Productivity losses and employee turnover problems only begin to describe the problems your company faces if you fail to take preventative measures towards burnout. Employees list burnout as one of their top reasons for searching for a new job. If you don’t create a culture that prevents burnout, your best talent might soon disappear.
The business world has begun to realize that employees must have ample time away from the job to dissipate stress and recharge their minds. Workers who have enough time off demonstrate higher emotional intelligence, better learning, and improved memory. People with sufficient rest also tend to feel a greater sense of happiness and fulfillment.
The following four steps to preventing employee burnout will improve the overall performance and profitability of your business.
Create a Supportive Environment
A healthy workplace culture will encourage employees to take time for themselves. Such a supportive environment contrasts with companies that disparage workers whose absence could adversely impact business projects. Counter any possible concerns your employees might have about taking time off by creating a supportive environment. Focus on fostering a results-oriented workplace that emphasizes outcomes rather than attendance.
As an employer, you should monitor your employees’ use of time off to make sure they do not feel overworked. If you notice a pattern of employees not taking their allocated time off, and showing productivity losses and other burnout signs, encourage them to take some time off.
You can also take a survey to find out what the company can do to encourage your employees to use the vacation time available to them.
Amid your efforts to prevent burnout from your workplace, don’t forget to lead by example by taking time for yourself, setting the tone for your entire company.
Make Vacations a Positive Experience
Many employees refrain from taking time off to avoid seeming lazy and worrying over possible job loss. Policies that promote the use of vacation time, for example, can make workers feel comfortable about leaving their work behind and focusing on their personal life.
Exhibit and encourage positive attitudes toward vacations. Talk with your workers about their vacation plans before they leave and follow-up when they return. When you do, you contribute to a culture that embraces time away from work, rather than relegating it as taboo.
You can also try implementing an unlimited vacation policy so that every employee can take as much time off as they need to recover. Such a system also enhances your appeal when you need to hire more employees.
Show Your Employees You Care
Demonstrate your concern for your employees by openly communicating with them. Encourage a workplace culture that values honesty and personal feelings. Make sure that everyone working for you can find your sympathetic ear whenever they begin to feel overstressed. Let your team members know that you care about the situations they face in their personal lives.
Stay on the lookout for signs of burnout. For example, if you see a change in energy or productivity, find out its cause. Employees with slumping performance might have stressful situations to deal with outside the office, so you have to make them feel comfortable and understood.
Actively combat burnout by making sure your workers know company policies for paid time off, sick days, and telecommuting. Thanks to technology, many employees can work from home as well as they can in the corporate office. This opportunity helps workers avoid burnout by improving their work-life balance. Telecommuters often produce more than their counterparts, making the practice a win-win proposition. Show that you care about your remote employees by insisting that they keep reasonable work hours and take the full amount of time allocated for breaks and lunch.
Be Realistic with Workload
You and your management team should make sensible work assignments that challenge employees without making them feel overwhelmed. If you don’t maintain realistic workloads, employees will fear that too much work will accumulate if they take time off. Pay attention to the distribution of work within your organization, and make sure your employees know they won’t have to work twice as hard when they return from vacation.
Your workload policies should avoid giving employees new assignments immediately before they leave for vacation. Also, your team members have to know they shouldn’t contact their colleagues during their time off. Simultaneously, you must insist that employees avoid spending any of their vacation time working.
Take care of your business by taking care of your employees. Make sure everyone on your staff understands the problems associated with burnout and then create a vacation-friendly culture that encourages your employees to take care of themselves. When you take a proactive approach regarding burnout, you communicate to your workers that you value them as human beings as well as for their contributions to your company.
Jill Phillips is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, who loves to share her insight on various topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps