The ongoing pandemic has drastically altered how many businesses operate. Some are 100% remote, while others are taking a hybrid approach as the outlook on COVID-19 improves. These changes have forced many employees to adapt quickly. Employees who work from home have to juggle their family’s needs with their work responsibilities. Others have had to take on more duties or learn new technology to meet deadlines in a remote work environment.
Unsurprisingly, these factors have resulted in skyrocketing rates of stress, depression, and anxiety among employees. Businesses can use the following strategies to help employees struggling with burnout:
- Provide value-based rewards. Performance-based rewards have their place, but their primary goal is to encourage employees to work harder. By nature, they’re more likely to worsen burnout than to alleviate it. Employees need to know they have value as a person beyond their work productivity. To put it another way, they need to feel like they are more than a cog in the business machine. Some value-based rewards include gift cards, bonus paid leave, or closing the office early without requiring a performance benchmark.
- Avoid knee-jerk penalties. Many companies have systems in place that trigger punitive action automatically, such as an attendance policy. For example, the first tardy arrival may result in a verbal warning, the second a written warning, and so on. However, this practice doesn’t consider the why when it comes to employee attendance. Instead, companies should take a holistic view of the employee’s past attendance record. If that individual is usually punctual, the company should investigate to gain context for the situation. Burned-out employees may not feel comfortable bringing up the issue, and automatic penalties will only worsen the issue.
- Take mental health seriously. It’s much harder to remain abreast of employees’ mental health in a remote environment. Managers have less face time with their teams, and tone doesn’t convey over text. Companies can take several steps to show they care about their employees’ mental health while respecting their privacy. For example, managers can send anonymous surveys to gauge employee wellbeing. Using a simple rating system of 1-10 can provide easy-to-track data to identify trends. Companies can also hold meetings to teach employees how to cope with stress, handle problems at home, and manage work challenges.
- Reevaluate company culture. If an organization consistently emphasizes output over the individual, it’s creating an environment ripe for burnout. Some elements of company culture are carved in stone, but many are easy to change. Some examples include setting longer deadlines, improving or changing communication styles, or reducing workloads by hiring more staff.
Employee burnout goes beyond their workload. Emotional and mental fatigue take their toll as well. Failing to address stress within the workplace will lead to increased turnover, reduced productivity, and rampant absenteeism. To learn more about reducing absenteeism in the workplace, contact the experts at Actec.