Over the last two years, many employees feel like they have been working non-stop as the Covid-19 pandemic forced workplaces to adopt a work-from-home structure. With this shift from set office hours to online working, some employees believe that the lines between work life and home life have blurred, leading them to think that they cannot log off once their day has ended.
The pandemic and the measures are taken to contain it have taken their toll on workers, with 70% of employees reporting experiencing burnout. Lack of time off and heavy workloads are the top contributing factors to those feeling the effects of burnout. This is a cause for major concern for managers and workplaces as employee engagement is directly tied to business results.
Hogan Assessments – the global leader in personality assessments and leadership consulting, has highlighted three areas that employers can examine and address to ensure that their employees are happy, engaged, and well-looked after to avoid the weight of burnout.
Personality is key when it comes to work and burnout
Research conducted by Hogan suggests that the pandemic hasn’t changed people’s personalities but instead has only heightened certain traits that already existed. For example, if someone is extraverted and enjoys the more social aspects of an office setting, their priorities haven’t changed.
The isolation that comes with working from home could be having a detrimental effect on their work. At the same time, someone more introverted might thrive in a work-from-home atmosphere and get more of their tasks completed when they don’t have the added distractions of working in a shared space.
Employers must work with team managers to avoid burnout and not place unnecessary stress on employees during their return to the workplace. Encouraging open dialogue between managers and team members will help build a more flexible hybrid scheme that will generate maximum productivity from the people they employ.
Employees who choose to continue to work from home may feel the need to put in extra effort or hours as they are not as closely monitored; it is, therefore, important to keep a particular eye on this with regular messaging to remind them that their regular workload is more than enough. Putting in place a system that encourages open and honest discussions between employees and managers will help employees feel seen and heard and that their needs are being addressed.
Stress management is vital to easing the impact of burnout
An excess of stress can often cause burnout. Covid-19 has led to employees feeling an increased pressure to disguise any difficulties they experience when coping with both the stresses of their job and the stresses of the pandemic. With only one in six workers feeling like their mental health needs are being sufficiently taken care of by their employers and workplace.
An individual’s experience with burnout can often be traced back to how well they manage stress. A Hogan Development Survey can be used to understand better how individual employees manage stress, as those who internalise stress are more likely to feel the effects of burnout. Using tests can help companies make better decisions to help their employees better manage their time workload, and avoid stress.
Helping to guide more innovative policy and decision making within the company’s management structures to prevent the effects of burnout and help those already suffering to better recover from them. A vital tool in the fight against burnout is reminding employees about all the mental health and support systems available to them within their company and encouraging them to reach out to HR should they need to access them.
Burnout is less likely to occur when people whose personal values line up the most closely with those of the company are hired. However, a company must also lead by example. Unless management demonstrates the values, they want to see from their employees, they are at risk of being the driving factor behind unhealthy work practices.
Making work-life balance a priority within a company is key to addressing burnout. Acknowledging employees’ overtime is important and reassuring them that this is not the standard that is always expected of them. Permitting employees to log off once their workday is over might not seem revolutionary. Still, it is important as that fact has been forgotten or pushed aside by many workers throughout the pandemic.
‘Employer response to burnout can no longer be reactive. Employers must start proactively addressing burnout before it happens. Companies must pay close attention to employee engagement data to see who may be most at risk of burnout within their organisation.’ adds Dr Ryne Sherman, chief science officer at Hogan Assessments.
‘For those suffering from burnout, consider setting up weekly individual check-ins with team members so that managers know their workloads and any potential overtime or additional actions that may need to be taken. Providing more structure will help set expectations and reassure your team that they can get the support they need.’