Creative ways to manage employee burnout
Engagement 3 minute read

Creative ways to manage employee burnout

Megan Orr | August 3, 2021

Many employees have been experiencing occupational burnout, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and changing/challenging working conditions. There are many ways that employers can manage employee burnout. Here are a few.

Workplace burnout is described by Forbes as “extreme physical and emotional exhaustion that results in a lack of professional efficacy, increased cynicism, lack of engagement and depleted energy”. Forbes reports that “more than 70% of employees [mentioned] being burnt out and feeling that their employers aren’t doing enough to address workplace burnout”. 

Employee burnout doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over an extended period  and for a variety of reasons. Similarly, organizations need to work towards solutions that aren’t just temporary fixes, but also address the underlying cause(s) of burnout. When trying to manage employee burnout, employers must think and act preventatively. 

If your employees are feeling exhausted right now, consider offering them an entire no-strings-attached week off. 

Several organizations—such as the dating app Bumble and digital social media manager Hootsuite—recently closed their doors for an entire week to give their employees time off.  

According to Bumble spokesperson Rosanna Sacks, Bumble "wanted to give [their] teams around the world an opportunity to shut off and focus on themselves for a week” after the challenges of the pandemic. Allowing employees to have a week off to rest and recharge is a great way to manage employee burnout and also helps emphasize a company culture of health and wellness. Both Bumble and Hootsuite are known for their progressive company culture that emphasizes employee wellness. 

If your organization can’t manage a whole week off for everyone, give your employees a day off from meetings.

Whether your meetings are all virtual, in-person, or a mix, they can still take up a lot of time—leaving employees feeling like they’ve lost hours of productivity. 

You can pick a day of the week to name as a  mandatory no-meetings day or allow employees to block out times during each day for uninterrupted work (or do both for maximum impact). By establishing guidelines around meeting times, you give employees the opportunity to take charge of their own schedule and get work done without distractions. 

To beat burnout before it happens, you need to take time to acknowledge hard work and successes. 

One of the most important strategies to manage employee burnout is planning regular opportunities for employee appreciation. Some ideas:

  • Plan a fun event. Whether it’s a wine and cheese night in the office or playing a team game of laser tag, hosting a non-work related event is a great way to show employees that you encourage work and play. 
  • Celebrate milestones. Acknowledging an employee's work anniversary, their birthday, or a personal achievement can demonstrate that you care about both their professional and personal lives. 
  • Encourage employees to take time off. Allowing and encouraging employees to take time off ensures that they are able to rest, recharge, and bring their best selves back to work. 

Ensure that you know the signs of burnout—disengagement, tardiness, moodiness, etc.—and that you work proactively to manage employee burnout.

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