We begin this article with an obvious, yet super fundamental statement: we are not robots. Since we are not robots, we can’t simply be turned off and turned back on in order to perform better.
Problems are real, life provides challenges, talented people get overworked, and these factors can raise stress on a personal level and ultimately hinder productivity in the workplace. There is no person or manager who can solve these problems completely for others; however, we can work on being more conscious of other people and their needs. In the context of work, managers can apply such values through company policies to reduce the effects of stress that can eventually accumulate to complete burnout.
We put together a list of 6 Actionable Tips to Prevent Burnout for Your Team as a means of helping your company on an individual level and collectively as a team.
1. Let People Be Themselves
For starters, one of the best things you can do is facilitate the tools and the environment for people to be themselves. There are limits, obviously, as it can’t be a blank check for people to run amok. However, you should want people to be and bring the best of themselves, that’s why they were hired in the first place.
There are so many stories with the basic moral: “be yourself”, but why?
Without getting too philosophical, it’s one of the most important lessons life has to offer. When you are yourself you can operate at your best personally, interpersonally, and professionally.
Furthermore, when this is accomplished for all team members, not only will productivity go up, but people will feel more like a part of the team, together, and that’s always a good thing.
2. Be Consciously Attentive
“Listen Pocahontas, unless you put your ear to the ground, you’ll never hear the buffalo coming.” - Me, Myself, and Irene
If you can appreciate the movie reference, kudos.
Being aware of the state of mind and emotions of your team is supremely important. One of the most challenging parts of having a finger on the pulse is getting to know them, and getting to know their tendencies.
When someone is “off” or when there is tension between two team members, you can tell, and it’s crucial to pick up on those subtle differences in order to address them properly. It will be a lot easier to recognize those differences if you are attentively conscious as a leader.
3. Grab the Bull by the Horns - Address Issues Directly and Quickly
When those types of problems arise in the workplace, they must be addressed head on, period. That may require an uncomfortable conversation or making difficult decisions, but it is better to nip it in the bud than to let it fester.
A disgruntled coworker can be quite cancerous not just to themselves, but to others around them. Obviously you can’t resolve their personal issues (if that’s the root of the issue), but you can be conscious of them and address what you see with a meaningful conversation. This goes a long way not just for reducing burnout, but more importantly as a human moment. Strong employee relationships are invaluable for a company’s culture and ultimately productivity.
Be proactive as opposed to being reactive.
4. Work-Life Balance
Another very important way to be proactive in preventing burnout for your team is encouraging and creating a healthy work-life balance. This can be done in many ways, and companies apply a variety of policies to facilitate this for their employees.
Here are a few ideas to promote a work-life balance at your company:
- Company Yoga Classes Once a Week
- Compensating for Employees’ Gym / Activity Memberships
- Contribute in the Local Community with Volunteering
- Facilitate Working Remotely
- Restrict Working Hours for Employees
- Encourage Taking Time Off to Disconnect / Vacation
5. Half-Day Fridays
As an extension of rest / vacation time, we also highly recommend implementing half-day Fridays in the schedule for your employees. It allows for more time during the weekend to reset batteries. It also sends a message for company culture, as if to say: we’re here to work, but we also really care about you and your personal time as well.
To further drive this point home, Spain, Sweden, New Zealand, and Japan have all proposed (and plan to test) four-day work weeks for their citizens. If capitalist sovereign nations are thinking about implementing this, it carries some merit, to say the least.
6. Be On Top of Your Game
This last point is more of a reminder than anything else. In order to do your job well, you have to stay on top of it. That means consistent effort and attentiveness. That means practicing what you preach. That means remembering to give yourself rest as well.
Aside from the points about time off to disconnect from work, the others are about being a good leader and being mindful of your coworkers. While they are simple concepts in theory, in practice they are another animal, but they can all be done and they can all be done well with desire and practice.
Are there any specific methods you apply to your company? We’d love to learn from you as well.