Employee burnout can be very serious, both for your staff and your business. Unfortunately, it can also be hard to detect, and harder yet to correct. To establish a well-run, productive work environment, businesses must be active in helping their staff work on self-care. 

In this article, we take a look at several moves you can make to improve your employees well being. 

 

The Situation

Burnout has a very direct impact on engagement and productivity. From there it is a slippery slope to employee turnover, which inevitably leads to more employee turnover and… It’s a mess, and an expensive mess at that. 

Businesses that wish to avoid these headaches can do so, in part by prioritizing their employee’s health and wellness. While much of the work will ultimately have to be done by the individual, having the resources on hand can make a big difference in how people adapt to their work-related stress. 

pleasant work environment
Image by standret on Freepik

Talk to Your Employees

Any workplace initiative that is meant to improve employee well-being should start with a conversation. Talk to your employees about what their pain points are and what they would like to see done about them. You don’t necessarily have to implement every suggestion they provide. However, having the conversation accomplishes two things:

  • It ensures you won’t waste money. Self-care initiatives could be costly. Why invest in resources that no one will even want to use?
  • Your employees will feel heard. Recognition in and of itself can help boost morale and generally make your staff feel appreciated. 

Consider sending out a survey so that your employees can express their thoughts anonymously. Some may not feel inclined to speak freely if they have to do it by name. 

 

Flexibility Helps

Flexible work schedules have been shown to make people feel more empowered, and generally satisfied on the job. Naturally, some businesses can’t really negotiate their hours of operation. Many, however, can. 

At the start of the pandemic, many employees who pivoted rather abruptly into a work-from-home environment were surprised to learn that they had significantly more time on their hands than they were used to. 

Part of this was, of course, the lack of commute. However, it also turned out that other things like small talk, company meetings, and breakroom lunch breaks added up to a lot of time throughout the course of the day. 

Consequently, many people were able to get all of their work done for the day, and still find time to play with their kids, get a workout in, or just relax. 

For years, the attitude of many businesses had been to squeeze the most work they could out of a 9-5 schedule. However, trying to do so by force can have the opposite result. Employees who are stressed won’t get as much done as those who are happy. 

Allowing for a more flexible work environment may naturally improve an employees’ ability to care for themselves. 

 

PTO

Businesses wishing to help with self-care should also recognize that fatigue is a real and serious threat to productivity and wellness. 

Many businesses, particularly those that have found themselves short-staffed during the Great Resignation have been in a position where they’ve had to discourage employees from taking time off. 

There are logistical reasons for this, of course. Without employees, there isn’t a business. Nevertheless, there has to be a way to relieve the pressure. 

Paid time off is an important resource for employees to recharge their batteries, and come back to work more productively. 

Make sure you encourage your staff to use their paid time off. Some people may need extra encouragement. Give it to them. A day or two of productivity lags is inconsequential in comparison to the boost in performance that companies that prioritize employee wellness experience. 

 

Think About Your Company Culture

All the self-care initiatives in the world won’t do much good if your company culture naturally undoes them. Ask yourself, what is it like to work here? 

The situation has become that many equate company culture with big splashy gestures like free sushi or yoga classes (this, perhaps owing largely to companies like Google). 

You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to create a pleasant work environment. Nor does creating a pleasant work environment have to come at the cost of productivity. 

Ideally, your company culture will be designed to help you and your employees be mutually satisfied. Set clear productivity goals, but make them reasonable and allow for mistakes. 

By creating a symbiotic company culture that benefits the business and the workers alike, you make self-care and wellness a sustainable, constant part of work-life.