Is Remote Working Leading to Employee Burnout? 0

IS-REMOTE-WORKING-LEADING-TO-EMPLOYEE-BURNOUT
Change is never easy. The drastic shift from physical offices to virtual offices has taken a toll on employees’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being making them more prone to burnout. In this article, we understand how organisations can make their employees adapt to this change without making them experience employee burnout.

When there are no clear boundaries between work and personal life, you might feel burnout because you would not know how and when to say NO. You would also fail to realize when you are being exploited by your boss. This also draws a clear distinction between a boss and a leader. When you are working with a boss, you are more bound to feel burnout.

We know that due to the emergence of the pandemic, the majority of people from all over the world started working from home. Initially, the idea of a virtual workplace seemed really exciting – people would carve out little corners of their room and turn them into their workstations, they would take up meetings from the comfort of their homes, and even indulged in virtual office parties after office hours. Because of the pandemic, the whole meaning of ‘workplace communication’ changed. Most people enjoyed the idea of new dynamics at work. However, change is not always easy. There are so many things that needed to be transformed in order to successfully adapt to this change. In this whole chaos, the HR of every organization was trapped in the labyrinth of this new workplace dynamic and faced a burning question – how will they make the employees adapt to this change without making them experience employee burnout?

Well, employee burnout is not just a fancy word often used in the corporate world. It is a really serious matter of concern where employees are bound to feel mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted due to certain conditions – this state of exhaustion of all these three aspects of life is called employee burnout.

Let us discuss a few aspects related to employee burnout here.

Employee spirit 

When people started working from home, most of them got really excited about the idea of working by being their “own boss”. However, with time, the HR departments started facing difficulties in keeping their employees’ morale high. This was simply because of the following reasons –

  • There was no face-toface interaction among the employees.
  • It was hard to conduct any employee engagement activities through virtual modes.
  • As the line between work and life started getting blurred, work hours became an issue.
  • Due to the pandemic, people generally also started feeling low and were in seek of some social support or some upliftment in the mood.

Where to draw the line?

When employees are working from home, employers might forget where to draw the line between their employees’ work and personal life. There have been incidents when employers have even called up their employees in the middle of the night for some issue that could have waited till the next day. This clearly shows a lack of empathy among employers.

Also Read:  Talent Retention Best Practices for the Remote Work Era

When employees are unable to take the stress of work, work culture, and strict deadlines, they often respond in an undesirable manner. This is why it is important to draw clear boundaries between work and personal life because nobody likes a (not-so) urgent office email in the middle of their family dinner.

Moreover, when this happens once in a while, it is okay but what if it becomes a routine? In the remote workplace setup, the reason these lines are getting so blurred because there are no fixed working hours. People are starting to work from noon and finishing their work late at night. The 9 to 5 routine has taken a different turn now and most employers do not mind as long as the work is getting done without any hindrance.

However, now that the flexible timings are being followed by the employees, it might not always be in employees’ favour. This is because it means that being an employee, you are always available to work or interact.

Employers must adapt their work culture in a manner that promotes employee sensitivity and empathy. When the employer is empathetic towards employees, they put themselves in their shoes and try to understand what and how they are feeling. In a virtual setup, it is even more important to create such an environment of empathy and emotions.

When there are no clear boundaries between work and personal life, you might feel burnout because you would not know how and when to say NO. You would also fail to realize when you are being exploited by your boss. This also draws a clear distinction between a boss and a leader. When you are working with a boss, you are more bound to feel burnout. However, when you are working with a leader, you will be able to turn every obstacle into an opportunity without being exploited or compromising on your personal life. Having said that, it is important to highlight the three aspects that come under employee burnout in order to understand this condition better.

Physical exhaustion

This type of exhaustion can happen in the form of experiencing physical symptoms after having extreme work stress. This can include sweating, fever, pain in the gut, tiredness, etc. When an employee is feeling physically exhausted, it is natural for him to feel less productive and efficient. Thus, this affects the whole organization’s productivity and profitability.

Mental exhaustion

When an employee is feeling frustrated, hopeless, and helpless, he or she might be dealing with mental exhaustion. This type of stress can also make them confused, dizzy, and lost. This exhaustion in no way can help the employee performance in a productive manner. This can also lead to a feeling of forgetfulness, reduction in productivity and cognitive abilities, etc.

Emotional exhaustion

When you are under a lot of stress, chances are that you might not be able to handle your emotions properly because everything can get really overwhelming for you. The same thing happens when you are under a lot of stress caused by various work factors – you can feel an overload of emotions (mostly negative) and might not be able to cope up with them at that time. This is a typical case of emotional exhaustion.

Also Read:  Breaking Through The Glass Ceiling

Dealing with employee burnout while working from home

Now that we know that working from home can lead to burnout, let us demystify ways in which employers can make their organizations a better place to work by eliminating the factors leading to burnout.

Understand that employees will not be able to be productive under so much pressure. Thus, it is a lose-lose situation if the employer is trying to force the employee to work impossibly and expecting him or her to deliver productively.

Employers must adapt their work culture in a manner that promotes employee sensitivity and empathy. When the employer is empathetic towards employees, they put themselves in their shoes and try to understand what and how they are feeling. In a virtual setup, it is even more important to create such an environment of empathy and emotions.

During this time, employers also must understand that all of us are dealing with a pandemic together. Thus, apart from work stress, there can be other stressors too that might be bothering their employees. Thus, it is time to be extra sensitive and receptive towards their employees. If employers take one step forward, they will witness their employees taking a lot of steps ahead at once.

Employers must focus on creating more work-life balance at work. This means that even with the flexible timings, there must be some clear lines between work and personal life. Employees should have the comfort and freedom to skip working when they are not in the middle of their work hours or if there is anything urgent, they should at least be given some time and informed in advance.

Another important thing that employers must understand is that mental health is as important as physical health. Thus, they should identify anyone who is dealing with burnout and try to help them in easing their way out of it. This is a great way to win the trust and commitment of their employees.

Final thoughts

There are so many changes that are happening in our lives since the emergence of the pandemic. One of the biggest transformations in our work life was switching to virtual workplaces. However, it comes with its own share of challenges. One of which can be employee burnout. This article covers various perspectives related to the term ‘burnout’ and few insights into how the employers or the HR departments can help eliminate this emotional, physical, and mental state of exhaustion.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

We share newer articles, exclusive interviews, event updates, eBooks & lots more from the world of HR straight to your inbox.

Previous ArticleNext Article
Avatar
Senior Manager - Human Resources, Adda52.com Akanksha Awasthi is the Senior Human Resources Manager at Adda52.com. She is an professional extraordinaire with a decade of expertise in HRBP, People Management, Grievance Handling, Training & Development, etc. She has a great understanding of Business and People which is crucial to being proficient in the field of HR. Her role has been instrumental in formulating effective HR processes and policies and various employee development programs. Being passionate about her division, she is always looking to build key relationships (personal as well as professional), forming a collaborative work culture, and ensuring proper communication flow across all cross-functional teams.

Leave a Reply

More in Magazine
MANAGING-EMPLOYEE-MORALE-IN-THE-COVID-ERA
Managing Employee Morale in the Covid Era

There has been a sharp dip in employee morale during the COVID-19 and HR is at the forefront of finding …

Close