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Addressing Workplace Burnout: A Manager's Guide

We are working in new ways across the world, and many people are juggling their personal and professional life. The Wellbeing of an individual, which is a key element of their happiness and success, could possibly be negatively impacted by this stress and uncertainty.

Burnout is a pervasive problem that affects workers in all industries and job types in the modern workplace, and studies on burnout have shown a decline in wellbeing due to stressors such as heavy workload, large changes in social relationships, and unexpected financial hardship. While such challenges are universal, the prolonged duration and uncertainty of such stressors can impair your team members' wellbeing, productivity, and job satisfaction. As a manager, it is imperative that you take action to address it.

Let’s explore some strategies managers can deploy to address burnout and foster a happier workplace.

Recognizing burnout and getting Insights

Recognizing the signs of burnout is the first step in dealing with it. Burnout can appear in a variety of ways, but some common symptoms include:

  1. Exhaustion – Individuals might feel tired all the time and feel unmotivated.

  2. Cynicism – A negative attitude towards co-workers and the job, cynicism, sarcasm, and withdrawal from social settings are possible symptoms.

  3. Decreased work performance - Reduced productivity, trouble focusing, and diminished effectiveness at work are all effects of burnout.

Finding out what is causing burnout is crucial once you have identified its symptoms. There are a few essential considerations every organization should take into account when developing a feedback plan to address burnout, even though no two organizations are exactly alike.

How should we ask?

Experts strongly recommend free-form comments to gather the direct viewpoints of the employees and workable solutions from those most affected

What should we ask?

It is important to ask questions that can provide insight into the factors that may contribute to workplace burnout. Questions like:

  • How are you doing at work?

  • How empowered are you to make decisions at work?

  • How meaningful is the work you do?

  • Do you feel that you have a good work-life balance?

  • How easy it is for you to get support from your manager?

Have Conversations

Regular one-on-one sessions are essential for ensuring that individual requirements are met. Given the personal nature of wellbeing, managers should be prepared to handle concerns about threats to health and safety, anxiety about losing a job or income, and ambiguity about how to prioritize and execute work.

Some questions that might be useful includes:

  • How are you doing?

  • How are your family members and loved ones?

  • How are you doing with maintaining balance between work and home responsibilities?

  • What are the most impactful priorities for you right now?

  • How else can we support you?

Set Goals Effectively

Consider what employees require during stressful situations: clarity, connection, and a sense of control. What was once a lofty ambition three months ago may now be unattainable. Consider where you might need to change assignments or redefine roles and duties in order to maintain your Wellbeing. Managers and employees should interact frequently to ensure that individuals accept priorities that reflect evolving corporate goals. If wellbeing is jeopardized, it's time to delegate or abandon work that offers little value.

Wellbeing can (and should) be made a goal in and of itself. We frequently hear about people putting themselves last, having difficulty unplugging, and struggling to stay engaged with co-workers. Encourage employees to establish wellbeing goals that address their specific wellbeing needs.

Encourage Learning and Growth

With new demands, a new working environment, and new goals, come new possibilities to learn better self-care techniques.

Provide training and development opportunities that align with career goals and interests. Start by defining employee wellbeing as a priority, sharing supportive resources (e.g., Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Wellness Partnerships… ), offering mentorship programmes, cross-training opportunities and development programmes are also useful.

Leaders at all levels must also model, promote, and make time for beneficial wellbeing activities. One simple method is to bring up wellbeing learning themes between manager and employee touchpoints. In doing so, wellbeing becomes a daily expectation rather than a distinct effort.

Addressing burnout in the workplace is vital for sustaining a healthy and effective team. You may prevent burnout as a manager by recognizing the symptoms, fostering a supportive work atmosphere, setting effective goals and encouraging learning and growth. By implementing these strategies, you can help your team avoid burnout and optimize their potential.

About the author

Kester Lim is the Products Operations Lead at Actxa Wellness by day, and a freelance group fitness instructor by night. Guided by his purpose and passion, he hopes to help people feel good about themselves and the value they bring to the world. When he is not out and about doing so, Kester enjoys spending time with his 2 fur kids (a golden dox puppy and a ragdoll kitty) or immersing himself in the virtual world via his Playstation 5 console.


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