Ongoing work-related stress often leads to burnout, affecting productivity, motivation, and even physical and mental health. Although some occupations are more susceptible than others, workplace burnout can happen to anyone. In fact, Deloitte research found that 77% of people have experienced work-related burnout.
Preventing employee burnout starts with a solid strategy and a management team dedicated to employee wellness. As an employer, this guide can help you navigate the steps necessary to avoid workplace burnout and improve employee health and productivity.
How to Prevent Burnout in the Workplace in 7 Easy Steps
Active support from employers and management can lead to higher job satisfaction and overall wellness. We explain in detail how the following steps can curb workplace burnout:
- Invest in a corporate wellness program
- Get a solid team on your side
- Provide flexible working options and schedules
- Prioritize effective management
- Leave plenty of room for advancement
- Give employees a voice
- Encourage team bonding
Burnalong is corporate wellness software that helps employers manage wellness programs for their employees. Its inclusive classes, motivational features, and simple management tools make it ideal for companies seeking an easier way to blend productivity and wellness. Request a free demo of Burnalong to try it for yourself.
Step 1: Invest in a Corporate Wellness Program
Workplace burnout isn’t new, but it may be increasing. APA’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey found that workplace-related physical fatigue increased by 38% from 2019. The need to address employee health before burnout is there, and corporate wellness programs could be the answer.
Corporate wellness programs can improve physical and mental health by targeting healthy habits. These programs give employees access to educational resources, goal-setting help, and classes and events that motivate them to lose weight, reduce stress, stop smoking, and more.
By adopting a wellness program in the workplace, you let your employees know that their well-being matters and that the healthy habits they have in their personal lives are just as crucial at work.
The first step should be putting an individual or team in charge of your company’s wellness program. Your wellness team can assess the company’s current policies, note areas of improvement, and bring ideas to decision-makers.
They’ll also be responsible for detailing, overseeing, and implementing a corporate wellness strategy. Corporate wellness software can assist with the overseeing part, as these tools can do everything from recommending classes to tracking each employee’s progress.
An excellent option is Burnalong, which is a digital health and wellness program specifically designed with inclusivity and overall wellness in mind. Regardless of your team’s abilities, goals, and needs, Burnalong can meet them wherever they are.
The Burnalong platform includes access to online fitness classes, meditation training, support for health conditions, and science-backed wellness tips. Employees can also connect their fitness wearables and track their progress through their online portal.
Burnalong ensures that your wellness program connects with your company’s culture, too. Teams can connect with one another through social communities and participate in challenges and events to cheer each other on.
After implementing corporate wellness software into your workplace, you might consider creating a rewards program to incentivize workers to focus on their physical and mental health. For instance, design a points system with redeemable points for rewards or offer additional time off for top performers each quarter.
Step 2: Get a Solid Team on Your Side
Workplace burnout often occurs when your employees have more responsibilities than they should have. This can happen when you need more people to delegate various tasks to, causing employees to pick up work that isn’t necessarily in their position’s scope.
First, identify the reason why you don’t have enough people to carry out your business’s tasks without feeling overwhelmed.
Is the hiring manager dropping the ball? Are you cutting too many financial corners? Is high turnover an issue? Once you’ve pinpointed the issue, you can develop a strategy to correct it.
For example, a budgeting issue requires meeting with your accountant or financial department to see where you can make room for more help. A high turnover rate may require you to makeover your hiring and training process.
As you work to correct significant bottlenecks in your hiring process, you might consider turning to freelancers to take some of the load off the shoulders of your employees.
Freelancers typically specialize in a specific skill, like graphic design, marketing, or recruiting. Unload the tasks that are most overwhelming to your team right now onto skilled freelancers until you find the right candidates for more permanent roles.
Your business can also keep a few freelancers handy for occasional, as-needed work to cater to the ebbs and flows of your business, especially if you tend to have seasonal peaks and plateaus.
Once your team settles into a routine, be sure to set and adhere to clear boundaries and duties for each employee and freelancer to prevent overlap and potential burnout in the future.
Step 3: Provide Flexible Working Options and Schedules
The University of Michigan’s Human Resources department explains the importance of flexible work for modern workers: increased productivity, higher satisfaction, and better overall employee health. Giving your team options is one of the best things to do as an employer.
The following are a few ways you can promote flexibility in your working environment and scheduling processes:
- Offer remote and hybrid opportunities: Allow your employees to work remotely when possible or set hybrid schedules for a blend between in-office and at-home work. Research shows that 87% of employees use one of these options when they’re available.
- Provide childcare services or reimbursement: Parents with children may need additional options to allow them to balance their personal lives with work. Consider having an on-site daycare service, letting parents transport their children to and from school without penalty, or offering reimbursement for childcare during work hours.
- Make the office more flexible: Socialization in the workplace can strengthen relationships and team morale. Make the office as adaptable to your employees’ needs for socialization as possible. Have private space for work that requires little distractions and common areas where employees can collaborate and socialize.
- Have a flexible time-off policy in place: Flexible time off (FTO) can include various types of leaves, like parenting leaves, bereavement leaves, or personal days. FTO policies give employees more control over when they take time off without the risk of backlash from their jobs. Create an FTO policy that gives employees the time they need to focus on their families, themselves, and their health while still meeting your business’s needs. For instance, you might specify a maximum amount of FTO allowed during each quarter.
Step 4: Prioritize Effective Management
The happiest employees and workplaces have effective leaders who know how to keep things moving without being overbearing. To create a healthier and more productive work environment, businesses should start with their management team.
Effective leaders typically have excellent communication skills, allowing others to voice their opinions while actively listening and sharing constructive feedback and ideas. They also understand how to resolve conflicts, make crucial decisions, and remain transparent.
Perhaps most importantly, effective managers don’t hesitate to recognize employees when they’ve done something to deserve recognition, even if it’s as seemingly insignificant as showing up on a challenging day.
If your leaders don’t fit the bill, that doesn’t mean they can’t get there. But, it may be time to implement a training program that targets decision-making, transparency, collaboration, and respect in the workplace.
In addition to training, you can find opportunities to invest in your leaders. For instance, you might pay for them to participate in workshops and events where they can become inspired by respected leaders. Or, offer continuing education reimbursement that encourages them to keep striving to become better.
Business owners should also be mindful of the impact they have on their management teams. Leading by example is one of the best ways to boost overall company morale and, therefore, performance.
Step 5: Leave Plenty of Room for Advancement
Most people won’t be truly happy with their jobs if they feel like they’re not working toward anything attainable. Research shows that a leading reason determinate factor in career happiness is the availability of advancement opportunities.
Tuition reimbursement, certification programs, and company-sponsored webinars and workshops can all promote professional development and advancement. Hosting or paying for employees to participate in networking events can also be helpful.
Even with these benefits in place, businesses should develop in-house pathways to advancement, leaving the doors open for proven candidates to enter new positions at the same company. Internal promotions not only save businesses time and money resources, but they also give employees a reason to have goals and work hard to achieve them.
An employee development program helps businesses and their employees work together to create a professional development strategy. In the plan, the employee states their professional goals, and the business lists resources and steps to assist the employee with those goals.
This program can tell businesses which people are interested in various positions while outlining specific steps to help those employees get closer to advancement.
This ongoing document should be updated regularly—at least once annually—and can be amended as an employee completes or changes their goals.
The example of an employee development plan below comes from SlideTeam. It names the employee’s goals for improvement and lists the company’s resources and plans to assist that employee.
With an employee development plan in place for each employee, your business creates pathways to success. Be sure to appoint a person or team dedicated to conducting periodic reviews of each plan and holding meetings with each employee to ensure company adherence.
Step 6: Give Employees a Voice
The workplace should be a safe place for employees to voice their concerns, offer suggestions, or ask questions. Most importantly, they should feel comfortable sharing what they need to without being judged or penalized.
Open communication policies can help workers express themselves authentically and feel like valued members of the workplace. Both of these can lead to a higher level of psychological well-being and, therefore, a reduction of potential burnout.
Using a tool like The Happiness Index can be a smart move for encouraging constructive workplace communication. The platform collects anonymous feedback and data from surveys so that workers can safely share their opinions while companies can gain insight into how their workers feel.
Hosting regular meetings is also important for facilitating face-to-face discussions, allowing workers to bounce ideas off one another. Workers can also validate one another with their questions and concerns during these meetings.
Step 7: Encourage Team Bonding
A bonded workplace can become a happier workplace. Building connections between employees and leaders can lead to a healthier workplace culture with a foundation of respect, understanding, and even friendship.
There are many ways to encourage your teams to bond that go beyond traditional holiday parties or networking events. Instead, think outside the box for both everyday bonding activities and occasional excursions that strengthen teams.
For example, your office might host a weekly or monthly bonding session with varied activities. Your team might play a group game like Telephone that can get everyone laughing or host a monthly field day with activities like sack races, flag football, and laser tag.
Scavenger hunts, compliment circles, and social lunches are also simple everyday activities that can bring workers closer together and boost their overall workplace happiness.
Final Thoughts About How to Prevent Burnout in the Workplace
Workplace burnout happens when employees are overwhelmed with responsibilities and workplaces lack effective management, communication, and bonding. Prioritizing employee health and wellness should be a primary responsibility of all business owners.
To prevent burnout in the workplace, consider investing in a corporate wellness program, offering flexible work opportunities, and hiring and training the right leaders. Also, encourage advancement with clear employee career plans, and give workers a safe space to voice their ideas and concerns.