In the past, companies refused to invest in human resources because employees are only regarded as means or tools to get things done. Being such, their needs, mental health, and overall well-being are not given much importance. For as long as they perform and deliver what is incumbent upon them, they get to stay in the company. If the time comes that they could no longer deliver, they’re easily let go.
What management in the past failed to consider is the fact that their employees are also human beings who can get demotivated, frustrated, and burnout at work. Yes, these people get paid for their services, but the company also has a moral obligation to provide them with a safe and healthy work environment. Also, when employees experience burnout, that means that the employer failed to make good of such moral obligation.
But how can you say that an employee is burned out? An article published by the Western Governors University defines job burnout as the physical exhaustion an employee feels at the end of his workday. It includes detachment and cynicism from customers and colleagues. Unfortunately, no matter what the cause of the burnout is, it’s not something that people can normally get over as time passes by. It’s an impactful and challenging reality that may lead to numerous negative consequences affecting all aspects of one’s life.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Job Burnout?
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), people experiencing job stress and workplace burnout symptoms are usually affected in the following manner:
- Excessive stress
- Higher risk for type 2 diabetes
- Higher risk of contracting heart disease
- Higher risk of dying before reaching the age of 45
- Higher risk of experiencing respiratory issues
- Higher risk of having high blood pressure
- Mental health problems
- Physical health issues
Aside from these, they are also more prone to experience work withdrawal symptoms, substance abuse, and depressive symptoms. From these alone you can infer that the repercussions of job-related stress are extremely serious, hence, shouldn’t be taken lightly.
6 Ways to Manage Work-Related Stress
As a leader or manager, you can do so much to manage the work-related stress your employees might be experiencing. However, before you can fully address and solve it, you need to mitigate its ill effects on employees and the organization. To help you get through this process, here are six ways of managing employee burn-out and stress.
Identify Employees Who Need Help
Look around and observe the people you’re working with. If you suspect that someone may be struggling with work-related stress, reach out right away and call them for a one-on-one meeting. If you can schedule the meeting face-to-face, set it in a private conference room away from prying eyes. Your stressed-out employee might find it alarming why he’s called over for a meeting, so be sure to set the agenda straight. Share what’s on your mind and ask them earnestly if they feel overwhelmed with work. Make the environment casual and non-confrontational to establish an air of trust.
Once they share their predicament, also ask them how they think their situation can be made better. If they’re exhausted, ask them if going on a paid leave would help them recharge. Ensure that they’re amenable to the solution you come up with. And while they’re working on their mental and physical health, casually check-up on them to see how they’re doing.
Send Out an Employee Survey
It takes two to tango. Your proposed solution may not work if it’s unilateral. Since your employees are the ones feeling the stress, it’s best that the solution you come up with emanates from them. To do this, draft an employee satisfaction questionnaire where they can answer anonymously. In the same survey, ask them how they feel about their job, what their challenges are, what motivates and demotivates them, and how they can get over work-related stress. This survey may just be a piece of paper, but it can give you valuable insights into how your employees are feeling and faring at their jobs.
Plan Out Your Usual Workload Delegation
Be more thoughtful about how you divide and distribute assignments and tasks to your team members. Letting one or two employees work on a huge chunk of the job because you think they can handle it best might not be a good idea as this can burn them out. Plus, they can also get overwhelmed by the sheer size of the task. Also, if they see that others are not contributing as much as they do, they might feel they’re less favored.
Manage your team’s strengths by assigning tasks that will make them shine. Also, regularly check on them to see how they’re holding them up with their tasks. If a team member feels overwhelmed with his task, consider bringing in another employee to share the burden. If you treat your team members with respect and consideration, you can significantly lessen the chances of them getting burnt out.
Evaluate Your Leadership and Management Style
Have you ever found your employees automatically silence themselves every time you show up? They may be having fun mingling with each other, but as soon as they catch a glimpse of you, the mood suddenly stiffens. Sometimes, employees get stressed because of their bosses and not because of the job at hand. If you love to micromanage and nitpick on everything your employees do, they might feel stressed out because of you.
Being rude towards your employee is not the only way you can stress them out. As simple as contacting them on weekends, after work hours, or when they’re on leave can affect their disposition towards their job. Also, if you are fond of assigning huge tasks before the last one has been complied with, your employees might feel that you’re deliberately wearing them out.
Check on yourself and the way you manage your people. Are you toxic? Do you always yell when you talk to them? Or, do you shame them publicly when they commit a mistake? If you identify your lapses, make an effort to change them to see favorable changes in your employees’ disposition.
Make Your Workplace Fun and Safe
Have you ever felt like dragging yourself to work every waking day? If yes, then you would understand the feeling of employees who aren’t happy and secure in their workplaces. These negative feelings can pile up and later cause the employee to feel severely stressed. To keep this from happening, try cultivating a healthy, fun, and safe workplace. Perhaps you can institutionalize weekly meetings wherein you commend employees for a job well done. You can also encourage them to share their ideas freely without fear of being targeted and shot down.
Cultivate an Inclusive and Non-Discriminating Workplace
It’s rare to find companies that don’t discriminate against race, color, religion, sexual preferences, and educational attainment. However, if you can promote a more inclusive culture within your own organization, you will see how these changes positively impact your employees’ disposition. You see, even if you have employees who are prejudicial to another, if they see the company and their leaders showing a positive attitude towards inclusivity, they will emulate your ways. So, try building an open and accepting work environment and see the stress levels of your employees significantly lower.
What’s commendable with companies nowadays is that they don’t shy away from extending awesome benefits to their workforce. From being mere war mercenaries, employees are now viewed as valuable resources who can help the company achieve its purpose. Such a view encouraged employers to invest in the well-being and health of their employees. You can emulate this view within your organization. You may need to invest time, money, and effort in your workforce, but the gains you can get from their increased productivity will be higher than your investment.