4 Ways to Help Employees Struggling with Burnout

Posted on

July 6th, 2021

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

4 Ways to Combat Pandemic Burnout in Call Center Agents

Posted on

January 26th, 2021

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COVID-19 is affecting every industry, particularly call centers. Call centers for medical facilities, insurance providers, and other related sectors are experiencing abnormally high call volumes from stressed customers. Regardless of industry, all call centers are dealing with upset and stressed out callers. Call center agents must be polite, patient, knowledgeable, and upbeat, which is difficult when managing customers’ stress on top of their own.

However, employers have to motivate call center agents as customers will remember which companies supported them through the pandemic crisis. Companies can use the following methods to keep their call center agents happy and reduce the likelihood of burnout:

  1. Focus on reducing stress. Employees need breaks, but a company’s culture may make them feel like they should work through lunch or after hours regularly. For example, employees may opt to take another call when they should be on their lunch break. Such practices can quickly burn out their enthusiasm for their jobs. Agents are also fielding more stressed customers than usual, which can affect their morale. Implementing stress-relieving activities such as app-guided breathing exercises between calls can help agents lower their stress levels.
  2. Provide encouragement. Recognizing a job well done or applauding soft skills can boost agents’ morale. It also provides an example for newer agents to follow and shows the team that management values their work.
  3. Protect top performers. Top-performing agents are the most likely to burnout due to the demands placed on them. For example, companies may ask top-performing agents to coach and train new employees. While this is a sound strategy, businesses need to balance top performers’ workloads as well. If they’re training new employees and trying to complete their usual amount of work, they’re likely to burnout.
  4. Offer bonuses and other rewards. Call center agents are working harder than ever during the pandemic. Offering cash bonuses, gift cards, gift baskets, and other non-monetary rewards can boost motivation and productivity. For example, companies can hold a monthly raffle for employees with perfect attendance or offer quarterly bonuses to top performers, most-improved employees, etc. When agents have something to look forward to or work towards, they’re less likely to lose enthusiasm for their jobs.

Call centers play a critical role in a business’s success. If your company is considering investing in a call center or looking for new options, Actec can help. Contact us to learn more about our nearshore call center services.