You may not think your employees are feeling overworked, but the reality is that many staff members are at risk of burnout.
That’s the word from a Gallup poll conducted last year, which found that 23 percent of employees felt burned out at work either “always” or “very often,” while another 44 percent described themselves as being burned out “sometimes.” This leaves only about a quarter of full-time employees not at risk of burnout.
If you’re of the mindset that staff members are replaceable if they can’t keep up with the work, it’s time to change that way of thinking. In reality, overworked employees can hurt productivity at your office and are 63% more likely to take sick days, Gallup found.
It’s a common misconception that highly engaged employees aren’t at risk of burnout, but a recent study from the Yale University Center for Emotional Intelligence revealed that two in every five employees polled revealed high engagement and a feeling of burnout. Therefore, you must keep an eye on every employee for the risk of being overworked – don’t solely focus on those who seem disengaged.
“Burnout is real and it does lead to a loss in productivity and employee engagement,” says Judy Bell, an HR consultant with Judy Bell Consulting. Check out how to recognize overworked employees, and how you can avoid this fate.
Check for These Four Signs of Burnout
1. Absenteeism. Overworked employees are often absent from work, especially on Mondays and Fridays, Bell says.
2. Lateness. Stressed employees are more likely to have sleeping problems that may cause them to arrive at work late, and sometimes with a decreased attention to their professional image, Bell advises.
3. Stress and Fatigue. “Stressed employees are more likely to snap at co-workers or be less collaborative with team members,” Bell says. “This is a classic symptom that leads to a loss in productivity.”
4. Presenteeism. “Presenteeism occurs when employees don't feel comfortable in taking off work when they are sick, or feel obliged to work longer work hours each day or to work every Saturday,” Bell says. “This is a culture issue which contributes to burnout and sickness.”
Here Are Eight Ways to Mitigate Burnout
If you recognize any of these signs in your staff members, it’s a good idea to employ strategies that mitigate burnout to ensure your staff members are happier and more productive.
1. Bring the Message From the Top. Smart executives and business owners know that balance is good for employees, productivity, and profits, Bell says. Therefore, the balanced culture should come from the top at your firm.
2. Offer Calming Strategies. Some companies offer mindfulness and meditation classes onsite to help staffers relax, or memberships at places like yoga classes to keep them centered.
3. Share A Message of Wellness. You should convey consistent wellness messages in posters, newsletters, meetings, and training to cement a culture of wellness, Bell advises.
4. Outsource When Necessary. If your staff members are stressed because they are juggling too many responsibilities, it can be a good idea to take some work off their plates via outsourcing or other methods.
5. Identify Stress and Train on Stress Management. Determine the stressors in your office and offer stress management training in those areas. Your best bet is to use humor in the training to keep staffers relaxed, Bell says.
6. Focus on Collaboration and Employee Engagement. Make sure your staff works together to keep everyone engaged, Bell advises.
7. Address Low Performers. Some staff members may truly not be pulling their weight, and you should nip this issue early, because they can drag down your other employees, Bell says.
8. Ensure Employees Focus on Strengths. Know the strengths of your employees and give them responsibilities that allow them to use those talents. This will improve productivity and reduce burnout.