Pandemic Burnout Affecting Your Employees? Here Are 8 Ways to Prevent It

The rising casualty’s toll of COVID is a heartbreaking number that keeps getting bigger, but what about the hidden COVID tragedies? The extra stress, the mental health worries, and the concern over loneliness?

What Is ‘Burnout’?

Burnout has long been recognized by doctors as a form of stress that affects ambitious and motivated individuals.

The problem with ambitious and motivated people is that they sometimes find it hard to draw the line and take time out, this leads to serious stress build-up and eventually a sense of exhaustion and collapse.

That is when burnout is the most damaging.

Why Is Burnout So Damaging?

Burnout can affect anyone at any age, and it comes with its own set of affairs and anxiety. The most damaging can be the shame and sense of failure, especially in highly ambitious employees.

Burnout happens when people do not take good enough care of themselves and their mental health, but this can be avoided. Here are eight tips to help you facilitate a healthy working environment that can prevent burnout in your employees.

Ban Out of Hours Communication

This is a difficult thing to do, but it could be the single most important thing you do for your employees: ban out-of-hours communications.

A full-on ban might not be completely workable but sending and replying to emails and communication after the ‘workday’ has finished means that your employees are never really switching off and that they are at risk of overworking.

If certain teams, like your communications team, need to be active 24/7 to set shifts and are not expected to ‘cover’ all day every day.

You may want to consider installing a liv chatbot on your website to deal with out of hours communication; this live chat guide is a great place to get you started on this path.

Prioritize Tasks Amongst Your Team

If your team feels like it is falling apart during the pandemic, it could be because not everyone is equally pulling their weight, but it could also be because your whole team does not know what they should be doing from one day to the next.

We all need to figure out how to work and communicate better together, so take the time each day to ensure that tasks are prioritized and that everyone is taking ownership of their fair share. Foster a culture of asking for help, but do not allow one team member to take on more than their fair share while others slack.

It is a delicate balance, but that balance could prove vital.

Encourage Time Off

So many people are thinking ‘what’s the point in taking time off? I can’t go anywhere’, and that’s a negative headspace to get into.

Everyone needs a break now and again, and if you know one or two of your employees are flagging at the wheel or that they just haven’t booked any holiday time for a while, it’s time to be upfront about it.

Let them know that the team can survive without them for a few days and that they need some time with their family too, even if that means watching Netflix all day in their pajamas!

Host Regular Team Connect Meets

Do you care about your team? Do you truly care? It can be difficult to strike a balance between showing you care and being intrusive, which is why a regular connect meet is a great idea to keep everyone motivated.

The key to a connect meet is to make it semi-regular (usually once every two weeks or so) and make it optional to join.

If you feel like adding fun things like quizzes or team-building exercises, then go ahead, but the main value here is just allowing your employees a quick social meet with everyone else to let them know you are there for them.

Run Activity Challenges

The sedentary office lifestyle is unhealthy enough, but couples working from home and government advice to stay at home, and activity can take a nosedive.

For this reason, a good idea could be to run some activity challenges in your team. Things like a step count challenge, either using pedometers on the phone or you could get your team fitness trackers like the Mi Band 5, can add a bit of healthy competition and motivation to get moving.

Let Your Employees Push Back

No one likes to hear their employees say ‘no!’ but sometimes it is needed, and sometimes in inevitable.

Great leaders will not punish employees for pushing back and saying no when it needs to be said great leaders are more likely to praise employees for recognizing their boundaries and their limits.

Foster a culture of open communication and problem solving, rather than martyrdom.

Encourage Self Care

Self-care means different things to different people. It may mean getting a manicure once a month, or it may mean taking a long weekend to do nothing.

Whatever it means to your employees, it is really important to encourage them to take some time for self-care because happier and healthier employees are more productive and less likely to be affected by heavy stress and burnout.

To take this tip up a level, encourage employees to discuss their favorite self-care options in you connect meets, this will normalize ‘looking after yourself’ as a positive activity, and it may even give their shier members of your team a few self0care ideas of their own.

Be Flexible and Understanding

During these difficult times, being flexible and understanding is critical. You need to trust that your employees want to work for you, want to show up, and want to do a good job.

Once you have those three things down perfectly, you can be sure that your employees will notice and will give respect back to your company tenfold.

Understanding personal circumstances (kids at home, caring for an elderly relative, living alone, etc.) can go a long way to boost an employee’s sense of self-worth and boost their work ethic.