You may have heard the recent news: Burnout is now a medical diagnosis. It’s long been real to anyone who has experienced it. But the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), the World Health Organization’s handbook that guides medical providers in diagnosing diseases, now lists “burnout” under problems related to employment.
Wondering what the symptoms are?
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
In order for doctors to diagnose it, they must be sure these symptoms are related to work environments and not adjustment disorder or an anxiety or mood disorder.
Before your employees head to the doctor for a diagnosis of job burnout, make sure you have these stress management implements in place:
Have Regular Check-In With Your Employees
The most important way to avoid work burnout is to have regularly scheduled feedback sessions with your employees and ask them point-blank if they’re happy in their job, on the team, with the company, etc. If you can build a trusting relationship with employees, you can rely on them telling you if they’re approaching work burnout.
Stop Emailing On The Weekend And Evenings
If your company operates globally (and has workers in every time zone) or embraces the future of work by allowing flexible schedules for some employees, this may be easier said than done. But, the idea is to be mindful of scheduling meetings during local working hours and not bombarding employees with emails on Sunday afternoon when they’re with their friends or family. Pro tip: Schedule emails to go out at certain times if you work off-hours.
Encourage Employees To Take Vacation Time
And try not to disturb them when they’re away. You can do this by having flexible paid-time-off policies, like letting unused hours roll over or only requiring a short notice for scheduling the time off.
Be Flexible About Personal Affairs During Work Hours
We’re not talking about giving employees 30 minutes a day to check Facebook. Rather, think about giving them the flexibility to log off early to get to a doctor’s appointment, their child’s school play or a spouse’s benefit dinner. If you’re respectful of their personal needs, they’re less likely to get burned out.
Allow A Work-From-Home Option
You decide if it’s once a week, month or quarter, but if you give your employees the flexibility to work from home once in a while (and skip the sometimes-excruciating commute), it shows you trust them. It also allows them to run to the school for lunch with their children or throw in a load of laundry between meetings. Work-Life balance reduces work stress.
Ensure Your Pay Standards Align With The Market
Not being paid enough is a major complaint when it comes to those turning in their notice. Make sure your salaries are on par with the market. Tools like Salary.com and PayScale can help you make the determination.
Think About Hiring Interns Or Apprentices During Busy Times
It’s common for the highest performers to experience work burnout because they often get the work piled on. They’re doing well so managers keep giving them more stuff to do. Instead, during high-volume times, consider hiring a few interns or apprentices
Make Sure They Have All The Tools They Need To Succeed
There’s nothing more frustrating for an employee who doesn’t have the proper software or hardware to properly function in their role. They immediately feel like they can’t be successful. Be sure employees have the training, equipment, technology and access they need to do their jobs well.
Boost Your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives
Studies have shown that employees are happier when their company supports social causes close to their hearts. Let employees volunteer for a cause they care about one day a year or quarter and offer other opportunities to contribute to charitable causes throughout the year.
Revisit Procedures To Ensure Efficiency
Can a blog edit stop at the head of marketing or does it need to make its way up to the VP for approval? Extra-long, unnecessary processes can cause frustration and limit productivity. When employees don’t see their efforts coming to fruition, that’s sure to be deflating.
Let Them Make Decisions
Even if an employee’s level doesn’t warrant being able to give approval to something, make them part of the decision-making process. They’ll feel empowered that you’re asking for their opinion. And, after all, you’ll get to test their abilities. They may come up with something really great!
Offer An Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
If your company can offer an EAP, it’s a good resource for employees experiencing workplace stress. They can offer free, confidential assessments, short-term counseling and mental health referrals, among other emotional well-being resources.