A new report indicates that 41% of employees are burned out. As many team members continue to work in remote locations and feel isolated from their previous support system, managers should address the issue. A new book on burnout covers several steps managers can take to alleviate the pressure team members are feeling.
Burnout and Its Causes
Early in the pandemic, your team members may have behaved like employees elsewhere. They pitched in and helped. They wanted to make a difference in the battle against the COVID-19 virus and that desire caused them to work longer hours. That work pace was unsustainable. According to the Clever Real Estate 2020 Remote and Office Survey conducted in December, 2020, 41% of employees are burned out. And only 17% of these surveyed workers believe their employer makes mental health a priority.
Research shows that employees feel stress and eventually burn out when the following conditions exist in the workplace:
- Workload too heavy 47%
- Difficult to balance work and personal life 39%
- Lack of communication, feedback and support 37%
- Time pressure and unclear expectations 30%
- Performance expectations 28%
While team members working in remote locations tend to feel less burned out, drawing the line between work and personal life is a challenge for 63%. They often start work early, work late or finish tasks on the weekends when they should be attending to personal health and welfare. The restricted travel situation in 2020 also meant that many employees didn’t take their PTO.
Managers and Team Culture
One way to encourage employees to take PTO is to build a supportive culture. If one of your employees feels they can’t take a vacation because nobody will cover for them, change that notion. Prioritize tasks and then assign team members to back each other up during vacation times. You might also consider whether the employee needs to produce a specific report every week. Maybe the information could be compiled and reported every other week during vacation season.
Paying attention to PTO use isn’t the only tool managers can use to reduce burnout. In his review of Paul Davis’ book, "Beating Burnout at Work", James DaSilva writes, “burnout is not just an individual problem, it’s a systems-based problem.” Because team operates as systems within an organization, managers have the power to make a difference when it comes to mental health.
41% of Employees are Burned Out
If the organizational culture has typically frowned on admitting to emotional turmoil, managers can change that. When you mention the challenges you’re encountering in terms of balancing home schooling your kids and meeting work deadlines, you’re giving a signal. Your team members will see and hear that it’s safe to mention the problems they’re struggling with.
You might feel pressure from the company leaders to keep driving your team to achieve goals. But that doesn’t mean you need to pass on that pressure to your team members. Take care of your own mental health by balancing work demands with your personal needs. Then set an example for your team members by always taking a few minutes to engage on a personal level before you dive into work topics when you're having one-on-one meetings. And be prepared to help them prioritize tasks. If they don’t feel like every project must be completed by the end of the week, their burnout levels will improve. If you don’t take these steps, burnout will lead to errors and eventually to disengaged employees.