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How to tackle work burn out

By Jocelyn Brown

July 17, 2019 - Staff retention and employee engagement is the cornerstone of any successful business, however research has shown that employee burn out is on the rise. 95% of HR leaders from a survey of 614 HR professionals stated that employee burn out was having a detrimental impact on workforce retention. Ensuring that employees are happy, healthy and can therefore meet the demands of the job is essential to the longevity of any business or organisation.

Avoiding work burn out is essential to ensuring a productive and thriving organisation. If staff are overworked this can be detrimental to the business. It is also a leading reason for the loss of many highly talented employees, as these are the ones most likely to burnout. If employee well-being is not managed successfully, this can result in a high staff turnover, absenteeism, decreased engagement and reduced productivity rates.

Identifying the signs of employee burnout

Employee burnout is defined as a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, some warning signals include: lack of motivation, irritability, frustration, anger, sarcasm, being argumentative, indifference towards work, exhaustion, head, neck or back pain and an increase in sick days.

When employees reach burn out phase they will struggle to handle pressures at work and will become inefficient, fail to meet deadlines and could lose interest altogether in their job. Work burn out can be avoided in a variety of a different ways, below are some steps that businesses can take to get the best out of their employees.

Clearly define job expectations

Job roles should be clearly defined as should the line of authority so the employee is clear on the chain of command and their role within it. A well-designed job description clearly defines all the key responsibilities and functions of the role and ensures maximum efficiency as each member of the team works in symphony with one another and the organisation at large.

Adjust the workload

Employees will feel anxious and stressed if their workload is too high for them to meet the demands of their role given the time and resources available. Creating a fair and manageable workload is therefore essential. Job responsibilities should be fairly distributed and performance goals communicated clearly to all staff from the outset and rewarded at appropriate intervals.

Set clear objectives

This is crucial to ensuring that employees remain focused and have both purpose and direction. Each individual should be aware of how their objectives contribute towards the wider vision of the business as a whole. Employees need to work towards an appropriate set of weekly targets and their efforts should be both rewarded and recognised.

Work-life balance

Striking a positive work-life balance will help keep employees recharged and motivated. Workplaces must ensure that employees get the downtime that they need to feel rested and happy so they can stay productive. Employees should take regular breaks to stretch their legs, go for short walks, and spend time socialising with employees where possible which is a great stress reliever. Taking walking meetings outside the building if possible would provide a great change of scenery and fresh air while staying focused and productive at the same time.

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