Methods to Keep Your Employees from Burning Out
Burnout is a real threat in any industry, whether you stock shelves or sell million-dollar technology systems. No matter what kind of company you run, your employees are susceptible to burnout—and it’s essential that you take steps to prevent this difficult problem, or you risk losing your best employees.
One of the challenges of dealing with burnout is that the conditions leading to it are different for each person. Some employees may thrive on working 90-hour weeks, while others have a hard time putting in 40. Some enjoy feeling at home when they come to work, and others want the distinction of work versus home.
As a manager, you can give your employees a range of options that will combat burnout, and keep everyone as happy and productive as possible. Here are seven strategies to help your employees avoid burning out on the job.
1. Individualize your expectations
Every person is different. As much as possible, you should get to know each of your employees as an individual, and be realistic when you’re assigning tasks and delegating work. Make sure everyone on your team has a specific job description—one they’re passionate about performing well.
And since monotony is often a cause of burnout, it’s a good idea to let your employees pursue work-related side projects as a break from their day-to-day routine.
2. Quality over quantity
Often, productivity is less related to the amount of hours your employees put in, and more in line with the quality of the work they do. Placing unreasonable demands on your employees’ time is typically a fast track to burnout.
Some of your employees may thrive on overtime—but others may be overwhelmed. Avoid making overtime mandatory, and allow for paid sick days, time off, and vacation days so your employees can afford to bring only their best game to work.
Don’t forget to factor in break time, which is essential for day-to-day productivity. Employees should feel welcome and encouraged to take solid lunch breaks, and several mini-breaks of 15 minutes or so throughout the day.
3. Be flexible
This goes for work expectations as well as personal time. If your employees are facing unrealistic goals or deadlines, change them. If a task has been assigned to someone who’s struggling to complete it, reassign it. Making your employees’ working lives easier isn’t coddling them—it’s ensuring their satisfaction and productivity.
In terms of personal time, try to give each employee a flexible option for a must-have in their lives, such as making it home in time for dinner or taking occasional half-days for recurring family events like kids’ sports games.
4. Give them the tools they need
Great jobs are accomplished with the right tools. Make sure your employees have adequate resources, training, and support to get their jobs done the right way, the first time, and you’ll avoid frustration-based burnout.
5. Create a productive culture
Most successful companies realized long ago the truth behind the old saying, “There is no I in team.” One great way to avoid burnout is to encourage a supportive work environment with healthy amounts of employee socialization, and recognition for supporting coworkers.
6. Make it fun
It’s hard to burn out on fun. While you obviously need to get work done, injecting occasional fun into your workplace can go a long way toward overall satisfaction. Provide in-office stress relief tools like dart boards, ping pong tables, Nerf guns, or even a designated “nap room” where employees can catch a quick 20 minutes of sleep, and watch productivity soar.
7. Recognize good work
Few people are genuinely interested in working solely for a paycheck. Make a conscious effort to recognize your employees when they do a great job, accomplish something big, or just make it through a tough week. Try to offer both team-wide and individual rewards—a pizza party or an afternoon off for the whole staff, bonuses or gift cards for individual employees.
Also, never underestimate the power of a simple “thanks for your great work.” Simply affirming that your employees are valued can help to keep them motivated and direct them away from burnout.