How to Address Burnout in a Hybrid Work Environment
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted businesses around the world. From the moment it first invaded society, the pandemic has shut down small businesses, forced temporary closures, and caused supply chain issues in many countries.
Yet the most devastating impact of COVID-19 lies with the workers, not the employers.
We’re seeing a disturbing rise in employee burnout that shows no signs of slowing down. A private mental health crisis that threatens to spill out into public life paired with the increasing burdens of living and working in an altered reality is proving too much for many workers.
So much so, in fact, that 49% of workers surveyed by recruitment firm McKinsey said that they suffer from some level of burnout. This staggering statistic sheds light on the growing issue of worker burnout in the new hybrid work environment, so if you want to avoid a mass employee exodus, it would be wise to heed the warning.
In this guide we’ll lay out what exactly worker burnout means, and explore some of the best ways you can address it in your company.
What is Worker Burnout?
In simple terms, worker burnout refers to the feeling of exhaustion and fatigue that come with work-related stress.
What sets burnout apart from just stress, though, is that it can feel like an overbearing weight threatening to diminish an employee’s ability to be productive.
At best, burnout reduces productivity in the workplace, but at worst it can pervade the employee’s personal life and potentially lead to anxiety or depression. As such, employee burnout is a problem you’d better not ignore.
Worker burnout can have a range of effects on work-related performance, and cause the following symptoms:
Increased workplace anxiety – when workers are dealing with burnout, every interaction can feel like an interrogation. Questions become harder to answer, and problems more difficult to solve, which can slow down company workflows.
A loss of control – during times of elevated stress, it’s logical that workers would feel a loss of control over outcomes and events.
Feelings of isolation – one of the most crippling symptoms of worker burnout is a strong feeling of isolation. When we cut ourselves off from others, including coworkers, we feel like we have no support network to lean on.
Worker wellbeing should be a priority, on both a human and business level, so finding ways to combat burnout is key.
How Can You Address Employee Burnout?
Now that you’ve got a clear idea of the problem in front of you, it’s time to think of potential solutions.
Fail to address employee burnout, and your workers will drop like flies as they’ll feel unmotivated and unsupported.
Here are several ways you can stay on top of employee burnout in a hybrid work environment:
Use Data-driven Productivity Software
While tracking remote employees’ time might seem counterintuitive, using data-driven productivity software could prove effective in reducing the effects of burnout.
If you can streamline workflows and get everyone moving in the same direction, you’ll lower the risk of heaping stress on your employees. Employees time tracking software can ease the burden on employees as a minute worked is a minute accounted for.
Performance becomes easier to measure, and as a result, you can help workers feel as though they are making a difference in work by presenting them with data.
Software like this also simplifies the process of identifying employees prone to burnout. If you notice that an employee’s productivity consistently takes a hit after 3pm, you might conclude that they do their best work in the mornings.
With the hybrid work model, you can put more power in the hands of your workers and trust them to get their work done during their peak hours which in this case may be the morning and early afternoon.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
Employees suffering from burnout can feel like they’re trapped: they don’t want to spend their whole life thinking about work, but they also don’t want to feel like they’re underperforming and letting their superiors and coworkers down.
A clear idea of what work-life balance looks like. If you can get the most out of your workers during work hours, they’ll feel like they’ve done enough to clock out for the day and relax and you’ll have the productivity your business needs to be successful.
Flexibility is also key here. Offering parents the option to work from home, or socialites the ability to come together in a shared office space can make all the difference.
Check in Regularly
One of the most detrimental effects of the pandemic has been the rifts it has caused between workers and their colleagues, as well as between family members and friends.
To address this lack of socialization, you can organize regular social events like quizzes or virtual get-togethers. You can also make an effort to check in with your workers, either one-on-one or in a group context.
Workers need to feel supported at work, since life at home may be a struggle. If you can provide that support, it’ll be to the benefit of both parties.
Worker burnout is an issue you must take seriously if you want your employee retention rate to stay high.
There are various ways you can address the issue of burnout in a hybrid work environment, but first and foremost you should be compassionate to the problems of your employees. Show support and you’ll be amazed how positively your workforce responds.