Dealing With Employee Burnout – The Head-on Approach 0

DEALING-WITH-EMPLOYEE-BURNOUT
Due to COVID-19, employee burnout is on the rise and globally becoming a major concern for organisations and employees alike. In order to effectively manage it, organisations need to lead the charge to destigmatize mental health problems by encouraging mental health assistance and better workplace practices.

Companies have started to focus on mental health assistance for employees which can help them lead happier, healthier lives. It may even keep burnout at bay.

Employee burnout, also known as “work burnout” is a condition where you lose all inspiration, encouragement, and motivation, leading to feelings of stress or depression. This usually occurs as a result of a prolonged period of stress or frustration or a shorter period of extreme stress coupled with feelings of hopelessness as it may feel impossible to break out of the cycle of burnout once you find yourself there.

Presently, employee burnout is on the rise and becoming a critical issue for all the organizations around the world and if this trend continues then it is believed that it will become more prevalent in the coming years.

The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the rate of employee burnout at work in India. According to Microsoft’s new work trend index which researched 6000 peoples and primary line workforces around eight nations internally, India had the second-highest percentage of workers facing increased burnout in Asia at 29 percent.

Burnout mostly happens when you cannot separate your personal life and professional life. There should be a clear distinction between the two to avoid fatigue. You can avoid burnout by coming up with a plan or a schedule for the activities of the day. Failure to plan is a recipe for disaster. Also, taking periodic breaks is particularly important as it will help you to refresh. Here are few ways that companies are dealing with and addressing employee burnout:

Boost Employee Morale during Lockdown 

As the toll of coronavirus cases is progressively increasing, most of the countries across the world have imposed a lockdown to enforce social distancing and organizations have requested their employees to work remotely. Employees are facing tremendous challenges while working from home. Many organizations have also deducted some percentage of their salary which has led to demotivation at work.

To keep the employee morale high, companies are introducing one-time incentives to set up work home offices in which employees are reimbursed with furniture, broadband, and inverter costs.

By employing virtual team-building activities like fun virtual events, healthy virtual competitions and games will engage employees and keep the team spirit up while WFH. This will give space to employees to unwind from work and the pressures of work life.

Some companies have started Virtual Rewards and Recognition programs. Since people cannot physically meet, companies have come up with virtual events that can help people relax and enjoy themselves. For example, music concerts where the employees don’t have to directly participate.

Also Read:  Managing Employee Morale in the Covid Era

Finally, HRBP’s regular checks on employees. This does not mean monitoring them to see if they are working or not but checking up on them to ensure if they are okay

Fatigue and Burnout in Employees Working from Home

According to the survey done by Regus on 20,000 executives and entrepreneurs across the international marketplace, 48% of respondents think that during work from home children and family demands extra attention which is the major issue of exhaustion and trouble focusing on job matters is the second major issue, stated by forty-five percent of those surveyed.

At home, there are many disturbances such as noise from family, salesperson, and doorbell ringers. This noise and family disturbances result in fatigue and demotivation during remote working. Also, with husband and wife, both working and with kids’ online classes parents have to support kids and also manage office work. For the majority of employees this becomes a challenge coupled with multiple breaks, they tend to work more hours leading to health complications.

Employee Mental Wellbeing and Mental Health First Aid Training

Companies have started to focus on mental health assistance for employees which can help them lead happier, healthier lives. It may even keep burnout at bay.

Mental Health First Aid training is a program that makes people aware of mental illness – the impact, the signs, and how to deal with it. It is a program that involves role-play to demonstrate how to get initial help and connect the person suffering from mental illness to social and professional help. It warns participants of the early signs and symptoms of mental illnesses like anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and many others. It is advisable to provide such an opportunity for your employees and create awareness of the possibilities of mental illnesses and disorders.

Employees’ mental well-being is especially important because it contributes to the quality and quantity of their work. Remote working can be very exhausting and boring. As a human being, you are wired to interact with other people. Not socializing with people can cause loneliness which leads to mental illness. Bringing a counsellor or psychologist on board to help anyone who might need their services will prove helpful.

Wellness programs have been found to help employees with both physical and mental needs making them healthier and more productive and reducing their healthcare spending. Whether or not these programs work is dependent on the goals that were set in the first place. Unfortunately, not many wellness programs work.

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Wellness programs work for organizations that:

  • Realize that wellness is both an individual’s and an institution’s journey
  • Evaluate success as both an individual and an institution

Monitoring Remote Working Hours 

As your employees are working remotely, they may be tempted to work more hours than they are supposed to. To help with this, set time limits for when an employee should be working and by this, you will avoid having employees who are working late into the night only to wake up in the morning exhausted and less productive. You can set clock-in and clock-out time which is flexible and doable for employees.

Also, introduce breaks for your employees. Give them the liberty to take breaks and not glue themselves continuously to the laptop. In the office, they have time to go to the loo, take lunch, and even socialize with coworkers. As an employer, companies should keep in mind that your employee has a family and other responsibilities they need to take care of.

How Companies can Support Work-Life Balance

  • To support work-life balance employers can provide flexible and remote working and don’t force employees to come to the office in this pandemic time.
  • Encourage managers to focus on productivity rather than mandatory 9 hours.
  • Do tell employees to take a break during every quarter if they are putting too many hours in office work.
  • Encourage breaks during the day, regularly review workloads to ensure individual performance and also give time to volunteer in projects which employees want to do.
  • Support work-life balance by giving half-day once in a while as a token of appreciation for the work done.
  • Trust your employees, provide paid time-off or vacation.
  • Leverage technology for increased virtual communication, use social media-based gamified ways to keep employees engaged.
  • Make it mandatory for every team to have a free virtual hour where each individual can meet and share updates other than work.
  • Set some margins with their customers which can result in defining the aim of when work is to be completed which will improve efficiency and retention.
  • Make the environment conducive for an employee to air their opinions without feeling like they are saying the wrong thing.

In conclusion, as much as it is a company’s responsibility to take care of its employees, it’s first the individual’s mandate to take care of themselves.

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Senior Manager - HR, SG Analytics Vinay is an SPHRi certified Human Resources Professional with rich experience in various industries and HR functions like Talent Acquisition (Engineering, Software/Non-Technical), Performance Management, Talent Management, Employee Engagement, Organisation Development, HR Policies and System Implementation, etc. Currently, he is spearheading the Human Resources function of the Hyderabad delivery Centre of SG Analytics. An alumnus of IIM-Kozhikode, Vinay comes with over 15 years of experience in managing knowledge workforce, engineering/IT workforce and sales HR with PAN India exposure. He is a passionate and transformational leader with an ability to manage HR projects from conceptualization to completion and building relationships with clients and across organisations and teams.

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