A Manager’s Guide to Preventing Your Team from Burning Out
More than three-quarters (79%) of UK workers have experienced burnout, with 35% reporting high or extreme levels, according to new research. [source]
Burnout is a big concern for any manager. It lowers performance and morale and interferes with job satisfaction. The World Health Organization has deemed it an occupational hazard, and new findings from MetLife UK state that over 10 million workers in the UK have taken sick days due to feeling burnt out, which could potentially be costing businesses more than £700m a year.
So how can you keep your team energized and engaged?
Learn how to recognize and respond to signs of burnout in yourself and in the employees you manage.
Preventing Burnout on Your Team
You've probably read headlines about the Great Resignation, as millions of employees voluntarily quit their jobs. Exit surveys are detailing burnout as the main reason for people leaving their jobs and research has highlighted that the top three causes of burnout were given as; increased workloads (49%), mental health challenges (34%), and pressure to meet deadlines (32%).
But if you’re proactive as a manager or team leader, you can help your team to enjoy more balance and maintain your staffing levels.
Try these tips:
1. Be alert.
While many employees have their own definitions of burnout, the official classification depends on three symptoms. Those are exhaustion, cynicism, and decreased performance. Recovery is easier if you can spot signs early.
2. Monitor workloads.
Set realistic expectations and watch workflows to see if anyone is having trouble keeping up. Use staff meetings and one-on-one sessions to adjust assignments as needed.
3. Encourage healthy boundaries.
Remote and hybrid work can make it more difficult to keep business matters from spilling into your personal life. Encourage employees to take precautions, like creating a designated workspace and avoiding excess overtime.
4. Reward innovation.
Feeling appreciated counts too. Give employees credit for effort and creativity even when some experiments are less successful than others.
5. Provide flexibility.
Arranging work differently could help employees to manage their responsibilities more effectively. Explore four-day work weeks, hybrid work, and job sharing.
6. Ask for feedback.
Use surveys and other tools to learn more about what your team members really want. Their priorities may be different than you think.
7. Build community.
Focus on inclusivity and team spirit. Establish ground rules for civil communication and respectful conflict resolution. A congenial environment reduces stress and strengthens connections.
8. Hire carefully.
Employees are less vulnerable to burnout if they feel like their company shares their values. Make cultural fit part of your hiring criteria. Talk with a professional recruiter if you need more guidance on understanding and implementing the process.
Preventing Burnout in Yourself
As a manager, your example has a big impact on your team. Investing in yourself makes you a more constructive role model.
Keep these ideas in mind:
1. Set personal goals.
Heavy workloads feel lighter if you’re passionate about your work. Reflect on the purpose behind your activities. Spend more time on the aspects of your job that you enjoy. Give yourself targets to strive for.
2. Practice self-care.
Look after your health and wellbeing. Eat healthy, and exercise regularly. If worrying about your job keeps you up at night, try sticking to a consistent bedtime even on weekends.
3. Think positive.
Project confidence and stay calm under pressure. Let your team know that you recognize their strengths and praise them for their contributions. Use appropriate humor to lighten up tense moments.
4. Seek support.
Cultivate relationships inside and outside of your workplace. Join professional associations and find a mentor. Spend time with family and friends. Ask for help when you need it.
5. Consider counseling.
What if you’re still stressed, but unable to quit your job? Talking with a therapist can help you develop coping skills and identify factors you can control.
Burnout may be an epidemic at the minute, but as you can see from the above, there are practical steps you can take to help your team and yourself.
Ultimately, it is about recognizing when you or others are at risk of becoming overwhelmed and then taking action promptly to begin the recovery process.
Need help with this issue?
Beverly is passionate about workplace well-being and mental health. In 2010 she secured £25,000 of funding to undertake a project into The Impact of Organisation Culture on Mental Health.
This fuelled her passion to work with organisations developing their team dynamics and behaviours, building self awareness and trust within teams. Beverly works with organisations to help them develop their employer brand, culture and behaviours to establish "the right fit" for the business.
She is passionate about burnout and the importance of providing career management early intervention for people at risk in the workplace. Her ambition is to create the stressless organisation!
Passionate about personal development, Beverly has mentored entrepreneurs through Entrepreneurial Spark. She also mentors Business Owners who are stuck but ready to move to the next level and take action to achieve clarity and focus.