An overworked employee is an unproductive employee that will ultimately impact your company. They may be working longer hours or performing more tasks, but their speed and quality will suffer. Burnout is becoming a bigger problem than unemployment, and various countries are addressing the issue in interesting ways.
As an employer, it’s important to recognize some of the signs of this physical or mental stress and how you can avoid it.
1. Taking Many Sick Days
An employee that seems to be taking a lot more sick days than usual could be a burnt out employee. Figure out what may cause these absences and use that info to mitigate the problem. Your employee may need reduced hours or a somewhat lighter workload, for example. It’s possible that the sick days are not really for physical recovery, in which case you may need to have a private conversation with the staff member and how their performance is hurting other team members. You don’t want a room full of employees whose number one priority is just being at work. Try to look for physical signs of illness or exhaustion; some employees may really need some rest but may not want to ask for it.
2. A Decrease in Socialization
Socialization, whether it be on breaks or occasional “micro-breaks” during work, is an important part of the office environment and worker productivity. If you notice an employee is not engaging with his or her coworkers as much as they ordinarily do, it’s possible this person is experiencing burnout. Take this person aside and check what the issue might be and assure them you are there to help. Your office should be a place where staff can enjoy jokes and conversations about stimulating, non-work subjects.
3. A Lot of Overtime
While some overtime is a good thing and can help employees catch up or just feel more productive, too much of it will hurt overall performance. If you notice that one of your employees is constantly staying late after work, it’s possible he or she feels they never provide enough quality work during regular business hours. Speak to them about these issues and give serious consideration to either reducing their workload or putting them in a different area. An employee is under-performing in one category may have a skill set that will shine if they’re attached to a different project or task. Be upfront with them so you can reach a resolution that benefits your company and your workers.
These are just a few ways you can recognize and combat the scourge of employee burnout. It’s always in your interest as an employer to take good care of the staff and their needs; doing this will increase positive mood, work environment, and efficiency in the long-term.