As the holiday season approaches, employee burnout looms. People are working hard, more challenging than they might typically be working. They may be sacrificing time at home and time with family. Things can be getting downright dicey for some of your employees to this end. So what can you do? As the small business owner and boss, is there anything you can do to help your team members avoid the dreaded burnout?
First off, according to many experts, you have to learn to recognize the signs of potential burnout. What are these signs…According to human resource professionals, you want to be on the lookout for the following:
• Disinterest and apathy where their job is concerned
• Loss of focus on the tasks at hand
• They appear frazzled and even panicked at times
• Some are quicker to anger
• They are remaining aloof and alone even during break times
These are just a few of the critical signs of employee burnout. Other more nuanced signs and symptoms could also be included on this list. The important thing, though, is that you as the leader recognize that there may be something going on, something not quite right, something downright disturbing if that’s the case, and you address it head-on. Ignoring potential burnout and hoping they “snap out of it” isn’t going to get you anywhere. You have to be proactive.
On the Verge of Burnout, Now What?
If you do see that there are employees who may be on the verge of burnout, what actions/steps should you take at this point? The key is to have established a company culture that is open, honest, and welcoming. In other words, you want those employees who may be in crisis mode to feel comfortable in coming to you. While you may need to get others involved, at least they felt as though they could approach you with their issues.
Among some of the steps you might take when an employee is in danger of burning out:
– Communicate regularly. Communication is at the heart of influential workplace culture. If you do notice that an employee is withdrawing or is more aloof than they generally have been, you should make an effort to have a conversation with that person. You may discover that the issue is solvable quite easily, or you could also find out that more help is needed. Either way, you need to communicate and take that first step.
– Lead by example. What do we mean by this? Often the reason for burnout goes back to a failed work/life balance effort. In other words, they are spending way too much time consumed by work and not enough focus on other areas of their life. You are the leader, so lead by example in this respect. Your employees need to see you balancing your life and your work. This can go a long way toward making them feel more comfortable doing the same.
– Encourage employees to take vacation. Studies have shown that many employees are nervous about taking time off and going on vacation. They fear repercussions or losing some of their job responsibilities. You, as the boss, need to make it clear that this will not be the case. You have to encourage those who may not have taken a vacation in quite some time to go ahead and do so.
– Offer flexible work situations. With the pandemic, work from home became the norm. Now with people back at work, adjusting can be difficult. You might consider revisiting occasional work from home options and thus taking some of the pressure off employees. This could lead to a decrease in the potential for employee burnout.
– Prioritize wellness. Promoting wellness initiatives could be a great way to address the work/life balance issue proactively. And don’t be afraid to get creative. Offer your employees yoga classes, schedule a retreat, give bonuses for when they take the initiative to do things on their own, for their self-care.
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