In the past, employee burnout was an issue that would usually occur from rigid company structures and high-pressure office environments. Some experts even suggested that allowing employees to work from home can remedy burnout. The coronavirus pandemic, however, proved that these notions were not necessarily true. In fact, 69% of the remote workers surveyed by employment platform Monster in 2020 reported experiencing symptoms of burnout.
Unfortunately, employee burnout is a serious issue that has many negative impacts on your workers and, consequently, your entire organization. If you want to avoid these, then your company must take appropriate steps to help remote staff who are suffering from burnout.
What is employee burnout and what are its effects?
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) classification, burnout is an “occupational phenomenon” and not a medical illness. More specifically, it is a syndrome characterized by exhaustion, cynicism about one’s job, and a reduction in professional efficacy. The WHO associates the condition with chronic job-related stress that wasn’t managed properly.
Burnout can affect a person’s physical and mental well-being. Notably, it is linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia, substance abuse, and increased risks for chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. With their health, motivation, and performance compromised, burned-out employees are more likely to underperform or even leave your company.
How can you fight burnout in your remote staff?
There are many ways to help your employees avoid burnout. Here are tactics you can try:
Discuss your expectations
Since remote work setups are more flexible than traditional office arrangements, work from home employees may feel anxious about what they’ve accomplished for the day and take on more tasks than necessary. This can lead to overwork, exhaustion, and stress, resulting in burnout. To prevent these problems, discuss with your remote staff how much work you expect them to finish within their shift so they know when to stop.
Encourage them to unplug
Conventional office setups provide workers with a solid distinction between their work and personal hours, as well as set times for meals and breaks. Remote work arrangements, on the other hand, aren’t always as clear-cut. Because of this, many remote workers end up eating while working, skipping breaks, and even working past their shifts. These behaviors can make your staff feel like they’re not in control of their time and less motivated to work.
Encourage remote workers to take a breather every now and then. If you’re using communication apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams, use non-work channels to remind your staff that it's okay to unplug and take breaks. Urge them to log out of their work devices and accounts after their shift, so they can relax and focus on their personal life.
Automate where possible
Remote workers can be easily overwhelmed, especially if they have to do crucial chores, attend to family, and deal with faulty technology on top of their work-related tasks. Help them manage their bandwidth by automating some of your company’s processes when possible. For example, automating marketing processes like sending reminder and re-engagement emails can free up your marketing team to focus on other valuable tasks.
Make mental health a priority
If your company can afford it, sponsor mental wellness checkups for your remote employees. You can also sign them up for yoga and meditation classes to help them unwind after a long day. Alternatively, you can give them access to free resources that will help them maintain their mental well-being. For instance, you can distribute articles on managing stress or listicles on free mindfulness and meditation apps they can install on their phone.
Make time for fun
Working apart from their colleagues can make remote workers feel isolated and lonely, which can worsen the effects of burnout. Remind them they belong to a team by conducting virtual teamwide get-togethers. Have them tell everyone about their hobbies or the TV shows they’re watching, play games, or celebrate milestones, such as an employee’s work anniversary. These casual meetings will provide your remote workers with the human interaction they need to stay grounded and motivated.
Burnout among your remote employees is a real problem, one that will require your full attention to resolve. As you find ways to ensure your staff’s well-being, we at Quicktech will make sure you don’t have to worry about your company’s IT systems. We will monitor your network 24/7 for any issues and address them so you have one less thing to worry about.
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