A lot has changed since everyone was last in the office together. Personal relationships have broken down while others have accelerated at rapid speeds as new couples form ‘bubbles’. People have been isolated from their family and friends, and many have sadly lost loved ones. Parents are facing incredible stress over their childrens’ education and wellbeing. Most employees have experienced significant life changes that will no doubt affect their work. And perhaps worst of all, we can’t get away from it all with a much-needed summer holiday.
Employee burnout is real, and it’s becoming a very serious and urgent issue that employers must face head on as workers begin to gradually return to the office.
Even before the pandemic, employee burnout was a growing concern. But now, it’s more worrying than ever. It’s estimated that globally, employee burnout could have increased by 15% as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. And, according to McKinsey, burnout is now one of the most commonly reported employee concerns, coming second only to exhaustion, and beating both pressure and exclusion.
Some employees are dreading going to work. They’re overwhelmed by having to juggle their professional tasks with the massive changes taking place in their personal lives, and they’re finding little joy in the industries and roles that they once loved.
The burnout situation became so concerning just before the pandemic that the World Health Organization added ‘Burnout Syndrome’ to the International Classification of Diseases in 2019, describing it as ‘chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’. According to the WHO, symptoms of burnout include:
● Reduced energy or feelings of exhaustion
● Feeling distanced from work, or feeling negatively towards a job
● Lower levels of productivity and reduced professional outcomes
So… what are you doing to fight it?
If you answered ‘nothing’, you’re not alone. In a recent survey, 69% of respondents claimed that their employer was doing nothing to improve their work/life balance or wellbeing. The good news is that it’s not too late to start offering more support.
Preventing Employee Burnout
What’s the best way to prevent employee burnout at this difficult time? Of those 69% that said their employer was doing nothing, around one quarter agreed that focusing on wellness, wellbeing, and mindfulness would be the most valuable tactic for them.
By investing in these areas today, employers could help to protect their organisations in the future, boosting employee morale and satisfaction and reducing absences and turnover, which is expected to become higher than ever once things are ‘normal’.
Here are a few ideas employers can try to better support their staff:
● ‘Pop Up’ Holidays
Also called ‘wellness days’ or ‘self care days’, pop up holidays are additional paid days off, usually offered to all employees. The BBC reports that pop up holidays are becoming increasingly common in the US, with the trend expected to make its way across the pond. Some businesses are introducing surprise ‘no work’ days, allowing employees to socialise in the office, while others are adding an extra hour to lunch breaks once a week to create more balance. It’s essentially a much-needed ‘reset’.
● Zoom Bans
At the start of the remote revolution, digital tools like Zoom were hailed as pandemic superstars. But we’re all starting to get a bit tired of them, right? There’s even a name for it: Zoom Fatigue. On video calls, employees have to verbalise every thought in the absence of non-verbal communications, which is draining. So is the act of simply being on camera for those who don’t feel comfortable working in this way. Consider introducing an asynchronous working policy, and leaving Zoom just for socialising.
● New Policies
Consider creating a new out-of-hours policy so that employees know that there is no expectation for them to respond to emails or pick up the phone during hours that they’re not working. This shifts expectations and makes it easier and indeed normal for employees to switch off at the end of the day.
● Adopt New Technologies
Technology can be a huge help when it comes to preventing employee burnout in the new normal. Digital tools can be used to host 1-2-1 meetings to give employees a chance to air their thoughts and frustrations, rather than keeping everything to themselves. Email can be used to deliver employee pulse surveys for feedback. And if you’re not already using apps to deliver a broader range of employee benefits, now is definitely the time to explore this further. Two areas to focus on include:
➔ Health benefits, such as fitness tracking apps that encourage physical activity, or access to online therapy or support sessions to facilitate good mental health.
➔ Financial benefits that put employees in control of their money. Apps such as MyEva help combat financial pressures exacerbated by the pandemic.
The wellbeing of your employees should be at the top of your list as an employer in the post-pandemic landscape. A high satisfaction, low stress team is essential for navigating the new challenges posed to us today, and ensures we’re always offering the very best.
Learn more about MyEva
MyEva is a digital financial wellbeing expert designed to support employees with their financial wellbeing by helping to improve their financial situation with independent personalised guidance and advice.
Follow MyEva on LinkedIn today to discover how Employers are improving the financial wellbeing of their Employees.