How to Identify Employee Burnout Before It Does Damage

Posted on

May 4th, 2021


If employees are suffering from burnout, they’re more likely to make mistakes, experience drops in productivity, or start to have attendance problems (i.e. arriving late, leaving early, or calling out of work). Even if only one or two employees are struggling with burnout, managers are likely to notice the effects are office-wide. Once one employee stops pulling his or her weight, other employees have to pick up the slack. This puts added stress on the rest of the staff and can cause a chain reaction of burned out employees. Even if burned out employees don’t affect their coworkers, they are prone to making costly errors that can cause delays.

Thankfully, employee burnout is easy to spot. If managers and employers pay attention to their employees, they can recognize key indicators of burnout and take steps to rectify it before it begins hurting productivity and company morale through employee absenteeism and presenteeism.

  1. Heightened cynicism. Once productive employees may begin to balk at requests. A sudden shift to pessimism indicates the employee is disillusioned with or frustrated by his or her work. On that note, if an employee who is known for being a go-getter becomes negative and doubtful of certain objectives or goals, he or she may be experiencing burnout.
  2. Mistakes increase in frequency and severity. Seeing more typos when employees are under tight deadlines isn’t surprising. However, when an employee who often performs perfect work begins to make preposterous mistakes, something is wrong. The employee may feel underappreciated or overworked. Employers need to take the time to determine if the mistakes are the result of the employee growing careless or if he or she is suffering from burnout.
  3. Sudden disinterest with work. If a certain employee who always has ideas or contributes to the conversation goes silent at every meeting, he or she may be suffering from burnout. If the employee is overburdened with work, he or she isn’t going to engage any further until the problem is rectified.
  4. Attendance problems emerge. Some employees struggle with attendance, but when a previously punctual employee starts coming in late, leaving early, or not showing up at all, something is not right. Absent employees can derail projects, hurt productivity, and torpedo workplace morale. Managers must leverage absence reporting tools to determine if the sudden attendance problems are the result of family issues, an illness, or excessive work. If the problem is the latter, burnout is the culprit behind the absences.

Preventing burnout before it can take hold among the staff is of vital importance to businesses. If your company is trying to contend with absenteeism, Actec can help. Our absence reporting program can improve productivity, reduce absenteeism, and simplify your attendance keeping processes. Contact us to learn more.

7 Ways to Improve Attendance and Staffing Issues

Posted on

February 25th, 2019


Some attendance issues are unavoidable. Accidents on the roads, illnesses, and more can creep up on employees unexpectedly and force them to arrive late or take a sick day. However, the amount of false sick days employees take is on the rise. From 2016 to 2017, the number of employees calling in sick when they weren’t rose from 35% to 40%. When an employee has persistent attendance issues, it can tank office morale as well as productivity.

The following are several effective strategies for reigning in attendance problems:

  1. Lead by example. Management can’t expect their employees to arrive on time and work a full day if they don’t do so themselves. Employees will take note of their boss’ work ethic and be more likely to reciprocate punctuality.
  2. Address attendance problems without delay. Employers can address attendance issues with employees in several ways. It could be as simple as an informal conversation to see if there is an extenuating circumstance affecting the employee’s schedule, or the employer can opt to address it during a review. Whatever route the employer decides to take, he or she should do so quickly. Allowing an employee to arrive late for an extended period can send the signal that management is ok with the tardiness or isn’t paying enough attention.
  3. Give employees the opportunity to make up lost time. Some attendance policies require disciplinary action when employees have attendance issues. However, employers can avoid this by offering make up time. Many employees will take advantage of the opportunity to make up the time they missed in order to avoid lost pay.
  4. Reward good performance. Employees who feel valued are more inclined to arrive on time for their job. Offering recognition prizes for perfect attendance can reduce tardiness and absences, especially if there is a highly sought after reward such as paid time off, a monetary bonus, etc.
  5. Require employees to call out through management. If an employee can call out of work by leaving a voicemail with a receptionist, it’s a lot easier for them to make up an excuse than if they have to talk to their boss directly. If an employee is sick, they won’t have qualms discussing it with their supervisor.
  6. Follow up when an employee returns to work. If an employee calls out sick, it’s a good policy to check in with them when they return to make sure they’re ready to be back at work. If an employee tries to return to work while still ill, he or she can spread germs or relapse. It’s also good for morale for management to show they care about their employees’ health.
  7. Keep track of attendance. This may seem like common sense, but many businesses operate on an honor code, assuming people will document if they’re late. This may be true for significant tardiness, but an employee who arrives five minutes late every day isn’t likely to bring it to their supervisor’s attention. Keeping track of late arrivals, early departures, and absences let employers notice patterns and address them.

Absence management is a must for any company to succeed. If your company is struggling with tardiness or suspects problems with absenteeism, Actec can help. Contact us to learn about our absent management solutions.

6 Rules to Follow to Prevent Office-Wide Flu

Posted on

December 10th, 2018


Flu season is in full force and people who work in close quarters are at a much higher risk of contracting the disease. The flu can spread in a six-foot radius from a person carrying it. Coughing, sneezing, and talking can spread germs through the air and onto nearby objects. Touching a contaminated surface can spread the contagion if the individuals then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose. Employees who work in a cubical setting or interact with each other closely need to take precautions to avoid getting sick.

  1. Wash your hands often. This may seem obvious, but many people only give their hands a cursory scrub. Individuals that work in an office setting need to wash their hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds to reduce the risk of spreading germs. They should also make sure to use a new clean towel every time. Reusing hand towels is a fast way to spread germs.
  2. Disinfect common area surfaces. People touch certain objects on a daily basis without giving it much thought. For example, wiping down a counter with disinfectant doesn’t do much good if everyone has to use a germ-laden door handle to enter or leave. Cleaning and disinfecting germ hot spots can help prevent an office-wide outbreak of the flu.
  3. Wash coffee cups with hot water and soap. Many employees bring personal coffee mugs to the office, especially if there is a Keurig or coffee station in the workplace. However, many of them only give their mugs a cursory rinse when they’re finished drinking. Their logic is that they are the only person drinking from the mug, but germs can travel through the air and collect in the cup, making them ripe for transmitting diseases.
  4. Reduce social interactions where possible. Shaking hands with coworkers may be polite, but it’s also a quick way to spread germ. Employees should try to limit physical interaction and casual conversation during an active flu season. This can reduce the spread of germs and the likelihood of getting sick.
  5. Don’t wait for the disease to strike. Trying to stem the tide of a flu epidemic after it starts will yield poor results. Infected people are contagious a full 24 hours before symptoms begin and they remain contagious for up to 5-7 days after they initially become ill. Infected individuals can spread germs well before they are symptomatic so it behooves employees to take anti-flu measures before anyone becomes sick.
  6. Communicate clear expectations regarding sick time – employees should know that it is not only acceptable to stay home when contagious, it is imperative. If a sick employee returns to work before they’re better they run the risk of relapsing and getting other employees sick as well.

The flu season doesn’t have to mean rampant employee absences if workplaces put the proper precautions in place. To learn more about managing employee absences, contact the experts at Actec.

How to Help Employees Manage Back to School Stress

Posted on

August 20th, 2018


education-908512_1920Summertime is a break for working parents from parent-teacher conferences, after-school activities, and shopping for school clothes and supplies. Now that summer is winding down, employees with children may be showing signs of stress as they try to reengage for the upcoming school season. While it’s not an employer’s job to manage their employees’ personal lives, a good work-life balance is crucial to keeping the workforce happy and productive. The following are several ways employers can help employees ease back into the school season:

  1. Be cognizant of employee needs. Small to mid-size companies have an easier time of it, but all companies, regardless of size, should be aware of their employees’ needs. Learning who has children can help managers and company leadership work with employees to prepare for the back to school season. Team meetings represent a great opportunity to remind staff that it’s time to prepare for the new school year and discuss any challenges this may present. For example, some employees may need more time to complete a project than usual to allow them to make sure their child is ready for the upcoming school season.
  2. Remind staff of their leave. It’s easy for employees to think of paid leave as for vacations or illnesses only. However, many company policies include personal leave or utilize an overall paid time off (PTO) bank that employees can use for any purpose. Some states even provide 24-hours of unpaid leave for qualified employees to address their children’s educational and medical needs. Employers and managers should remind staff members that a positive work-life balance is important and to use their leave if they need to.
  3. Be flexible. Employees often have to arrange childcare for children before and after school. Sometimes these arrangements fall through and the employee must scramble to find proper care. Other times, the cost of childcare is too expensive for employees to manage morning and evening care. One way to help alleviate this issue is to allow for flexible start times. For example, if an employee usually works 7:30-3:30, consider allowing them to work 9-5 instead or vice versa. This can allow them to take their kids to school or pick them up from school depending on which situation works better for them. This can help them solve the problem of short-notice childcare and the related expenses. Another option is to allow employees to work from home for a certain number of hours for the first couple of weeks of school while they establish their new routine.

Employees who struggle with stress at home and at work are more prone to unexpected absence. Employees who feel like their employers care about work-life balances have better attendance records, are more loyal, and have better productivity. Helping employees cope with stressful periods in their life can help them manage their responsibilities at home while keeping up with their work. To learn more about reducing employee absences, contact the experts at Actec.

HR & Absence Management: Valuation of Holistic Wellness Programs

Posted on

March 12th, 2018


shutterstock_174875483Employee wellness programs continue to grow in popularity, even as many fail to reach their initial projections. Yet enough successful programs exist for us to conclude that wellness initiatives can be highly effective employee engagement, health, leadership, and recruitment tools when implemented tactically. Bombarding employees with disjointed wellness options has proven one of the most common mistakes in recent years, yielding low participation rates and gross inefficiency.
This is in large part because employees have a wide variety of needs and perceptions regarding wellness programs. Some employees have strong misgivings about wellness programs while others are thriving fitness enthusiasts. Implementing a sustainable wellness program that yields high participation rates is challenging because changing behavior is difficult – even when employees have sufficient motivation.
Rather than focusing on one specific aspect of health, employers need to provide programs that encompass the majority of their staff needs. The following are several methods employers can use to foster an holistic approach to employee wellness.

  • Offering a variety of different wellness programs is the key to success. A holistic approach means providing more than exercise-based offerings. Take a litmus test of what employees want out of a wellness program. They may value financial advice, exercise and nutrition programs, mental health services, or all of the above. Having several options will appeal to a larger percentage of the workplace, yielding higher participation.
  • Offer free health screenings. Employees may have a false perception of their health. If they do not know what ails them, they may not take part in wellness offerings that can prevent health-related illnesses and injuries.
  • Provide incentives and health challenges. Employees like to engage in games and friendly competition. By offering a prize to the employee who best achieves their health goals (i.e. 10,000 steps each day or sticking to their budget for the month), employers are more likely to see participation rates soar. Company leadership may think employees should want to improve their health and wellbeing without an incentive, but prizes (monetary or otherwise) always help with engagement.
  • Measure the effectiveness. Implementing wellness programs is not enough to improve employees’ health and wellbeing. Businesses need to measure the return on their investment to see what works and what does not. For example, employees may take part in a step challenge to achieve a minimum number of steps each day but neglect company-wide 5K runs. By seeing what employees use and which programs yield results, employers can fine-tune their wellness programs for maximum success.

Wellness programs can be great successes or dismal failures depending on how a company implements them. Effective programs can improve employees’ health and reduce absences. If your business is struggling with employee wellness and absenteeism, Actec can help. Contact us today to learn more.