How Employers Can Reduce Job Burnout in 2023
Work conditions have undergone a tremendous amount of changes over the past few years, with remote work on the rise and a great reshuffle that saw turnover and employees changing industries.
Throughout it all, one negative trend has unfortunately persisted: Burnout. According to a recent Deloitte survey, 77% of respondents say they have experienced employee burnout at their current job.
Work-related stress has seen nearly all-time high levels, and as a result job candidates are already demanding a better work-life balance, more remote work, and flexibility to take care of their mental health and wellness.
An employer’s 2023 talent strategy must be proactive to mitigate job burnout to not further exacerbate retention challenges.
Here are strategies for how employers can reduce the risk of burnout, and in doing so, mitigate disruption, churn and uncertainty in the workplace.
How Employers Can Reduce Job Burnout
1. Create employee resources to help burnout
In the past, employee mental health was seen as something an individual had to solve with his or her own time and resources. It was seen as a personal issue.
Today, we know that mental health is a collective issue and impacts everyone it touches.
For example, if workplace stress is widespread, then it’s helpful to have stress-relieving resources available for anyone who needs them.
Employees will also have different preferences for how they access these resources, so employers can offer them in various forms.
For example, some employees may want to take group yoga classes, another may prefer using a meditation app when they have time, and another may want to speak privately with a counselor or staff nurse.
There are no one-size-fits-all fixes to mental health resources, so employers will do best by providing a variety of resources in different formats.
2. Consider reset days to avoid burnout
Disconnecting from work is vital to avoid burnout. Taking time off can foster a sense of renewal and give employees the opportunity to come back re-invigorated. But it doesn’t always play out that way.
Vacations can also be a sense of stress by causing employees to scramble to hit deadlines before it starts, keep checking email throughout the “time off,” and then continue to play catch-up after returning to work.
To prevent the stress of asynchronous vacation times, some companies have created “reset” days or even weeks, where the whole company shuts down for a period of time. That process can help employees fully relax, knowing that there aren’t emails and tasks piling up in their absence. While this may not be a permanent solution to burnout, knowing these respites are available can help provide more peace of mind.
3. Allow for employee flexibility to help burnout
Remote work was supposed to re-write some of the rules of working, allowing for greater employee autonomy.
That hasn’t always played out, and in some ways employees face greater scrutiny with software that tracks their movement at the keyboard to supervise productivity. This has often backfired and caused even greater burnout on the job.
Instead of micromanagement over time spent at a computer, employers can, instead, focus on output metrics. Freeing employees from strict controls also recognizes that life sometimes happens on “work hours,” and employers should allow for schedule flexibility as long as quality outcomes are being met. When employees can bend, they’re less likely to break.
Ultimately, burnout isn’t an individual problem because it can pull down an entire team’s attitude and performance, according to Harvard Business Review.
If not managed properly, stress and burnout can also be passed from managers to employees. This is especially a risk among younger employees who are taking on the added stress of becoming first-time managers.
For this reason, burnout needs to be addressed by the entire organization. It’s not going to improve without a systemic approach, and with the right strategies, the epidemic of burnout can start to cool.