Look at just about any business and you’re going to find that the most productive and expensive resource over the life of operation is the employees. Some business owners feel that staff can be a necessary evil, only needed until automation can replace them; but employees are central to company growth, expansion, and increasing market capability. Like any resource, some employees are far better than others, which almost automatically draws more work and more attention to them to keep performing. This eventually causes burnout.
This problem is not anecdotal either; 40 percent of employees state that workplace burnout is the top reason for leaving their current job and looking for another one. Unfortunately, the cycle repeats itself because as soon as a person finds a new role, he or she typically ends up doing the same kind of work with the same challenges leading to another round of burnout. Add in the fact that companies are making it harder and harder for anyone in a decent salary range to take a meaningful vacation for fear of losing their job, and burnout is inevitable from lack of rest.
Take a Break
Rest and stress relief are essential for health and physical rejuvenation. Chronic stress far exceeds any other workplace injury today both in cost and the number of cases. Stress is a major driver for workers’ compensation costs going up, particularly for mental health. Stress is also a major contributor to discipline problems and breakdown of team solidarity in the office. This directly impacts productivity.
Rest and breaks from a fast pace office is essential for high performers to give their minds a chance to slow down and recoup. Memory, the ability to learn, adapting under pressure, intelligence and productivity all see measurable, repeatable increases when an employee gets a chance to rest and rid their body of the effects of chronic stress.
Support in the Workplace
The second big change needed is to create a supportive workplace versus maintaining a grind. People love careers; they leave jobs. If a workplace just feels like a necessity for something as mundane as a paycheck, that employee is going to jump ship as soon as she finds a substitute location paying the same wage or better. This is why a supportive workplace that encourages rest and vacation just as much as it encourages high performance is key to retaining people. If normally energetic and productive employees seem to be in a slump, there could be outside factors at work. Here are some ways to support your employees and teams:
- Be open to communication
- Encourage employees to be honest about situations that are causing burnout
- Be sensitive to issues employees are facing in their personal lives
- Allow for sick days and paid time off
- Implement a work from home policy
- Keep reasonable work hours
- Allow and encourage full one-hour lunch as well as 15 minute breaks throughout the day
Employees will want to come back to work if their contributions are valued. Workplaces that frown on vacation or criticize those who take time off risk losing their best workers. The value of money begins to fade quickly when employees spend every waking hour in the office.
Performance That Counts
A work environment that has clear performance objectives puts everyone on the same playing field. When metrics are released it becomes obvious whose role is not functioning right. Too often, however, companies measure performance by attendance, which has nothing to do with the actual work done. Focusing on sales performance, production, and projects completed are far better measurements that people will strive to contribute to.
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