Every manager dreams of having a team full of hard-working employees, people who, on a daily basis, come in engaged, focused and prepared to reach all of their goals. And while everyone can appreciate employees who are very productive, there is a fine line between productivity and burnout when we talk medium to long-term. Unfortunately, that line is not hard to cross. All they have to do is start believing they have to work longer hours, even though business hours were over a few hours ago.
Perhaps there are managers out there that don’t want to realise this is a rising trend. In 2015, a report from Workfront “State of Enterprise Work” analysed the working hours of more than 600 employees. 52% of them have said they work longer not to catch up with assignments but actually to get ahead. This statistic raises a number of questions:
- Do employees think this is what is expected of them?
- Where does this feeling of working longer hours come from?
- Are employees trying to avoid getting overwhelmed by work?
Perhaps an even better question would be:
- Why don’t managers acknowledge this?
Managers have the responsibility to establish an environment where employees know and feel that they appreciated for their efforts instead of constantly questioning themselves and think they need to put in more and more work. Although the latter scenario may sound ideal, it is as clear as day that it leads to exhausted and even burntout employees.
Your business may be flourishing, but if you do not have any workers left to run the operations smoothly, employee turnover levels may change quickly. If you feel your employees have been neglected or have been overworking themselves, it may be time to take action and prevent anyone from quitting. Here are a few quick steps to implement in order to boost morale and bring back engagement at respectable levels.
Employee attitude shift
When employees start getting exhausted and frustrated about their workload, their attitude starts to drift towards a more negative perspective on work-related issues. Perhaps you have noticed some of your workers being angry and extremely irritable with frequent outburst towards their colleagues. It is a very clear sign they are over-worked and over-stressed. They may require some time off work or if deadlines are piling up the manager should be directly involved in dealing with day-to-day tasks and activities.
Higher working hours/week
In the vast majority of companies, the typical employee works more than 40 hours per week, more often than not it goes beyond 50 hours. In John Pencavel’s Stanford study, he has discovered that productivity reaches its maximum potential at around 49 hours, after that it dips down dramatically. If your workers are constantly working over 50 hours a week, it may a clear sign of exhaustion. Long hours lead to lower engagement levels, frustration and eventually burnout, so it is essential that the manager checks the average working hours put in by his team. Also, try and encourage your staff to work more reasonable hours in a week.
There are situations in which employees do not use up all of their vacation days. This typically happens when they are over-burdened with work or they feel they haven’t pulled up their weight in the past few weeks or months. This where the HR department has to keep a close eye on employees, who do not use their vacation days in order to relax and decompress. A quarterly review of this situation is imperative so that companies avoid burnout employees.
Increased employee turnover
It is common knowledge that stressed and exhausted employees are always susceptible to quitting. Obviously, this happens because employees have stopped being happy and they start seeking other employment opportunities. Providing flexibility for their work schedule can go a long way to reducing unwanted stress. Some people may be excellent workers during the early hours of the morning while others are night owls; allowing your employees some leeway with their schedule can be a simple way to create a happier and more productive work culture. Also, provide your employees with a Goals and Objectives document. This enables you, the manager, to have discussions with your staff regarding new projects or deadlines in order to mutually determine project priorities, shuffling due dates and rebalance workloads.
“Unplugging” from work
This has to start from the manager exclusively, by avoiding sending emails or texts during night time. Managers have to show faith in the importance of their employees’ life. A life in which they work, they have time for their hobbies and time to rest. Everyone needs to detach from work, which nowadays automatically means to spend time away from our smartphones and gadgets.
Bottom line is, there has to be respect for the people who work for you. It is essential for the manager to provide work for his employees, tasks that are challenging and exciting whilst at the same time making sure they do not overload. With the right balance and tension between projects can help create a wonderful working atmosphere with properly engaged and motivated employees. Managers should be mindful and keep an eye on for various signs that their team might reach the burnout point. Employees tend to keep their thoughts and ideas to themselves, afraid of what might happen if they confront their managers. This is why it’s up to the managers to observe and adjust any unfair situations that may develop in the workplace.
Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.
Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.
Request a free demo: