6 Tips for Reducing Employee Burnout

Most companies recognize that their most important asset—above technology, operational efficiency, etc.—is their employees. Without a talented, dedicated team, businesses would flounder, and here’s simply no viable replacement for the services of a dedicated, hardworking employee.

That’s why it’s imperative that businesses be on the lookout for employee burnout. Burnout is a genuine threat not only to productivity and profits but to an individual’s well-being.Burnout2

Here at Baillie Lumber, we value each and every one of our team members.  striving at all times to foster a healthy workplace culture. To reduce the incidence of employee burnout, we pay close attention to what fosters productivity and high morale in the workplace. This awareness helps considerably in our recruitment and retention efforts.

Looking for ways to combat burnout in your workplace? Here are a few tips we found valuable in the pursuit of that goal:

Monitor for signs of burnout. One of the first things you and your management team can do is watch for signs of burnout. These include:

  • Repeated absenteeism
  • A general tenor of listlessness (or conflict) in the workplace
  • Little engagement with co-workers, in and out of the workplace, etc.

Remote workers are also prey to burnout. For many employees, it’s a “struggle to unplug,” notes the technology platform, Built-In. This leads to “long work hours and additional stress,” as well as “feeling disconnected from their manager and teammates.”

Eliminate excessive communications and meetings. Collaboration is a key element of effective business operations. However, when collaboration takes up too much time and resources, it can lead to employee burnout.

According to the performance management firm, CRG emPerform, this happens when “frustrated employees … find themselves shuffled from meeting to meeting, unable to focus on their work.” At the same time, a barrage of “emails, instant messages, voice mails, and conference calls take up emotional energy and mental space,” leaving little time or motivation to catch up on key tasks.

Look at your workplace culture and see where modifications can be made, in order to free up time and “mental space” for employees to perform efficiently.

Clarify goals and expectations. Employees can burn out when they succumb to anxiety regarding their work roles and managers’ expectations. Individuals need to clearly understand what’s expected of them, and that those expectations are reasonable, given available time and resources. Overworking your team is no recipe for success.

Encourage employee feedback. Concerned that one of your “rockstar” employees is burning out? The best approach is to invite this person to voice their concerns (without fear of repercussions) in a relaxed, informal setting.

Remember, your best team members may be reluctant to concede their current state of fatigue because they are top performers. But as CRG emPerform notes, “leaders should be prepared to listen and respond with solutions.”

Foster a healthy, positive workplace culture. One way to prevent burnout is by ensuring your employees can thrive in a healthy workplace culture. A key element of this approach involves continual, transparent communications.

Emphasize the value you place on emotional and physical well-being through your company newsletters, website, staff meetings, blog posts, and so on. Keep employees in the loop concerning the status of the business, thereby reducing or even eliminating some uncertainties in today’s marketplace—uncertainties that prey on the minds of employees, both with respect to your own organization and their changing roles within it.

We have found that effective and consistent communication to be especially valuable when trying to nurture the bonds between our team members, both within the office,  and at the concentration yard, or sawmill levels. 

Recognize the efforts of team members. Employee recognition can be a powerful solution to employee burnout. No one wants to work hard for eight or more hours a day and feel unrecognized for their efforts. (In fact, that lack of recognition can engender resentment, a drop in morale, and the desire to seek employment elsewhere.) Many types of recognition programs, formal and informal, can be implemented—along with ongoing messages of appreciation from the business owners and leaders.

We support our team member's efforts to reduce burnout on the job. At Baillie, we make clear that while maintaining strict adherence to customer service and delivery schedules is important, not everything always needs to be addressed immediately.

Whether it’s an inquiry on Hard Maple, Ash, or ripped-to-width lumber that comes in late at night, or landowner that reaches out wishing to speak with one of our foresters. Work-related demands are important, of course, and should be handled in a timely manner out of respect for our valued customers. But it’s in no one’s interest to push hardworking employees to the breaking point.

Protect your most valuable business asset by paying close attention to the health of your employees. This helps strengthen the organization today, tomorrow, and in the future.

What tips have you found effective in preventing burnout for your employees? We would love to hear your thoughts!

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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