How to Prevent Burnout in Your Team
Burnout has become increasingly common in the digital age as the division between work and leisure blurs. This is partially due to buzzing smartphones and working from home scenarios. When burnout strikes you’ll see productivity dip. In severe cases, you may lose employees entirely, wrestling in costly recruitment and retraining processes. By monitoring your employees’ patterns of work and supporting them to maintain a work-life balance you can prevent burnout, keep productivity high and reach business success.
1. Keep An Eye On Overtime
One of the main indicators that someone on your team might be heading for burnout is overtime. So, monitoring this amongst your employees is absolutely essential. In the EU, businesses are now legally obliged to monitor overtime. But, you should be doing it anyway if you want to prevent your team from burning out.
Keeping a close eye on overtime will enable you to understand the habits of your team. And, crucially, it lets you intervene if someone ups their workload suddenly. Keep on the lookout for situations where overtime moves beyond the odd day towards a deadline into the realms of entrenched behaviour. If a team member is habitually working beyond their usual hours, they may be heading towards burnout.
If an employee becomes a serial overtimer, then it’s time you take a closer look at their workload. Has something changed on their projects, precipitating additional effort from them? Or do they feel the need to prove themselves as a hard worker? This is a dangerous attitude that can often lead to burnout. Taking on a pastoral role is an essential part of leadership. Understanding why someone is working in the way they are is the first step towards helping them build a healthier working pattern.
2. Balance Work Across The Week
The way that your team distributes their tasks across their week can have a surprising impact on their wellbeing at work. For a while, front-loading the week with crucial tasks has been fashionable. This enables workers to handle the things that matter most with a huge amount of energy. This can be effective for a time. But if your team is habitually packing their Mondays with complex and stressful tasks, they may come to dread the start of the working week. Further, exhaustion can build up over a couple of days. This may lead to a drop in motivation down the line. Ultimately, people will work in different ways. But, understanding the costs of certain work patterns is essential in avoiding burnout.
Whatever patterns people want to work in, it’s essential that as a team leader you are aware of how they’re structuring their week. Ensuring that there’s clarity about how tasks are being prioritised and organised will enable you to spot any unhealthy habits developing. Digital tools that let your team visualise how their work is organised can be beneficial. Choking points of stress are often easier to spot on a chart. Keep your team’s week balanced and they’ll stay happy, healthy and motivated.
3. Keep Them On Work They Enjoy
It’s inevitable that we’re going to have to pitch in with some admin from time to time. But menial tasks can have a cumulative effect on someone’s professional wellbeing. Because these tasks aren’t mentally demanding it’s easy to overlook their impact on a team member. Things like catching up on paperwork, organising meetings or handling logistical details are all quick, easy and low-effort tasks. But the truth is that if your day becomes increasingly filled with menial tasks you’ll struggle to see the value in what you do. If your team sees their work as lacking in meaning, their self-motivation will quickly drop off and burnout can rear its ugly head.
Luckily, you can leverage digital tools to free up your team’s time to work on what they love. ‘Whether your paperwork can be streamlined or you can introduce shared digital calendars to reduce time-consuming scheduling, this process should start by talking to your team,’ says Alexander Smith, L&D Manager at Ukwritings and Academized. ‘Find out which tasks they detest, and find solutions that let them focus on work that inspires them.’
4. Support Your Team’s Independence
One of the biggest mistakes a manager can make is losing sight of the individuals. Their lives and commitments are the components of your team and its output. Respecting the autonomy of your team member’s personal lives is an inherent part of ensuring that they feel valued. The lives that people lead outside of work can have an enormous impact on their productivity at work. So, it’s in the interests of a business to support a team member’s personal lives.
Allowing your team some flexibility in organising their work and even their hours will allow them to balance their work commitments with their personal life. The impact that this has on their wellbeing will be enormous! This way, they can arrive at work motivated and with a deep sense of value. If team members feel like their leaders and managers are supportive of their personal life, they’re likely to avoid burnout and stay healthy at work.
5. Take A Break!
Everyone needs a break sometimes and that’s what holidays are for. The opportunity to get some space from your daily tasks can boost your team’s creativity and motivation upon their return. The longer your team members work without a break, the higher the likelihood of burnout occurring.
This is equally important for teams where remote working is prevalent. When people work from home it’s even easier for a culture to emerge where people feel like taking time off is an admission of weakness. As work and leisure bleed into one another, a holiday can feel like an extension of the working day. Ensuring that your team takes their full holiday allowance will allow them to return energised and ready to go.
Avoid Burnout By Supporting Your Employees
Burnout is a killer of productivity and motivation. When a team member burns out, it can cost a business heavily. Supporting your employees’ well-being is a win-win. Happy and healthy employees will bring greater creativity and more energy into your business. With these whip-sharp employees, your productivity will soar. So, avoiding burnout is a good business strategy.