Now that the summer holidays are over, the cold is creeping in and daylight hours are becoming shorter. We have officially embarked upon the long slog until Christmas. This shift in seasons and inevitably in lifestyle can impact how we feel in ourselves. Without that fortnight in the sun to look forward to, work can become repetitive and a struggle at times. Most of us have experienced burnout at work. It comes with the feeling of overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism and detachment towards work and is highly unpleasant. It all boils down to a sense of lack of accomplishment at work and is a major cause of employee turnover. With the average UK worker spending over 82,000 hours at work over the course of their lifetime, it's important for employees and businesses that these hours are spent contentedly.
In an essay that went viral – BuzzFeed writer Anne Helen Petersen explains how she and fellow millennials became “generation burnout”. She writes, “We’re deeply in debt, working more hours and more jobs for less pay and less security, struggling to achieve the same standards of living as our parents, operating in psychological and physical precariousness, all while being told that if we just work harder, meritocracy will prevail, and we’ll begin thriving.” However It's not just millenials that are subject to burnout. With workaholism on the rise, it's becoming more difficult to avoid,a nd therefore more important that employers do all they can to help.
According to Gallup, 7,500 full-time employees found that 23 percent of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes.
With a statistic this high, it's important for employers to recognise the symptoms of burnout. They include regular absenteeism/lateness, decreased productivity and quality of work, changes of personality and a relative lack of interest in work. Self-care such as eating well, living an active lifestyle and at least 15 minutes of sunshine each day can help, but it only works to a certain extent. Prevention always beats cure and there comes a time when employers need to examine the space they are creating for their employees and whether it's a sufficient antidote to the stresses of the modern world.
Here are our 5 simple tips to help employees avoid burnout:
1. Consistent Feedback and Appreciation
Consistent feedback and appreciation is necessary for positive mental wellbeing at work. One of the major causes of burnout is being too hard on yourself; by providing regular feedback, positive or constructive, you can put employees mind at rest and give them a goal to work towards. It's also very useful in nurturing an open and honest relationship with employees, which can benefit both parties infinitely.
2. Nurture Work-life Balance
Nurturing a positive work-life balance is one of the best things you can encourage for employees. Help them avoid exhaustion by limiting the hours worked where possible, whether this be through allowing working from home (remove those long commutes), flexible working or early finish Fridays! Anything you can roll out to encourage a healthy work-life balance is guaranteed to aid employee wellness and more productive employees.
3. Make the Office a Fun Place to be
Office dogs, free fruit Wednesdays (we get ours from Fruitful Office) and creative pods are a few ideas towards creating a fun and lively working environment. Long gone are the days of cubicle working, now is the time of stimulating office environments with companies like Google and LEGO paving the way and reaping the rewards of keeping employees happy.
Manchester based global social media marketing agency, Social Chain nail this. Alongside an indoor jungle and floating boardroom, the team has incorporated seven new creative studios at their HQ, a chilled coffee shop area and a ‘secret passage’ filled with colourful beanbags. They say their commitment to their employees working environment successfully helps increase employee enjoyment, attracts and retains the best talent and boosts creativity.
4. Allow Colleagues to Connect With the Wider Community
Encourage your team to embark upon a meaningful volunteer activity during work time. Litter picking for example; not only is it great for the environment, but it’s a wonderful way for your team to bond whilst doing something gratifying. Get them out of the office for an hour, take them to your local park and pick up all the litter you can find!
5. Offer a Competitive Perk Package
Modern life comes with a whole host of pressures. One of the main pressures are money-centric, especially given the current economic climate. As inflation continues, employees are forced to make their salaries stretch further than ever before. It makes perfect sense to offer a perk that saves employees money on things they do frequently. A discount dining club membership prevents employees having to jeopardise their lifestyle when economic pressures take hold; quality family or friend time at their favourite restaurants no longer must be sacrificed. Learn more about offering a discounted dining membership here.