At one time or another in your career, you have likely felt exhausted as a result of your work. Generally, this feeling can be cured with some well-deserved time away from the workplace. In a leadership role, you not only need to look after yourself, but you also need to ensure that those around you are being taken care of. Burnout in the workplace is not good for anyone. Not only is it detrimental to the individual’s health, it isn’t good from a morale or productivity perspective. Be mindful not to overburden your employees. The reality is that good employees often get more work added to their pile. These same employees may have trouble saying “no” or identifying that the workload is becoming too much. This situation will not be sustainable and will eventually lead to – you guessed it – burnout. When people are exhausted, they will be less productive and will be at greater risk of going on a wellness-related leave. Now, some vacation time may be all that someone needs in order to feel refreshed. However, if the workload or other factors don’t change, they won’t “recover” from burnout in this environment. Another potential risk is that the employee will seek alternate employment. How can you ensure that your employees aren’t at risk of burnout? The following are a few tips:
• Don’t overload employees with lots of extra work. As best as possible, ensure that the workload is shared among employees.
• If certain employees aren’t pulling their share of the work, deal with that issue separately. The solution isn’t to bombard your good employees with these extra tasks because certain employees are unable to meet the demands of their own job.
• Watch for changes in employee behavior. If an employee is normally upbeat and positive, yet there demeanor has changed recently, find out if work is contributing to this shift. And if the change is due to non-work related issues, assist him or her in problem solving the issue and/or redirect as needed (for example, if you have an employee assistance program, urge the staff member to reach out for assistance.)
• Encourage employees to take time away. This contributes to a healthy work-life balance, and has the added value of maintaining your organization’s vacation liability at a reasonable level. As well, ensure that some form of coverage is in place for employees on vacation, to ensure that they don’t come back to a mound of work.
• Ensure that employees are not working an excessive amount of overtime. Sure, there will be instances when some extra hours are needed from employees; however, this should not be the norm.
If being overworked is part of your company’s culture, it will be difficult to retain employees, which will lead to a constant state of recruitment. By hiring even one extra staff member, you may create an environment where the workload is reasonable and people want to stay with your organization. And yes, this extra employee will add to your payroll costs, but if leads to a healthier, more stable environment, it will be well worth the investment.
Ensure that you are creating an environment where your employees are set-up for success. Monitor your workforce (and train your managers to do the same) to ensure that employee burnout isn’t an issue that’s plaguing your organization.