Burnout Kit: How to Diagnose and Treat Overworked Employees

June 13th, 2014

Have you noticed the following changes in a number of your employees?

  • Do they often arrive late and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
  • Are they acting irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
  • Are they becoming inconsistently productive?
  • Are they taking more sick days, or complaining more about headaches, backaches or other physical complaints?

If so, your employees may simply be burned out. And if they’re feeling burned out, beaten down and unmotivated, you need to step up to help create and maintain a positive environment where people actually want to work.

What causes job burnout—and what can you do about it?

If it looks to you like your employees are burned out, look for reasons—and see if there is anything you can do about them. For example:

  • Look at schedules, assignments and workload. Is anybody overloaded? How long have they been? Does everyone have the resources they need—including time—to do their jobs properly? You may have to reassign certain work or reallocate certain resources to ease someone’s burdens.
  • Are you communicating expectations? Do your employees know what you expect from them? Do they know what they need to do to fulfill those expectations? Constantly feeling unsure at work can lead to burnout.
  • Are your workplace dynamics dysfunctional? Do you employ an office bully? Or someone who undermines his colleagues? Do you or your boss tend to micromanage your team? If coworkers can’t get along, or employees can’t feel like their talents are respected, burnout can result.
  • Does your workplace tend toward extremes of activity? Is it always chaotic, or always monotonous? Either way, your employees will need constant energy to remain focused — which can lead to fatigue and job burnout.
  • How’s the work-life balance? If work takes up so much of their time and effort that they don’t have the energy to enjoy leisure time with family and friends, your employees will burn out quickly.

So how can you turn this situation around? Here are a few tips that should help your employees get back on track:

  • Try a different approach. Could doing work differently make things easier for your staff? Re-examine work roles and analyze tasks within work teams to see if you can re-assign some of them. Ask team members for input before making any changes, though.
  • Help your employees make work/life balance a priority. Offer flex time or telecommuting, provide realistic deadlines for completing work, offer some sort of wellness program and set an example yourself.
  • Implement a reward system. Develop a formal, fair and consistent process to give your employees individual recognition
  • Use temporary staff. Give overworked employees the extra support they need by bringing in temporary employees.

Burnout and disengagement can also be signs that you’re fundamentally understaffed. If you need to bring more talent onboard, contact Synerfac to learn more about our recruiting services in Langhorne, PA, and beyond!

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