What is burnout?
We hear the word all the time. It can mean something different to everyone – everyone deals with stress differently, after all.
But, largely defined, burnout is a state of exhaustion brought on by excessive and/or prolonged stress. It can be mental, physical, emotional; it’s often something your staff takes home with them, which just isn’t ideal. Fundamentally, both in terms of productivity and culture, avoiding burnout is crucial – it can be devastating when it happens to a member of your team.
As business leaders, it’s something we want to avoid. Here at NLG, helping clients do just this is what we do.
What causes burnout?
In the workplace, it can be many things. A huge one to watch is workload. It sounds obvious but, when was the last time you took stock of how responsibilities are spread across the team? Is any one person doing more than they need to be, and how could you overcome this issue? It’s easy to forget too that some individuals will proactively take on more and more – but can they manage it effectively?
Next, it’s important to look at the dynamics of your team, and the culture. Are your team supporting one another day-to-day? Are you supporting them? Here we’re talking both emotionally and actually, i.e. in doing their jobs. How might you be able to help and take some of the weight off?
Another aspect of avoiding burnout is to consider the resources available. Is your team having to work twice as hard due to a lack of equipment, tools or information at their disposal? Have you invested in their workspace and systems to ensure that they’re not being held back, and aren’t having to graft harder to make up for inefficiencies in the tools they’re working with?
How do I know if my team is burning out?
Being aware of burnout is key to avoiding burnout, simply put. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because your staff are working from home, they won’t be burning out – or worse yet, that you have no responsibility to spot it. Out of sight, out of mind doesn’t apply here.
If anything, the pandemic has seen many people experience more stress, more worry at work. It’s more important than ever to stay on top of the mental health of your team.
Measuring burnout is highly subjective. While there are various “scientific” systems to use in doing so, it often simply comes down to one simple thing:
Asking your team how they’re doing.
That doesn’t mean asking, “Are you burnt out/burning out?”, but instead asking pointed questions about the subjects mentioned above. Ask them how they’re feeling about their own ability to do their job, what could help them, if there’s anything lacking. If they feel supported. If they feel as though they’re struggling in any way.
Of course, much of your success here will come down to the relationship you’ve fostered with them over time; getting people to open up isn’t always easy. You need to reassure your employees that there’ll be no consequence for admitting that things are hard, that they’re unable to cope with X, Y or Z, and that they can be open about it without seeming negative or uninspired.
Because burnout happens to the best of us.
And it’s here that we come in.
We help leaders reduce burnout across their business by identifying those crucial gaps which may be contributing to it – often unnecessarily. When it comes to workload, dynamics and resources, often all that’s needed is the right person to bridge the space, thus easing the pressure on everyone and avoiding burnout.
To talk about sustainable hiring practices which might just solve a problem you don’t know you have – yet – get in touch today.