05 Jul Are Your Employees Feeling Burnt Out? How You Can Turn Things Around
Many employees had their first taste of working from home, or somewhere other than an office or traditional working environment, over the past year. Some may have quickly adapted to the new situation, while others might have struggled to adjust.
After a year in this “new normal,” even your most enthusiastic and product work-from-home employees might be feeling a little boxed in and isolated. They might be stressed out and not quite themselves — classic signs of burnout.
But how can you help these employees when you don’t see them, in person, every day? And how can you tell when burnout is setting in?
Here are some ideas to help.
Help establish boundaries.
One of the most challenging hurdles for some people to clear is the idea that working from home means work is always just a few feet away. Remind your employees that they should only concern themselves with work-related matters while they’re on the clock — unless there’s some emergency or urgent situation, clearly spelled out in advance, that would require them to be on-call. After hours? Don’t worry about that phone call or email. It can wait until tomorrow. There is work time, and there is home time. Also, encourage them to make sure their workspace is physically defined, as much as possible, to help compartmentalize the different parts of their day.
Talk about schedules.
Some people are early risers who like to get up and get going. Others are night owls who really hit their stride in the afternoon. If you have an employee who seems to be struggling and having difficulty concentrating at different points of the day, talk about whether a flexible schedule might help. For example, if their position is one in which they don’t need to work 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or other more standard office hours, try shifting things around a little.
Employees who feel burned out are more likely to take a sick day than those who don’t feel as stressed or isolated. These mental health days should be encouraged if you see someone having a hard time or if an employee comes forward and admits to struggling. This will help your employee feel supported and cared for, reminded that they matter, and decrease the odds that they’ll feel trapped in this position. Tell all your employees that they are entitled to their time off, that you’d rather them take a day off and relax and refresh themselves, rather than work to the point where they want to quit. Also, remind them that they need to take their lunch breaks and encourage them to use that time away from their computers and phones. Taking a short walk can do wonders!
Check-in with employees one-on-one.
Show that you care by taking the time to call. Whether it’s an individual video call or offering the option for a voice call to give them a break from the omnipresent web camera, set aside time each week to call your employees and see how they’re doing. This is a good practice to embrace for any remote employees, at any time, but for those who have been isolated for long stretches of time, it’s a good way to reconnect and have a chat without always thinking about the next deadline or major project. In addition, a short call can make a person feel important and worthy of their manager’s attention.
Communicate deadlines and priorities clearly.
If an employee seems stressed, is having a hard time concentrating, and they’re underwater with projects, talk about their project list and priorities. See if something can be shifted to someone else or if they have more time. That little bit of breathing room, combined with the clarity of knowing when something is absolutely needed and due, can help restructure a person’s day and give them a stress break.
A good manager and boss want to make sure they’re getting the most and the best out of their employees, and that means knowing your team well enough and caring about them enough to provide help when they need it. This year has been hard for all of us; your team deserves a little break. Working from home is still work!
Partner with LeadingEdge Personnel
If you need additional advice on how to connect with your remote employees, or if you’re looking to add to your team to ease the collective stress, contact LeadingEdge Personnel today. We have highly qualified job candidates with the skills you’re looking for, and they’re ready to start work quickly. Call LeadingEdge today, and let’s get going!