Article: 9 practical ways to fight workplace burnout


9 practical ways to fight workplace burnout

Science-backed strategies to reduce the stress and strain of modern work
9 practical ways to fight workplace burnout

Business leaders should look at burnout as a serious workplace challenge, said the American Heart Association whose recent study found science-backed ways of reducing stress in the office.

In a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Heart Association, at least 82% of respondents said they would sometimes feel burnt out because of their work, while a quarter felt this way more often.

“With burnout rates continuing to rise, we must acknowledge that this is not a passing problem, but a serious and ongoing workforce mental health challenge,” said Dr. Eduardo J. Sanchez, chief medical officer for prevention at the American Heart Association.

Dr. Sanchez explained burnout doesn’t just affect employees. It has far-reaching effects on the overall health of an organisation, too.

A study published at the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences found prevalent burnout at work can raise an organisation’s healthcare costs to at least US$190 million, not to mention the overall productivity decline that arises from high absenteeism and work dissatisfaction.

Read More: Nearly half of workers affected by ‘global burnout crisis’

How to reduce workplace burnout effectively

To help organisations, the American Heart Association has narrowed down nine strategies that have proven effective in the fight against workplace burnout.

Assess alignment between skills and job tasks

A mismatch between an employee’s skills and job demands is a significant contributor to burnout. A Gallup study found only 13% of employees worldwide feel engaged at work. A greater number of workers feel disengaged because of being in the wrong role. Regularly evaluating whether employees’ skills align with their work can uncover the potential for a disconnect.

Establish clear roles and responsibilities

Similar to the above, ambiguity about one’s role can lead to stress and uncertainty. According to one study, 54% of workers believe unclear expectations are a primary source of workplace stress. However, setting up clearly defined roles and responsibilities provide employees with a sense of purpose and direction. Regular communication and feedback on performance can reinforce these expectations. This clarity fosters a degree of control and autonomy among team members, which in turn reduces their risk of burnout.

Read More: How burnout can lead to outbursts at work

Regularly assess workloads

An overwhelming workload is a common trigger for burnout. Research from the Society for Human Resource Management found that long hours spent on heavy workloads are likely to lead to employee burnout. Managers should thus monitor workloads, distribute assignments fairly, and encourage open communication to allow employees to voice concerns.

Design job roles with employee input

Employees who feel involved in shaping their work are more likely to be engaged and satisfied. A McKinsey study found that companies with high employee engagement outperform competitors by 21%. Ask employees to contribute ideas on how to improve their roles or processes. Seek feedback on job design and task allocation. This participatory approach can boost morale, increase ownership, and reduce the likelihood of burnout.

Establish a training path to develop employee skills

Opportunities for growth and development are crucial for preventing burnout. A LinkedIn Workplace Learning report found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. Provide training programs, mentorship opportunities, or tuition reimbursement for further education. Welcome suggestions from employees on their career goals and provide them with resources to achieve them.

Assess if employees feel supported to lead a healthy life

Work-life balance is essential for overall well-being and burnout prevention. Research by the World Health Organization has linked long working hours to increased health risks, including heart disease and stroke. Get employees to take breaks, use vacation time, and disconnect after work hours. Offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible hours, when feasible.

Read More: Is burnout a problem that just won't go away?

Promote overall employee well-being

A holistic approach to employee well-being addresses both physical and mental health. Provide wellness programs, such as gym memberships, mindfulness training, or access to counselling services. Create a supportive work environment that promotes healthy habits and stress management techniques.

Discourage work-related technology use after hours

Constant connectivity can blur the lines between work and personal time, leading to burnout. Multiple studies across industries have found employees who check work emails after hours experience higher levels of stress and emotional exhaustion. Set clear expectations regarding after-hours communication. Guide employees on how to disconnect and recharge outside of work.

Promote employee support through resource groups

Creating a safe space for employees to connect and share experiences can combat feelings of isolation and burnout. A study on occupational health found employees who participate in support groups report lower levels of stress and burnout. Set up and maintain employee resource groups focused on specific interests or demographics. Foster open dialogue about mental health and provide resources for seeking help.

Adapting to an evolving workplace

According to the American Heart Association, at least 91% of employees in companies where they implemented these nine strategies reported a positive workplace experience. The result is significantly higher than the 51% of employees who reported the same from companies that didn’t have such policies in place.

These findings show that the demands of the modern workplace continue to evolve, and so new strategies for ensuring employee well-being must be in place.

The American Heart Association research also underscores the urgency for business leaders adopting a proactive stance against burnout.

By embracing these evidence-backed policies, organisations can foster a more resilient and productive workforce while safeguarding their bottom line.

At a time when talent retention and employee engagement are paramount, prioritising employee burnout prevention may be one of their most astute business decisions.

Read full story

Topics: Business, #Wellbeing

Did you find this story helpful?



How do you envision AI transforming your work?