking in and zoning out, they’re either already burned out or at risk of it. Work isn’t always fun and exciting, but it shouldn’t be completely mind-numbing. Think about how the office environment is affecting morale. Little changes can have a big affect! For example, at our Cazbah office, we recently had a fresh paint job to brighten up the walls and remind all the employees of our core values: Progress, Accountability, Creativity, Excellence, Integrity, and Transparency.
You should also give employees assignments that exercise their minds. Even if a task is seemingly dull and dry, you can bring life to it by how you communicate it. Your employees should have an understanding of each assignment and why it needs to be accomplished. This will make them feel more important in terms of their role in the company.
3. Talk With Them
Communication is essential for the workplace. If people aren’t communicating properly, there’ll be confusion about what needs to be done and when. This will lead to individual stress, but conflict among employees as well.
Beyond this, there needs to be communication on a personal level. If you sense an employee is becoming withdrawn, talk with them. Send an email and ask if they would be able to speak with you in private. During this time, start by highlighting their qualities you admire. Then, tell them how you are concerned about their recent performance and/or demeanor. They should appreciate your attention towards them as well as your discretion. Many times employees aren’t motivated at work simply because they feel underappreciated or invisible. Let them know that’s not the case!
4. Avoid Perfectionism
You can, and should, have high standards for your employees. However, you shouldn’t expect perfection from them at all times. Nobody is perfect, but many employees fear consequences if they admit to any mistakes or inefficiencies.
When an employee makes a mistake, you should let them know, discuss why the problem occured, and focus on the best methods to solve the problem.
Here are some steps to take when employees make mistakes:
Reflect: Just think for a moment about the mistake and how it affected you.
Talk: Tell them about the mistake in as calm of a manner as possible.
Listen: Let them speak about the mistake and how it happened.
Plan: Discuss what measures should be taken in the future.
Thank: Show your gratitude to your employee for taking the time to discuss this with you and owning their mistake.
5. Have Incentives
While getting paid is a pretty good motivation for work, it helps if it’s not the only one. Demonstrate to your employees that they have something to strive for beyond their paycheck. Incentives drive workplace enthusiasm and establish a goal for employees to work towards.
If you work in a sales-based job, you can have an award for whoever makes the most sales in a certain quarter. Your employees will feel encouraged and excited by the competition. Even if there’s only one winner, they can still all appreciate putting in the extra effort.
6. Encourage Them To Speak Up
Sometimes, employees can feel burnt out, but choose (consciously or not) to hide it. They might fear they’ll seem like a burden or that their problems aren’t big enough to bring up. Let your employees know they can, and should, speak up if they feel burntout. They need to know that they have a voice in the workplace.
There are so many reasons to be mindful of employee burnout. From a business perspective, employee burnout affects productivity and overall work quality. From a human perspective, employee burnout affects one’s health and outlook. You want to be aware of it in all it’s forms. Have close (but still appropriate) relationships with your employees and look out for any of the signs. You can’t completely eradicate burnout, but by following these tips, you can do your part to reduce and prevent it as much as possible.