Burnout is something everyone experiences in the workplace at one time or another. Projects become overwhelming, leaders or clients set unrealistic expectations, and employees start losing sleep, productivity and satisfaction.
As a leader, human resources professional or decision-maker, you have the ability to create a burnout-free workplace. Challenging situations will inevitably arise from time to time, but by following a few tips, you can help make the workplace less stressful and more productive.
Let your employees have a voice
All too often, leaders zero in on completing a project or managing day-to-day tasks instead of focusing on what matters: The process. As employees gain experience and work through the challenges of their assigned duties, they often find ways to improve processes, make workflows more efficient, and discover easier ways to get the job done. Letting your employees speak their mind can stop burnout before it becomes a problem.
As a leader, it is part of your job to listen to employee feedback. It is even more important to communicate that feedback to company executives and other important decision-makers. Employees who have managers that recognize their meaningful contributions are more likely to continue working for the company.
Pave your employees’ road to success
Not having the correct tools for the job can feel like absolute torture. How many times have you tried to tighten a screw with a butter knife? You can get the job done, but it takes a lot more effort than it would if you had a screwdriver. Working harder than an employee should have to because they have out-of-date software, old tools or inefficient processes can certainly lead to employee burnout.
With the right tools, your employees can feel accomplished, efficient and need less effort to do the same job. Keep in mind, having the proper tools is a continuous conversation. Technology expands rapidly in every industry. It is important that you stay current with your employee’s and industry’s needs.
Take a break—with your employees
As a leader, it is your job to let your employees know how important breaks, lunchtime and paid time off are. Breaks help boost productivity and reduce burnout. Taking a break from a difficult or mundane task often leads to creative new solutions and refreshed energy.
Remember that you set the example. It is difficult for employees to feel like they can take a break if they never see their leader stop working. When is the last time you stepped away for your desk or your office, took a real break and your employees saw it happen? By taking regular breaks, you not only reduce employee burnout, but burnout for yourself as well.
Define employee roles, but allow growth
Do your employees have clearly defined duties? How do you have to assign employees tasks that are “outside of their job description”? It is a phrase uttered often in the workplace.
With clearly defined roles and expectations, employees know exactly what to expect when accepting a job. If an employee’s workload falls within expectations, they are less likely to feel overwhelmed and burnt out. However, if an employee indicates that their job is unfulfilling, then it is probably time to consider growth opportunities. Boredom is different kind of burnout, but burnout nonetheless.
Be flexible and mindful
How much room do you give employees to be successful? Do your employees help manage their deadlines and workflow, or do you restrict these processes? Some employees function better under pressure. Others burn out quickly when under the wraps of constant deadlines. As a leader, it’s your job to set expectations, but realize that not every employee fits in the same box.
In addition, remember that employees have lives outside of the workplace and sometimes, life gets in the way. Taking some of the, will-my-boss-be-mad-at-me stress out of the workplace can help keep employees engaged and productive.
In the end, remember to listen
Each of these tips to prevent burnout revolve around one simple idea—take the time to listen to and communicate with your employees. By getting on the same page as your employees, understanding their goals and staying interested in their personal development, you can enable a burnout-free workplace. Moreover, taking the step to truly listen will also help you recognize when your employees are burned out.
For more tips on company culture, read our article: How to Create a Company Culture That Makes Employees Want to Stay.