First, let’s define what burnout is. The term was first used by an American psychologist, Herbert Freudenberger. He explains that burnout is the consequence of a very high stress level in the workplace. Burnout has at least three characteristics: exhaustion (lacking energy), cynicism (lacking enthusiasm), and inefficacy (lacking confidence and unable to carry out tasks).
In the United States, the expense of health care for treating burnout has reached USD 125 – 190 million per year. It denotes how serious this matter is. Moreover, burnout also costs companies greatly due to low productivity, high turnover rate, and losing the best talents.
There are many articles talking about burnout prevention and treatment out there. However, those articles tend to blame employees personally for not being able to control this and that. There’s something missing, something that is rarely talked about: companies and organizational culture impact employees’ physical and mental health significantly.
How can companies be responsible for burnout? Is there something we can do to prevent that from happening? Let’s find out!
A leader should be able to create a healthy working environment. Every staff would like to be treated fairly. Exhibiting favoritism to one staff over the rest will demotivate the majority in a ripple effect.
No matter how professional an employee is, they are still human. Jealousness, anger, fear, and worry happen a lot in business, but when the company gives them unfair treatment the emotions amplify.
So, if the management would like to appreciate an employee, do it logically. Consider how the manager’s actions affect other employees.
Related article: Compensation: The Appreciation of Employee Performance
It’s quite obvious. Too much workload can cause stress. So, what can a manager do?
Review and monitor the tasks assigned by an employee. Don’t keep stacking up tasks if the previous one has not been completed. Managers often assume if the employees are not complaining, they are doing okay.
Be sensitive if employees show signals of pride or too afraid to say ‘no’. If the managers have built a trusting relationship with the employees, they wouldn’t hesitate to admit that the workload that they have is enough.
Lack of autonomy and flexibility
Autonomy is a crucial element that boosts employees’ motivation. If a team is missing autonomy, productivity will be disrupted. Often times, companies tend to control too much and place no trust in them.
It is very unhealthy to restrain them and bring no benefit to the company. Instead, here is what management can do:
- Give them a chance to make their own decision
- Encourage self-initiated behaviors
- Listen to their opinion
- Encourage a sense of responsibility
- Avoid micromanagement and giving reward or sanction based on work based on desired job behaviors.
Lack of communication and support
One of the biggest problems in communication is having the illusion that communication has taken place. It can be:
- Managers and employees are not having enough time to communicate effectively
- Managers and employees think that their communication is adequate
- Both parties are not listening to each other.
Poor communication happens when the sender does not convey the message properly and the receiver does not retrieve the message well.
It’s better if the managers spare some time to communicate, answer the inquiries, give them support, and listen to them.
Unrealistic time pressure
Are you comfortable working with unrealistic, constant, unrelenting deadlines? If the answer is no, most employees out there will say the same thing.
Urgent tasks will always be there- that’s business. However, you can manage it wisely. Before handing out an aggressive timeline, you should review these three things: goal, resource, and pattern of the urgent tasks.
Is the purpose of working under tight deadlines solely for completing important tasks? Or, is the word “important” lives only in your head before confirming when the tasks should be done?
Also, pay attention to the pattern. Are the tasks coming when you’re preparing a quartal meeting or when someone important is going to visit your office? If you can find the pattern, you can allocate resources, distribute tasks, and manage it hassle-free in the future.
Burnout is in face unavoidable. However, management can always reduce the frequency or minimize the impact by adopting technology such as Timesheet Management Software that can distribute and monitor tasks effectively.
It’s time for companies to contribute more to employees’ wellbeing which will return with an increase in productivity.