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Support Your Employees to Shift From Burnout to Balance

Posted by Ann Roulac on Nov 3, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Ann Roulac

We are delighted to have our guest writer, Ann Roulac back again. We will be featuring her once a month to provide insights into having a purpose-focused business and life.


Burnout has long been a threat to the profitability of businesses, but the pandemic has made the situation worse. Feeling overworked and overwhelmed, many people are reevaluating their jobs and the impact stress and isolation have had on their overall wellbeing. Research shows burnout has become a major factor in many workers quitting and has contributed to the great resignation. Jennifer Moss, in her recently published book, The Burnout Epidemic, summarizes the costs to both humans as well as businesses.

“For over a millennium, we’ve turned the concept of burnout into tragically biased memes—those gray-washed stock images of a guy resting his head in his hand as he gloomily stares at his blank computer monitor; a single match with its flame recently snuffed out; a harried mom carrying three bags of jam-packed groceries while multiple kids tumble out of the van. And, in response to the stock photo way we see this serious illness, we’ll lose nearly $1 trillion in productivity globally each year, spend $190 billion in healthcare outlays, and 120,000 people will die from burnout in the United States alone.”  

A recent survey conducted by Workhuman  reported that 64% of people have experienced burnout in their career, and 41% of workers said that burnout happened in just the past few months. Stress and burnout were on the rise before COVID, but the pandemic has made things much worse.

  • Workers are now more likely to report mental health concerns than before the pandemic. 
  • American workers are not using their paid time off and average workdays have increased.
  • Burnout is causing an increase in mistakes, poor sleep habits, and a disconnection from family and friends.
  • Levels of stress, anxiety, and employee disengagement have increased exponentially.

These are all issues that impact the viability and profitability of business enterprises. Business owners who fail to create effective solutions are putting their companies at risk.

The Dilemma For Businesses

We all want our lives to be productive, rewarding, and balanced, yet few people today enjoy a lifestyle that gives them a sense of wholeness, let alone any sense of balance or control. Our information- and Internet-based economy and culture are overloading us with stimuli. The pressures to absorb, decide, respond, carry on, and keep up have created unprecedented levels of anxiety and stress. And yet, old methods of coping—drugs, vacations or a session with the shrink—are no longer working. If they were, then evidence of social, cultural, economic, and personal crisis would not be so prevalent. We wouldn’t be seeing such an increase in apathy or cynicism or feel the need to numb ourselves from reality.

Our busy lives leave little time for solitude or reflection, and whatever time we do have is usually spent seeking some kind of relief. It’s far too easy to become addicted to speed and the adrenaline high that comes with stress. Life in the fast lane compromises our health and financial resources, as well as our ability to make good decisions. When life is out of balance and we feel disconnected, we’re often not even aware that we keep making poor decisions. The more off-track and out-of-balance we become, the farther away we move from leading rewarding and meaningful lives.

Supporting Your Employees

The success of your business depends on how well your employees perform their jobs. Yet many businesses are struggling to meet their financial goals with a workforce that is disengaged–stressed out, checked out, and burnt out. The best way to retain and motivate employees is to support them to become more engaged at work. When employees are focused and on track, they bring their best efforts to work every day. If they are stressed or lack a personal compass, they won’t have the energy to help you drive the success of your business.

Unfortunately many organizations assume that their employees should be able to solve these problems on their own. But the reality is that the majority of workers do not possess the skills to work and live optimally during our current period of chaos and crises. It’s important for businesses to understand the differences between preventing burnout and supporting employee wellness. Burnout can stem from organizational cultures that aren’t prioritizing their employees. 

Many business cultures accelerate burnout when employees are working excessively long hours and putting their work ahead of family and personal priorities. Additional contributors occur within command-and-control cultures that cause employees to feel underappreciated, unsupported, and disrespected. The following seven tips are a good start in changing your culture to prevent employee burnout.

  1. Make well-being part of your culture.
  2. Create an environment where teamwork is prioritized.
  3. Continuously solicit employees’ ideas.
  4. Set realistic goals and expectations.
  5. Create work environments that provide for quiet spaces.
  6. Provide the resources and equipment that boost performance.
  7. Give your employees a break whether an hour off every week or a free day every month.

A key component of a well-being culture is to teach your employees how to manage their stress. When you support your employees to take time to identify what areas of their life are draining them of energy, producing the greatest amount of stress or compromising their personal health you are supporting their well-being as well as the success of your business. When employers express interest in employee well-being, workers are more productive, fulfilled, self-directed and committed to the business’s goals.

Becoming Purpose-Focused Will Prevent Burnout

One of the biggest boosts to tackling burnout is to support your employees to find more purpose and meaning in their work and personal life. Having worked with thousands of professionals, I’ve observed that those with a clear life purpose are not as vulnerable to workplace stress, burnout, and the pressures of day-to-day living. This purpose enables them to see the big picture, to step back and observe how their work environment is contributing to their personal growth. Supporting your team in the pursuit of their purpose is imperative if you want to remain successful and profitable. An article in Harvard Business Review, “How to Beat Burnout” stated:

 “Respondents said that (feeling a sense of purpose) helped defend against burnout at work. In fact, burnout scores declined as purpose scores increased: Twenty-five percent of people who felt a strong sense of purpose in their work had not experienced any burnout in the previous three months.“

 

People who are purpose-focused remain productive and on track in the midst of chaos and crisis. When employees understand how their participation contributes to the company’s success, they become more self-directed and committed to the business’s goals. Supporting your team in the pursuit of their purpose is imperative if you want to remain successful and profitable. 

 

If you'd like to learn more about Ann or her company, click here.

 

Topics: Personal Growth

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