Burnout is hitting an all-time high and it has only been exacerbated by forced remote work. While burnout could potentially lead to a negative effect on the motivation and the performance levels of employees, there is a strong link between management support in the workplace and reduced levels of burnout among employees.
As employees are working from home they are working late nights, beyond work hours, hence they have no boundaries protecting non-working time. Without a physical separation between work and the rest of life, people won’t ever stop working thus risking burnout.
Employee burnout is very real now. The pandemic and the major shift to remote work setup has blurred the lines between work and life and even extended the work boundaries. Employees are feeling worn and exhausted. And organisations need to pay attention.
Leading expert, Richard Carlson on stress stated that the first rule is “Don’t stress the small stuff, it’s all the small stuff.” In today’s world, it’s the small stuff that is hitting employees the hardest and this is increasing the stress levels manifold. It is estimated that globally today $200- $300 billion annually is lost as revenue due to absenteeism, employee turnover, direct medical costs impacting the health of employees, workers’ compensation and other legal costs. Stress is getting worse and the cost of intensification of stress is impacting people across all geographies.
What stress is and what it is not? Stress is usually thought of as a negative word, something bad. However, there is also a positive side of stress known as “eustress” that is caused by exciting or stressful events and is actually healthy for us. (employee taking on a new project that encourages him/her to leverage existing strengths).
A large study by researchers at Cornell University of 1800 managers identified examples of “bad stress” as office politics, red tape, and stalled career progression in employees and “good stress” as office challenges that include increased job responsibility, time pressure, and high-quality management. Recent metal analysis has suggested that hindrance stressors such as office politics, red tape, role ambiguity and in general those demands that are foiling personal growth and goal attainment have a negative effect on the motivation and the performance levels of the employees.
Recent metal analysis has suggested that hindrance stressors such as office politics, red tape, role ambiguity and in general those demands that are foiling personal growth and goal attainment have a negative effect on the motivation and the performance levels of the employees.
Ivancevich and Matteson have defined stress as the interaction of the individual with the environment – “An adaptive response mediated by the individual differences and or psychological processes that is the consequence of any external action situation or event that places excessive psychological and/or physical demands on the individual”. Organizations can reduce job stress which primarily occurs as a situation arising from the interaction of the employees and their profiles, exemplified by changes within their roles that forces them to deviate from the normal functioning.To rebuild the company culture in a flexible work environment, teams need to encourage more employee-friendly flexible meetings to create lighter moments. Click To Tweet
The current challenge that organizations are facing in the pandemic situation is Burnout. A family situation, a brief crisis in the current pandemic situation, can act as stressors for employees. The ability to cope with the stress starts to go down and this leads to burnout in employees.
Burnout is not just an individual problem, but the impact of the social environment and company culture in which people work (outside organizational stressors such as societal changes/tech changes/ globalization/family relocation/ financial condition, etc.)
Burnout creates a sense of isolation and a feeling of losing control. Most analysis of job stress ignores the importance of outside conditions and events, however, it is becoming even more clear that they have a tremendous impact. Covid has played a key role in negatively affecting people’s lives and work. As employees are working from home they are working late nights, beyond work hours, hence they have no boundaries protecting non-working time.
Without a physical separation between work and the rest of life, people won’t ever stop working thus risking burnout.
So, how do we counter it? By hitting the reset button on our company culture!
- Be an employee champion. Enable them to perform their best: While the office might be opening, employees are working with the effects and dangers of Covid. Keeping the organizational policies focussed around employees in line with their safety concerns, or flexibility of the work, the pandemic-related personal and family commitments will only support employees to manage stress and help them focus on the work. The best way to support your employees is by letting them create their own hybrid schedules. They are the only ones who know how many platters they have to juggle and when they have to be juggled. They will be most productive and engaged when they can figure out a plan that helps them cross everything off their personal and professional to-do lists.
- Hybrid team schedules to foster collaboration: An added benefit of offering hybrid schedules is that it gives teams the opportunity to align their schedules to maximize their work time together as per the availability of the team members. Associating schedules and taking steps to promote inclusion strengthens team-building culture and drives growth.
- Prioritize online engagement meets: While working from home during the pandemic had a positive effect on productivity and engagement, company culture has taken a backseat in favour of organizational continuity. To rebuild the company culture in a flexible work environment, teams need to encourage more employee-friendly flexible meetings like team games and virtual water cooler for creating lighter moments. A flexible work environment strategy will go a long way in empowering the employees, providing a COVIDsafe working environment that makes them feel safe, engaged, and productive.
Keep employees in the sphere with the team’s plans, create their own hybrid schedules so that they do not get stressed about handling their personal life. The situation demands a focus on office culture, hence make sure that the employees feel “connected” with one another. The organizational change might be tough, but they are worth it. The employees will feel appreciated, engaged, and most importantly, productive at work.