May 20, 2014

How to Combat Employee Burnout

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woman stressed in office with post-its stuck all over herAfter completing a bachelor’s degree everyone looks for that perfect job. Sometimes even a little eager to take work home because the position is just that perfect. After a few years constantly staying engaged at work is exhausting. Management positions with emails, phone calls, meetings, small talk at the water cooler… by the end of the day nothing sounds better than sitting at home. Organizations experiencing employee burnout notice higher levels of absenteeism, turnover, conflict, and job ineffectiveness. Ninety-one percent of Millennials don’t see the value of relaxation over work, which can greatly affect performance and burnout rates. Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report revealed that 70 percent of employees are disengaged at work… evidence of burnout in the workplace. It’s hard not to burn out, but there are tricks to staying busy and remain involved at work.

1. Know When Enough is Enough

When is enough, enough? Don’t push past it and don’t go too close. Lack of sleep, too much work, hunger, bring on the breaking point. Leave work at work as much as possible to reduce the threat of an impending breaking point.

2. Find Harmony

Finding reasons to laugh at work creates harmony behind the desk instead of stress. Laughter can lower blood pressure, heighten the immune system, and relax blood vessels. Relaxed blood vessels means no bulging forehead anger veins, which is a good thing.

3. Truly Unwind

When away from work, don’t think about work. Take a Friday off. Take actions to actively unwind. It not only uses up paid vacation, it is good for a healthy mind and a relaxed body. Not using vacation time could be hazardous. Even using breaks at work could help unwind after a long meeting or a strenuous project. Look away from the computer and take a gander outside, which can ease muscle tension (and let’s be honest, it’s nicer to look at).

4. Find Happiness

Look for things during the day to smile at, or even chuckle at. It takes just a moment to look at a funny GIF, or listen to a coworker’s horrible joke. But they are always worth it. Take time to find joy in the day. Therese Borchard explains the 8 Pillars of Happiness in the Workplace. They include balance, concentration, compassion, resilience, communication, integrity, meaning, and awareness.

5. Make Time for Time

When meetings, soccer games, phone calls, dinner parties, projects, reports, and emails take every moment of the day, it’s time to readjust schedules. Take time at work to have lunch with a coworker instead of eating at a desk. Sometimes scheduling down time is the only way to truly get free time.

6. Vacay Away

Everyone loves a good ‘staycation’. To really let loose and forget what’s waiting at work, leave. Change the surroundings. Some companies have taken vacation time to the extreme. Netflix allows unlimited paid vacation as long as employees finish their work. Since most people don’t work at Netflix, plan an “awaycation.” Go somewhere with mountains instead of walls or a spa instead of a desk.

7. Be Passionate

Find something to be passionate about. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about work. Find a hobby, or recover an old hobby. It provides activity at the end of the day instead of zoning out to the television; and it’s just as relaxing.

8. Exercise

Studies show exercise reduces stress levels, lowers blood pressure, and releases endorphins (the happy chemical). Companies like Nike and Centro have exercise rooms onsite, allowing employees to workout over lunch or break. Offer fitness classes in a conference room or gym memberships to employees.

Relax. Breath. Use these steps to stay engaged at work and away from work. It’s amazing what a good run, short vacation, or a new hobby can do for the spirit. Share these tips with employees. They will be happier, more engaged, and more productive. Management will be happy with the productivity of its employees.

What have you done to prevent your employees from the dreaded burnout?

Read more in Stress Management

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
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