Google describes ‘burnout’ as a state of ‘physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress;’ a very real problem, not only for you but for your employees as well.
In a recent Gallup survey, of 7,500 employees interviewed, 23% said they felt burned out at work often or always, and 44% said they sometimes felt burnout. Statistically speaking then, that’s around two-thirds of the workplace.
As an employer, it is your duty to care for your employees. If you don’t take steps to do so, and if they do experience burnout, you can expect to see the following signs of this condition in the people you employ.
Signs of burnout include…
A lack of engagement
If it appears your employees don’t care about your business, it is possibly because their ill health has caused them to feel detached from the work you have given them to do. They might also blame you for the way they feel, and so they might be less willing to put the effort in.
If your employees are experiencing the physical and mental symptoms of burnout, they might be more likely to call in sick rather than coming into work. They might even make up an excuse not to come into work, as if they know they are going to be overworked; they might dread the idea of stepping through the doors of your business.
Increased mistakes and accidents
One of the symptoms of burnout is extreme tiredness and this might impact your employee’s concentration level. As a consequence, they might make mistakes in their work and be the cause of any accidents that happen. This is especially problematic when their safety and the safety of other employees is put at risk.
A change in behavior
Do you have an employee who appears more sensitive than normal? Do you have any extroverted employees who now appear introverted? Do you have any employees who have suddenly become prone to outbursts of anger and frustration? If their behavior patterns are against the norm, then you might have cause to worry about their mental state. While there could be all manner of reasons behind their changes in behavior, one of these could be the result of burnout.
Proof of exhaustion
You might notice it in the way your employees walk into a room, especially if they are moving more slowly than normal. You might see telltale signs of tiredness on their face, including a pale complexion and dark rings around their eyes. You will definitely notice it if you catch them falling asleep in meetings or at their desk. These are all signs of exhaustion, and you need to be alert to them.
So, what can you do to help your employees?
To preempt the possibility of your employees suffering from burnout, and to protect them if they are already showing signs of the condition, there are a number of steps you can take.
These include the following.
Have an open-door policy
The more approachable you are, the better. Your employees will then be able to come to you if they start to feel unwell, or if they have any concerns that could later result in them experiencing burnout. You should listen to what they have to say, and then take action where it is needed to support your employee, perhaps by referring them to medical care or by giving them some time away from work.
Encourage your employees to take more breaks
If you haven’t afforded your employees the possibility of more breaks throughout the day, then you should do so. And if you have, but they don’t seem to take the opportunity for a break, then you should remind them to take time away from their workstations. They need this time to refresh themselves both physically and mentally as they should then return to their work with greater productivity. They will also be one further step away from exhaustion.
Don’t overwork them
You need to change your expectations of your workers if you are guilty of piling work on them. Like you, there is only so much they can do in the day, so take steps to help them. You might give them the tools they need to complete certain tasks quicker and more successfully, for example, and you might help them to prioritize their workloads so they leave less-important tasks to another day.
Work with other agencies
You can do this in two ways. For starters, you could outsource some of your company’s work to another firm to alleviate the pressure on your employees. And secondly, you could bring in another company to help your employees with the work they have to do. So, you might hire a social media marketing agency to assist your marketing team, for example, and any other company that is equipped to help you with the particular aspects of your business.
Make sure your employees take vacation time
It’s up to you how many vacation days you allow your employees, but according to the United States Department of Labor, you should allow them around 15 days on average, possibly giving less or more depending on how many years they have been working for you. You should encourage them to take their vacation times, so sort dates out as early as possible, as this will both ensure they do take time off and give you the opportunity to find cover to fill any gaps in staffing.
Provide a fun working environment
This is about alleviating their stress on a daily basis, as the more enjoyable your workplace is, the less stress your employees should feel. Check out these ideas on how to have more fun at work, and then implement as many as possible into your place of business.
You need your employees; you wouldn’t get a lot of work done without them, and your business would probably cease to operate. Therefore, check for the signs of burnout in your employees and take the steps we suggested to support them. By doing so, you will not only improve their overall health, but you will improve the overall health of your business too!