How to Prevent Employee Burnout

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Steps to Reduce and Prevent Employee Burnout

As a nation we are far more aware of mental health problems now than we ever have been in the past. Whether this is due to the mental havoc wreaked by COVID as it swept through our lives and for many wiped out everything they’d known before. It could also be a result of high-profile people speaking up about their own struggles – we can’t gauge accurately. Whilst the UK is well on the road to recovery, lots of people are still experiencing workplace burnout and the concept of ‘pushing on through’ isn’t one that’s acceptable any more. Companies have to identify how to prevent employee burnout. 

Working parents and frontline medical staff are two groups where this burnout is most commonly seen. It tends to be characterised by three elements: mental detachment from work, feeling emotionally or physically exhausted and a reduced ability to perform at work. Mental health training for employees is a constructive step towards tackling this issue.

1. Reduce stress levels

Burnout is the result of prolonged exposure to stress, which is why reducing stress levels in the workplace is such a key element. There is a set of management standards which are the proverbial ‘gold standards’ to aspire to. If they are present and carried out correctly, they:

  • Allow assessment of the current situation using pre-existing surveys, data and other techniques.
  • Demonstrate good practice through a step by step risk assessment approach.
  • Promote active discussion and a cohesive working environment.
  • Help to simplify the risk assessment process for work-related stress, by: accurately identifying the main risk factors and helping employees understand the underlying causes of their stress. Look at how to prevent stress from worsening and provide a measuring stick by which organisations can assess their performance in tackling key causes of stress.
 

The standards also cover key areas of work that are associated with lower productivity. This can cause poor health and increased accident and sickness absence if not effectively managed. These are standards include:

  • Demands on the employee (workload, etc.)
  • Control over their working life.
  • The support they receive.
  • Their relationships with co-workers.
  • Their role.
  • Any negative material change to their working life.
 

Following a period of time when much of our lives felt so out of control, allow and encourage employees to look after themselves by taking regular breaks. Getting outside during daylight hours can also have a dramatically beneficial effect on their mental wellbeing. Working from home is a great way to encourage a positive work/life balance. 

2. Allow people to recharge

The average worker had 14 days of unused holiday last year. It’s therefore no surprise that a global survey by LinkedIn found that the number of employees experiencing burnout symptoms increased by 33% in 2021. Recharging doesn’t have to involve a major, long-haul holiday (though that would be nice!). Ensuring that there are regular opportunities to experience downtime is enough. After work habits are important too – if employees are at work all day, do they properly switch off in the evenings? Or are they constantly monitoring their emails? By helping employees to draw a line between work and home you can help boost their resilience levels. People are far more capable of enduring a tough day at work if they know that they can shut the office door and leave it all behind them when they go home.

3. Cultivate a proactive, caring, burnout-free culture

Don’t wait for people to come forward for support, make sure that they know that extra support is available as and when they need it. Tell your employees that it’s OK to not feel OK. If they’re struggling in work, let them know there are processes in place to help them manage their stress levels more effectively. As part of this, ask about their homelife routines and levels of exercise, etc. The idea is to gently encourage things that send a clear message that their wellbeing is a priority in their daily life.

4. Provide psychological assistance

There are not as many opportunities for talking to others about what we’re experiencing these days, and for the most part people tend to mask any mental health problems that they’re suffering in the workplace for the sake of putting on a professional front. Possibly spurred on by a fear that they’ll lose their job if they show any signs of not being able to cope. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that employees know about any talking therapies available to them. It’s a great idea to offer the opportunity to have a group, or one-off session, with a psychotherapist to help equip them with the tools they need to maintain their mental wellbeing. By making this a proactive measure, rather than a reactive one, it reduces the stigma associated with discussing mental health issues.

5. Promote positive thinking

There are not as many opportunities for talking to others about what we’re experiencing these days, and for the most part people tend to mask any mental health problems that they’re suffering in the workplace, for the sake of putting on a professional front. Possibly spurred on by a fear that they’ll lose their job if they show any signs of not being able to cope. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that employees know about any talking therapies available to them. It’s a great idea to offer the opportunity to have a group, or one-off session, with a psychotherapist to help equip them with the tools they need to maintain their mental wellbeing. By making this a proactive measure, rather than a reactive one, it reduces the stigma associated with discussing mental health issues.

Contact Us

We are the right people to speak to when it comes to mental health training for employees. We have the knowledge and experience to put your business on the right course when it comes to understanding the needs of employees and mental health. Contact us today to find out how our courses can help prevent employee burnout.

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