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Got Burnout?

By: Krissy Fuller

As we reach the midpoint of the year, it’s not uncommon for employees to start to feel the effects of prolonged stress and workload.  Kids are on summer break, it’s hot, and there seem to be more demands than ever before.  The days are long and the weekends are short.   I’ve actually been hearing rumblings of more US based businesses looking to follow the UK and have a 4 day workweek – and NOT 4 10’s but 4 8’s!!  Interesting to see if this will actually come to fruition, but with the decrease in burnout and increase in productivity, it’s got some great appeal.  I digress.

Burnout.  At some point, I think we all experience this.  As a business owner or leader it’s important to recognize the signs of burnout and address it promptly to keep your workforce healthy and engaged.  Here’s a quick hit list of how to recognize the signs of burnout:

1. Decreased Productivity and Performance
a. Struggling to meet deadlines or producing subpar work

2. Increase Absenteeism
a. Frequent sick days or unexplained absences

3. Emotional Exhaustion
a. Emotionally drained, detached, cynical, lack of motivation

4. Changes in Behavior
a. Withdrawal from colleagues, lack of enthusiasm for work related activities

5. Physical Symptoms
a. Headaches, fatigue, insomnia, sore muscles from tension

6. Decreased Engagement
a. Reduced communication or participation during meetings

Hopefully you’re not noticing any of the above in your employees, but if you are don’t worry.  I’ve got you.  Here are some high level action steps you can take to address burnout and help prevent it in the future.

1. Conduct Mid-Year Reviews
a. Yepppppppp – check in with employees about their workload, stress levels and overall wellbeing.  Encourage open and honest communication.  BUT – only do this if you’re actually interested in supporting your employees.

2. Promote Work-Life Balance
a. Have employee’s take breaks, use vacation time, OR even just simply disconnecting after they leave work.  Got someone who struggles to not answer any and every email that comes in after hours?  Encourage them to NOT answer.  Set boundaries.  Remind them that it can wait. 

3. Provide Support and Resources
a. I’ve mentioned it before but small things can really go a long way.  Create a shared folder of everyone’s favorite meditation for example.  From the business perspective, consider and EAP.  

4. Monitor Workloads
a. Regularly review and adjust tasks to prevent employees from becoming overwhelmed.  Ensure that workloads are manageable and evenly distributed.

5. Encourage Professional Development

a. Sometimes all it takes is learning a new skill to reignite passion.  AND sometimes it doesn’t even need to be directly tied to the role.  You’d be surprised how letting your team take a random woodworking class can help create new ideas, and new learned skills to transfer over.

Remember the well being of your employees is integral to the success of your business.  Investing in their mental and physical health not only enhances their performance but also fosters loyalty and long-term engagement.  I’m going to tie this all back to the theme I started with.  We’ve all had a sunburn and wished we would have listened and applied the sunscreen.   Employee burnout is the sunburn – be proactive and give your employees their sunscreen.

Also – since it’s summer remember to stay hydrated, wear your sunscreen, and find moments to feel like a kid again on summer break!!   


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