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Employee Burnout | How to Prevent Burnout in the Workplace

Mental Health Awareness Month is right around the corner! Let’s talk about how to help your employees avoid stress and burnout in the workplace.

#Work-Life Balance
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By Kori Whitby

The impact of employee burnout 👊

Are your team members feeling burnt out?

Employee burnout is much more common than you might think within the employee experience. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t reflect on your employee’s work ethic or abilities. It might actually point towards a bigger issue. The next time you see your employees exhibiting signs of burnout, turn to these tips. Lucky for us, it’s easy to identify and avoid burnout before it takes its toll.

Employee burnout affects more than the individual employee. It harms workplace culture as a whole. With more companies and teams working remotely, "clocking out" is harder than ever before. When your office is also your bedroom, how do you stop burnout from affecting your everyday life?

In 2019, The World Health Organization declared burnout an occupational phenomenon. More employees are exhibiting high levels of physical and mental stress. These feelings of burnout can turn even your strongest employees into poor performers. When you're burnt out, your brain switches into survival mode. High levels of stress leave people unable to think about long-term success or growth.

When your employees are burnt out, your workplace morale will soon follow. Can you imagine losing your best employees, or even an entire team, to job burnout? If your employees are consistently exhibiting symptoms of burnout, it might be a sign to make some changes.

The signs of burnout are easy to recognize when you know how to look for them. You might have even experienced them yourself. Let’s talk about how to tell when your employees are at risk of burnout, and how to prevent burnout in the workplace.

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What contributes to burnout? 🧐

When your employees are feeling burnt out, you might notice a rapid change in their demeanor. A top-performing employee might quickly become exhausted and cynical. They might stop caring about their performance, only doing the bare minimum of what it takes to get by. Team members that seem really stressed out are likely on the verge of becoming burnt out.

There are many factors that can contribute to your employees feeling burnt out and overwhelmed. Some are more preventable than others. Here are a few things you can keep an eye out for that lead to employee exhaustion:

😰 Overwhelming workloads

Asking and expecting team members to consistently put too much on their plate is a surefire way to put them at risk of burnout. Take a look at how you distribute tasks and ensure no one takes on more than they can handle.

🥱 Not enough breaks

Even if your team members are remote, they need breaks throughout the day. The human brain loves spending time doing nothing. We actually need downtime in order to process information and come up with great ideas. 

Give your team the chance to relax, and make sure there are clear boundaries around working hours. Encourage your team to step away from the computer and get some fresh air. 

😔 Lack of praise or positive feedback

Manager support (or lack thereof) is one of the leading contributors to burn out. If team members are only corrected or given feedback on mistakes, they will start to feel like they aren’t doing anything right. People need to hear when they’re doing a great job, too!

🤕 Lack of resources

Asking teams to perform without the help they need can leave workers feeling incapable of doing their job. They might feel like they’re fighting a constant uphill battle. You wouldn’t ask your graphic designer to design everything in Microsoft Paint, right? Don’t expect your other employees to do more with less.

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5 ways you prevent burnout 🩺

Acknowledging and reducing burnout is easier than it seems. At the end of the day, it’s all about listening to your team and meeting their emotional and physical needs. That extra effort goes a long way in supporting employee mental health and helping them find a healthy work-life balance.

Let’s look at a few key things that you can put in place today for happier team members tomorrow.

1. Prioritize well-being in your company culture 🧘

This can look different for every company. Some companies allow people to take half days or extra “mental health” days when they need a boost. At Confetti, we love to use team building classes and exercises to increase employee engagement. 

If you’re lost on where to start, ask your team! They will be able to give you some great ideas on how you can help them develop a healthy work-life balance. The best way to ensure that your team's needs are met is to ask them directly.

2. Improve your employee experience 🎊

In simpler terms, make work a fun place for your team to be — even if their office doubles as their bedroom. 

Employee experience starts from the first interview and carries over throughout the rest of their career. You have an excellent opportunity to allow people to shape their careers around their strengths and passions. When your employees have a strong sense of purpose, they are happier, healthier, and (bonus!) stick around for longer.

3. Train leaders to recognize and prevent burnout 📚

One of the best ways to prevent burnout in the workplace is to train your leaders to recognize it. 

Management is often cited as one of the main reasons that employees feel burnt out in the first place. People take notice when team leaders are compassionate, empathetic, and understanding. Make sure that the leaders in your company are skilled at recognizing and addressing the symptoms of burnout we talked about above.

4. Embrace flexibility 🤸

Don’t get us wrong, deadlines are important. But allowing flexibility for your team shows them that you care, and trust them to get the job done. 

You might worry that allowing flexibility with your employees gives them the freedom to slack off. In fact, it has the opposite effect. When employees are granted flexibility wherever possible, they actually become more productive in the long term.

5. Allow your employees to be creative 🎨

If your employees are passionate about something, let them run with it! Letting your team’s passions and skills shape their careers is one of the best things that you can do for them. Some of the most innovative ideas are born out of side projects and creative endeavors. Give your team a platform and the room to try new things.

Final thoughts 💭

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that employee mental health matters

Nobody wants their employees to be unhappy with their workplace. Sometimes, boosting company morale and preventing burnout is as simple as planning engaging team experiences. 
Even with your team spread out across the globe, you can bring them together with Confetti. Our virtual team building experiences help you bring a sense of collaboration and fun to your workplace — which is always a great way to keep your employees from burning out.

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