People are preparing for a post-pandemic boom now that the world is opening up again. Leaders should instruct their teams to prepare for this, knowing full well that many individuals are running out of steam.
Businesses have long recognized that burnout has played a significant part in the workplace in 2021: the pandemic has been relentless. According to the 2021 Glint Employee Well-Being Report, burnout increased by over 9% between April and July 2021, a 12% rise from the previous July. This is due in large part to the “always-on” work culture that many businesses reinforced in 2020.
Here are some ideas on how leaders can communicate to their employees about burnout and fatigue, as well as how to safeguard their teams from the worst effects.
Get ahead of the burnout curve
The most unique idea is to go ahead of it, name it and refer to it as something that managers, in particular, should be aware of, and support known prevention actions before it becomes an issue that needs to be treated. More significantly, business leaders should encourage employees to watch out for one another, as caring for others has been proved to help people avoid burnout.
Leaders aim to be ahead of the curve with overt encouragement when the first indicators are noticed. Leaders want everyone to see beyond their immediate problems and remember the bigger picture and purpose, to remember that it’s a marathon and that they want people to bring their best selves to the table, not just be there for the longest time.
Encourage staff to be open and honest
Burnout affects team members of all ages, roles, and places. The COVID-19 situation added to the pressure to combine professional and personal obligations under one roof, resulting in a surge in demand for digital expertise. Burnout affects team members of all ages, roles, and places. The COVID-19 situation added to the pressure to combine professional and personal obligations under one roof, resulting in a surge in demand for digital expertise. To help them detect and reduce risks early, leaders should establish a number of new programs centered on company communication and openness, employee feedback and touch points, and ongoing education, learning, and support programming.
Leaders should use weekly surveys and engage in extra time management tools and processes to identify teams, projects, or individuals who are running hot or at risk in order to better pinpoint team member challenges. They can act quickly to offer support, whether it’s providing extra hands to help, surprising and delighting through unexpected reward and recognition, or tapping into time-off programming when they are tuned in to recurring concerns, uncovering personal challenges through weekly one-on-one meetings, or spotting a workload surge.
Celebrate PTO (Paid or Personal Time Off)
People must take time off to avoid burnout — it’s as simple as that. Leaders should realize that simply asking employees to take time off or referring to their organization as a “PTO-friendly workplace” isn’t enough. Leaders need to incentivize and celebrate PTO in order to encourage employees to take time off. Corporate leaders should compensate employees for time away from the office by giving them a predetermined sum of money as an incentive, or by including travel and vacation programs in the company’s benefits package.
Leaders must create a PTO-specific channel in the company’s workspace (or other collaboration tools) where employees can give time-off plans, ideas, or tips with colleagues, and proactively share (with the employee’s permission) non-work experiences on their company’s social channels to provide positive reinforcement for PTO both inside and outside the company.