Workplace productively can be negatively impacted by a number of factors, including employee burnout. Burnout is often difficult to spot, particularly since many people tend to put on their best faces when in the workplace. Almost everyone is subject to worker burnout, however, and fortunately, several ways exist for managers to circumvent its development. Following are five strategies designed to keep workplace burnout to a minimum.
Set Reasonable Hours
Occasional overtime never harmed anyone, but when it's a workplace standard, it presents a real risk of employees succumbing to burnout. Some companies attempt to limit the number of employees on the payroll by assigning long hours to existing workers, but this plan rarely works well. It can result in serious burnout among staff as well as significant turnover. Both of these situations can cost companies more money in the long run than adequately staffing their businesses in the first place.
Cultivate a Supportive Environment
Cultivating a supportive work environment helps keep workplace stress levels down. Business owners and managers should set a good tone for the corporate culture by modeling supportive behavior. Employees are far less likely to become overwhelmed when they feel as if their superiors think of them as human beings rather than simply cogs in a machine. One way to do this is to make a company policy of never berating or calling out an employee in front of other workers.
Small breaks throughout the course of the workday can significantly reduce instances of employee burnout. Breaks should take place away from the employee's desk or workstation and should include opportunities for socializing, beverages, and snacks. Breaks should occur even on days when the workload is particularly heavy. In fact, they may be even more important when workers are under the stress of increased expectations.
Clearly Define Roles and Expectations
Employees who don't have clearly defined job roles become burned out more easily than those who know what's expected of them because they spend significant time trying to second guess their bosses concerning what needs to be done. Clear expectations allow employees to set reasonable goals for themselves, which results in higher job satisfaction levels. Setting and meeting goals is difficult when you're always flying blind.
Gossip often happens when people hang out during breaks or free time, but companies can, and should, do as much as possible to discourage it among employees. There are usually one or two people who are ringleaders in the chain of gossip, and making it clear to these people that this behavior will not be tolerated usually goes a long way toward keeping gossip levels low.
Educating employees on burnout also helps stop it before it even gets started. Hold seminars on the causes and symptoms of employee burnout, and let your workers know what resources your company has in place to help those who find themselves falling victim to burnout. Above all, let them know that burnout isn't something that they should attempt to cover up and that you, as an employer, are on their side.