Burnout can affect everything from productivity to health, which means combating burnout is important for both business and personal reasons.
It’s not that burned out workers don’t care about their job or employer anymore; it’s that they’ve cared for too much and too long without recharging their reservoir of inspiration. Essentially, they have nothing left to give.
Like many things, it’s simpler to avoid a problem than to attempt to pick up the pieces after something has broken down. Consider the following symptoms of worker burnout and suggestions on how to address them.
Mistakes and cutting corners
A common sign of burnout is an increase in the amount of mistakes being made, or workers regularly cutting corners to keep on top of their duties. While the cause of mistakes and shortcuts could be a flaw in the process, it could also be the amount of tasks employees must manage.
The first step to addressing these related issues is to check for mission creep: Perhaps employees have been getting more and more tasks loaded on them and few responsibilities being taken away. Ask staff members to create a list of the duties they do that occupy more of their time than they’d like. Ask them to list what they really do, not only what’s in their job description.
Management must also ask for worker ideas around how processes might be improved or how bottlenecks can be removed.
Stress can make people sick. In addition to weakening the immune systems and making people more prone to get common colds, there are aches and sore muscles come with working too hard for too long. High levels of stress has also been associated with poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle and bad sleeping habits – all of which only exacerbate burnout.
Making wellness a top priority at work will have a massive influence on people’s health, reducing burnout. A wellness program can include healthy food options, bottled water instead of soda in the break room, gym membership discounts, free massages and ergonomic workstations.
Providing a good amount of days off and understanding that staff members have a life outside of work, will also go a long way to minimizing burnout.
An uptick in arguments and fights is a big sign of worker burnout. If spirits are low, they’ve got a ton of work or they’re feeling overlooked, employees are more likely to bring a bad attitude to work, and that means more conflict.
While it is important to address growing conflicts, it’s also important to build a sense of camaraderie by openly celebrating accomplishments. If you combine de-escalation with recognition, it’ll be less difficult for everyone to stay upbeat, reducing employee burnout.
At SSI, we regularly assist our clients’ attempts to address employee burnout, often by providing them with custom staffing solutions. If your employees are currently overworked and in danger of burning out, please contact us to see how we can be of assistance.