With the many challenges businesses have faced as a result of the pandemic over the past two years, it’s little wonder that workers may be feeling stressed, anxious and overwhelmed. It’s been a tough time for many and as a business owner, it’s important to ensure the health and welfare of the workforce in order to protect the health and welfare of the business.

The impact of burnout amongst workers is considerable. If left untreated, stress in employees can culminate in negative behaviours such as regularly arriving late to work, absenteeism, reduced commitment to the business, making careless mistakes and uncooperative behaviour. The roll-on effect of which is decreased employee engagement, lower job satisfaction, a break down in team work, reduced productivity and high employee turnover.

It’s important that employers keep an ear to the ground and look out for the early signs of employee burnout to reduce its impact on the business. In ensuring the health and wellbeing of the workforce, business owners can implement the following strategies in order to reduce burnout amongst workers.

Ensure employees feel psychologically safe

It’s crucial that employees feel that the workplace is a safe, non-threatening environment where workers are able to undertake all aspects of their job collaboratively and effectively. Business owners can assist in improving the culture and the perception of safety in the workplace by:

  • Providing employees with clear goals
  • Making sure employees feel heard by management
  • Making work challenging yet non-threatening

Leaders of successful teams strive to create a culture where it is okay to fail, and where employees feel that they are able to communicate their ideas and suggestions without fear of negative consequence. Encouraging workers to think outside the box is key and goes a long way in providing a safe work space for employees to thrive.

Ensure employees have regular breaks

A worker’s attention span and ability to focus are limited. When employees work non-stop for hours, it can result in a significant reduction in concentration making mistakes more likely to occur, less creative thinking, and the inability to solve complex problems.

Employers should encourage workers to take breaks without feeling guilty. It’s vital for all employees (including managers) to take time away from the desk regularly and as needed. Something as simple as placing a daily reminder in the office calendar or pulling the team together for an afternoon coffee break each day can help to ensure workers get enough downtime at work. Employers who lead by example assist in reducing stress and creating an environment conducive to consistent performance.

Create private (and quiet) spaces

While open plan offices are commonplace these days, they can be a cause of ongoing distraction due to the elevated noise levels and sometimes bustling work environment. Business owners may choose to look at creating separate spaces where employees can work uninterrupted in a quiet environment, encouraging workers to turn off email and other messaging services at set times.

Set clear work boundaries for employees

There will be times when working outside core hours may be necessary, but there is still a need to agree on typical workday expectations. Employees who regularly answer emails late in the evening or over the weekend are more likely to experience anxiety and have the sense of never leaving work.

Employers need to communicate with the workforce regularly and set clear work boundaries to help reduce employee burnout. Allowing for flexible working arrangements where possible, and providing additional time off are also vital in encouraging a better work–life balance.

Increase employee engagement

Improving the connection workers feel with colleagues and the business can have a significant impact on job satisfaction. Not only will it assist in improving employee engagement, but it minimises work-related stress and boosts employee wellbeing. Employers should look aim to foster employee engagement by creating a culture of:

Transparency Employees need to understand how the work they are doing aligns with company targets and goals.

Utilising strengths and talents Employees who are allowed to use their strengths feel more competent and engaged.

Autonomy Employees are less likely to experience burnout when they are given the opportunity to decide on how and when they complete their work.

Recognition Supporting and recognising good work reduces employee stress while promoting a sense of belonging.

Sense of purpose When employees feel a sense of purpose in what we do, it adds meaning to otherwise tedious tasks. Managers should share the company’s goals and communicate the positive effect each worker has on it.

As a business owner, it’s important to ensure the health and welfare of your employees in order to protect the health and welfare of your business. If you need assistance addressing issues of employee burnout in your business, our team of highly skilled HR professionals can help.

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