Why you shouldn't expect staff to be always-on.

Why you shouldn’t expect staff to be always-on.

Naturally, you want to maximise the efficiency of your staff during times of increased activity. How do you do this while not exhausting your most valuable assets?

How does employee burnout affect your organisation?


Every aspect of your organisation may be harmed by overworked staff, like:

– When workers are unable to take time out to learn new skills or adopt new processes, company growth falters.
– The Glassdoor effect: When a corporation is notorious for working its people to the bone, reputational costs ensue.
– When people lose interest in their work, morale plummets.

How to avoid staff burnout


It is possible for team leaders to help reduce employee burnout in the following ways:

1. Understand what burnout is (and isn’t)
Burnout is not the same as stress. To avoid burnout, teams must address six essential challenges:

Lack of control – not being able to decide how and when you work.
Lack of resources – Working under a lot of pressure and having few resources.
Lack of support from supervisors or coworkers – a lack of a feeling of belonging.
Lack of transparency – Excessive favouritism; hasty judgement
Lack of recognition – Little or no reaction; thank you’s are rare. 

2. Ensure mental security

Lack of psychological safety prevents teambuilding and encourages burnout. That staff may express their concerns, ask questions and be themselves without fear of being embarrassed or ostracised. There are several ways for leaders to develop psychological safety and hence trust in their employees:

– Being friendly and accessible;
– Defending and modelling company or corporate ideals;
– Getting everyone’s input and thoughts;
– Noticing someone’s presence in person or through Zoom, addressing them by name, pronouncing names properly, and inquiring about team needs and issues;
– Providing updates on any substantial changes to policies, objectives or procedures;
– Active listening, with plenty of questions and humble curiosity. “I’m fascinated about…” “Explain…” and “Tell me more…”
– Celebrating progress by reminding the team of frequent minor triumphs and accomplishments;
– Share personal tales, like how you overcome a difficult job problem, and urge others to do the same.

3. Identify the causes of increasing workload.

Problems with workload include insufficient peer help, too many meetings, insufficient resources and lack of collaboration. Regularly check in with your team to address these issues.

4. Make meaningful and impactful discussions a top priority.

A lack of discussion about the need for purpose and meaning in the workplace contributes to burnout. Make it an everyday conversation with your team until it becomes part of your routine.

Leaders should analyse how they define their professional goals and communicate this to their teams and organisations. Leaders should ask themselves and others: What makes your job meaningful? How can a strong sense of purpose and influence benefit your health? How can you collect and share these stories?

It’s time to refocus the discourse around burnout as a systemic issue that everyone must address. Leaders can create an atmosphere that reduces burnout and increases wellbeing. They should start today.

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

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