To be sure, the pandemic has changed not only where work gets done for many of us, but also how work gets done. As if most of us weren’t plugged into our electronic devices enough prior to the pandemic, since then, there has been an even greater shift towards keeping our eyeballs glued to the screen.
According to the Microsoft Work Trend report, there has been a significant increase in time spent in front of screens. For example, time spent in video meetings has grown by an average of 10 minutes, while time spent in the firm’s Teams application (a hybrid video/chat app), has more than doubled over the past year.
Productivity levels have remained high, yet Microsoft’s study reveals that the majority (54 percent) of workers feeling overworked. In fact, study after study show that the combination of being “always available” for work and the social isolation the pandemic has caused has resulted in serious employee burnout. If left unchecked, it’s likely that these feelings will become more prevalent, resulting in greater absenteeism, health issues, and poor job performance.
For employers, it’s important to take preventative steps today to help address any feelings of exhaustion or burnout employees might have. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Offer Mental Health Support
Burnout is a purely psychological phenomenon that comes from constant pressure with little release. Some times it’s caused by the workload itself, but it can also be caused by other issues and sources of stress in an employee’s life, such as their family life.
To that end, it’s a good idea to provide employees with mental health support. This could be an outsourced helpline where they can talk directly to a mental health professional whenever they need to, for example. Another option is to make a list of valuable mental health resources openly available to your workforce. This could include phone numbers to various mental health hotlines
Some of the best employees will put their needs after everyone else’s, including the needs of their job. While having people like this on your team is great for productivity, it can take a toll on employees who behave like this.
To that end, it’s a good idea to promote self-care among employees. This can include things like making sure employees are taking breaks, helping them stay connected to family and friends, and encouraging them to stay active. It’s important for employers to go the additional mile here, as practicing self-care doesn’t always come naturally to some people.
Find Ways to Reduce Workplace Pressure
While most managers want to see their direct reports performing at top levels 24/7/365, that’s not realistic or feasible. In fact, managers should be encouraged to find ways to reduce workplace stress among their team members. That could be redistributing workloads, but it should also include periodically reviewing expectations and roles, developing clearer guidelines about how and when work gets done, and developing rewards that embody a work-life balance (everyone wants more PTO, for example).