It’s been a weird spring. And no matter what line of work you’re in, your employees have been strained and overworked. Whether you’re an essential business and your team had to put their lives on the line, they were stuck at home homeschooling their kids, or isolated from friends and family, they’re probably exhausted and could use a vacation. But we’re probably a long way from that.
Employee burnout can be a dangerous thing. It can destroy productivity and crush your team’s morale. As a manager, it’s up to you to gauge your employees’ stress levels and combat burnout when you need to. Stress, fatigue, and exhaustion can all lead to burnout if they’re not dealt with. When you sense your team is burning out, here’s what you can do about it.
Help yourself first
You’re in no position to help anyone if you’re not right yourself. So prioritize your own health. Eat healthy meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep at night, and find some sort of spiritual or mental outlet—prayer, meditation, or seeing a therapist. This will put you in a better place to help others as you’ll be able to see and think more clearly. Additionally, you’ll be able to dole out better advice. You can speak from experience instead of making something up. People will respect the example you’ve set, knowing that you speak truth.
Suggest some team exercises to help alleviate stress. You don’t have to go to a yoga retreat in the mountains and live in yurts for a week or anything, but consider launching a campaign to share stress relief techniques. Or learning how to meditate as a group. Or encouraging midday workouts or outdoor time. Just make sure you’re not requiring anyone to participate. If people feel forced to do something, they’ll feel burnout even quicker.
Go easy on them
Be compassionate towards your team. If you’re too demanding or firm, with excessively high expectations, your team will feel that constant pressure. Even the nature of technology with 24/7 accessibility can cause undue stress. So, without encouraging laziness or complacency, go easy on your team. Give them breaks from time to time so they can achieve a work-life balance.
Drive home the mission
People tend to burn out more when they don’t feel driven. They’re working and working without a clear mission and they’re starting to wonder what all the effort and strain is really for. Make sure you’re clearly and frequently communicating your vision so everyone understands what they’re working to achieve. Celebrate successes and praise hard work and emphasize how each person contributes to the overall health of the company.
Be the leading supporter
It’s your job to be the optimist, the cheerleader promoting positivity even in the face of disaster and setbacks. Recognize their hard work and thank them for it. And be prepared to stand up for them to the higher ups if needed. Sometimes that excessive workload is coming from upper management and you might need to step in and protect your team. Remind them that your team is already working hard, they’re committed to the mission, but they might need a little break.
For more advice on helping your team manage their stress and transition from lockdown, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com.
Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh