Burnout can happen at any level, from entry-level employees all the way up to the CEO. Maybe you’ve even had to deal with keeping yourself motivated to avoid burnout as the boss. It’s also important to watch for signs of burnout in your employees so you can help ease their stress and give them opportunities to wind down and relax. Decreasing employee burnout can improve productivity, increase motivation, decrease absenteeism, and reduce your turnover rate, all of which help your company grow.
What Is Employee Burnout?
Employee burnout happens when a worker feels overwhelmed, overworked, and tired of their job, which causes them to lose motivation to do their work. It’s a type of stress related to work that causes physical or emotional exhaustion. You might notice employees displaying signs in different ways. Possible signs include:
- Lack of engagement
- Decreased excitement about the job
- Cynicism or an overly critical attitude
- Difficulty getting started on tasks
- Low energy
- Decreased productivity
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frustration, irritability, or anger
- Increased absences from work
Burnout can happen for a number of reasons. In some cases, it’s a direct result of a negative situation at work, such as conflict with a coworker, unclear expectations, excessively high expectations, or lack of support in the office. The employee might feel they’re making the situation worse and end up with a burnt out feeling. For example, if an employee works longer hours than necessary and doesn’t have a good work-life balance, they might feel burnt out. As an employer, you want your employees to remain bright and active. You have several ways to prevent employee burnout or minimize the effects.
Tune Into Your Employees
Creating a workplace that minimizes burnout is ideal, but you should also tune into your employees on a regular basis to see if they’re feeling the stresses of the job. When you approach burnout from this direction, you can help ease those feelings should they start showing themselves signs of stress in your workforce. Try to pay attention to the actions of your employees do to see if you notice change in their habits or attitudes. If they have overly demanding tasks or hours, you may want to find a way to reduce their burdens so they can recover quickly. For example, if you experience a sudden, temporary increase in the workload, you might hire a few temporary employees or freelancers instead of expecting your regular staff to take on more work. Chatting with your employees regularly and encouraging open communication can help you discover when your staff starts feeling overwhelmed.
Build a Positive Company Culture
The company culture you build can either contribute to tension and burnout or help prevent it. Creating an inclusive company culture based on respect and teamwork can support a positive working environment that minimizes burnout. Your attitude, behaviour, and workplace policies all help form the workplace culture. Consider the message your current culture sends your employees, if necessary, work to shift it to create a more productive environment that encourages creativity and values your employees.
No matter the work environment, your employees may still feel burnt out if they don’t take care of themselves properly. Encouraging self-care can help reduce stress in the office and reduce the chances of burnout among employees. A workplace wellness program that emphasizes exercise and healthy eating shows employees that you value their health. You might offer a reimbursement for gym memberships or set up your own office gym. You can also help by supporting a work-life balance for your employees that minimizes overtime and offers support for employees when they use leave time. Taking care of yourself through rest, diet, exercise, and stress management sets a good example for your employees.
Give Employees Tools and Support
Employees can feel burnt out if they consistently lack what they need to do their jobs well. It’s much easier to stay motivated when you have tools and systems in place that simplify your job. Consider talking with your staff to make sure they have the support needed from you to perform their jobs. You might ask them about duties that take them too long or seem challenging to complete. Then, you might seek solutions that can make those tasks easier. If your warehouse staff feels frustrated with manually managing orders and inventory, you might start using SOS Inventory or other inventory management apps to streamline the process. Many business apps integrate with QuickBooks to automatically pull that information into your bookkeeping records, so you also save yourself or your accounting staff time and stress.
With the right blend of observation, communication, support — and maybe some free doughnuts once in a while — you can sidestep employee burnout and keep your employees engaged and energetic. You can prevent your own burnout by using tools that lighten your workload. The QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage their businesses on the go. Download the app.