How should an employer deal with employee burnout?

How should an employer deal with employee burnout?

Question for an Employment Lawyer: How should an employer deal with employee burnout?

Burnout is when an employee engages in so much work that they expend too much energy over a period, leading to extreme fatigue and lack of motivation to perform.

Burnout is a frequent topic of discussion among employees, and they are taught to try and avoid it. As companies are so focused on consistent progress and productivity, employees are concerned about experiencing burnout and having it affect their position or role.

With the amount of work consistently expected of employees, burnout becomes more possible and increasingly more common. When researched, there is often information about how employees can escape burnout to maintain a consistent productivity level, instead of providing a plan of action for how an employer can uproot burnout at their workplace. Employers should learn how to be equipped to both identify, respond, and limit burnout.

Identifying Burnout

An employer can identify employee burnout if their employees are coming to work unenthusiastic, tired, negative, and are becoming inefficient. Many times, burnout is blamed on the employee for not seeking help when they needed it or by pushing themselves too hard. Yet, burnout is something that can be greatly controlled by how the employer decides to conduct the workplace.

Responding to Burnout

If employees appear to be exhausted and over-worked, there are ways to respond in the moment and limit future burnout. When employees are under-performing, sometimes the first response as an employer would be to penalize them for their inaction. Instead of blaming the employee, it might be best to set up a good framework to limit burnout altogether.

Be open to flexible work conditions

As remote and hybrid working conditions have become popular after the spread of COVID-19, many workplaces are realizing how much more productivity they can achieve from their employees without a strict 9-5 schedule. If an employer is more outcome focused (the employee is getting their tasks done on time and to an expected or greater standard), it matters less when they complete their tasks and more about how well they get the job done.

For example, if the employee would rather work 8am-2pm on Tuesdays so they can pick up their children from school, this schedule should be acceptable to their employer if this employee is completing all their responsibilities during this time.

Wellness programs

These programs are extremely important in establishing a good foundation for a healthy workplace. It limits the possibility of burnout because it maintains an active and positive work environment, but further, employees have access to help at all times.

Provide rewards that aren’t always performance based

Many employers provide rewards or positive re-enforcement when employees are performing well. But sometimes, great performance could be a result of overtime work that not everyone can accomplish. This could influence employees to push themselves too much, and lead to more burnout. Rewards like providing more break time, gift cards, or scheduling fun events can make the employee feel like a valued part of the team.

Set goals that all employees may achieve

Sometimes employees can feel overwhelmed because they feel like they aren’t working toward a certain goal or advancement in the company. This can cause employees to feel helpless and drained because they constantly feel stagnant. Employers could implement goals that are not only vertical achievements, but horizontal ones specific to an employee’s role. For example, offering further specialization could make the employee feel respected and allow them to continue to accomplish new things.

If you are an employer interested in creating policies and procedures to limit burnout at the workplace, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.