All business leaders want a team of hard-working, productive, and efficient staff. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between employees pushing themselves to accomplish their best and staff struggling to avoid the threat of burnout.
Burnout is a common concern for a lot of today’s organizations. Though the frequency of office burnout has been increasing for some time, the issue has reached astronomical levels in the last couple of years.
Working from home, remote employment, and the restrictions of the global pandemic have placed more pressure on staff than ever before.
Burnout is bad for business because it often leads to high turnover rates, lack of engagement and innovation, and a higher risk of unhealthy employees.
Today, we’re going to cover some of the red flags in your organization which might indicate burnout and what you can do about them.
Decrease in Work Quality
Usually, the most common sign of burnout is a lack of high-quality work from your team members. When your staff feels overwhelmed (and overworked), they’re more likely to make mistakes in their regular tasks.
Even if the number of errors doesn’t increase, you may notice that staff aren’t as creative or independent as usual.
If you notice work quality beginning to suffer, arrange a meeting with your employee to find out where the problem is coming from.
The issue may be that your staff have too much on their plate. Reducing the workload may feel counterproductive, but a smaller amount of high-quality work produced each week is better than a large load of poor-quality work.
If your business is growing and team members are taking on more responsibilities, it may even be time to employ additional help.
Freelancers and contractors are often a more affordable choice than working with new full-time employees.
Poor Client Interactions
If your staff members are exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed, this will show through in their conversations with customers.
You’ll notice that many employees end up being much grumpier and less willing to go above and beyond for clients when they’re burnt out.
Pay attention to your customer satisfaction scores and how many people would recommend your business to their friends and loved ones.
It’s worth looking at employee confidence too. Studies show that burned-out staff members generally have 13% less confidence than their counterparts.
Encourage employees to take control of their schedules, so that they can have periods of rest between conversations with important clients.
It’s also helpful to remind your staff members of the impact they have on your company. Give them an insight into their customer satisfaction score, and make it clear how happy customers help your business grow.
A good way to keep employees motivated could be to give awards weekly or monthly to staff with the best reviews or satisfaction ratings.
Disengagement stands as one of the most common symptoms of team burnout. If your employees aren’t engaged at work, they won’t deliver their best work, contribute to meetings, show innovation, or deliver the kind of excellence your company needs.
It’s important to spot signs of disengagement as early as possible. The faster you notice the issue, the quicker you can work to get your employees in the right frame of mind.
Unfortunately, 78% of employers don’t know what makes employees disengaged.
Disengagement commonly happens when employees feel isolated from the rest of the team, uninterested by their workload, or unappreciated.
In today’s remote landscape, it’s important to make sure you’re frequently engaging your staff by getting everyone involved in business-wide meetings, updates, and announcements.
Keep your employees informed about your company and how it’s evolving, and give them a sense of purpose by regularly sharing brand values.
If your staff members seem like they’re not engaging in their tasks, ask them what kind of things they like to do most in their roles. You may be able to outsource or redistribute certain projects, so your staff can focus on what they do best.
Like disengagement, regular absences are another common sign of burnout.
Eventually, feelings of stress and overwhelm at work can lead to physical symptoms.
When your employees are exhausted and overwhelmed by too much work, they might end up suffering from migraines caused by screen exposure, sickness resulting from stress, and even problems with their immune system.
Stress has a huge impact on us from a physical and mental perspective. Aches, pains, headaches, and frequent colds are all signs that your staff is exposed to too much stress.
Look into why your employees usually take time off and think of ways you can contribute to their wellness.
One option could be to implement a health and fitness strategy into your company culture.
Encourage employees to stay fit by giving them discount gym memberships or access to healthy meal plans. Provide plenty of information on where teams can seek out help to deal with stress too.
Finally, if you find that tasks aren’t coming through according to deadlines due to issues like procrastination or simple slowness, this could be a sign of burnout.
When employees are overworked, they can struggle to deliver results on time, no matter how much effort they put into their tasks.
Exhaustion and stress increase the risk of project mistakes, meaning work needs to be re-done and edited multiple times.
Feelings of burnout can also mean your employees end up procrastinating rather than doing the work they should be focusing on.
If unfinished tasks are a side-effect of burnout, pushing your employees harder won’t be the solution.
Instead, you’ll need to look into ways of reducing your staff’s workload, delegating tasks more efficiently, or outsourcing certain projects.
Make the workload feel less daunting for your team, and you’ll see results in no time.
Don’t Ignore Burnout
As human beings, we all have our limits. No matter how much we love a role in our current job, there’s always a chance that excessive work and pressure could lead to burnout. As a business leader, it’s up to you to ensure that burnout doesn’t destroy your team.
About the Author
Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library with a hot cup of coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.
Also published on Medium.