How to Prevent Burnout in the Office

John Krautzel
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More and more companies are requiring heavier workloads from fewer employees. While this approach certainly keeps costs low and efficiency high, employee burnout does not do much for morale and health. "Chronic stress increases the chances of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other medical problems," says Michael Smith, Chief Medical Editor for WebMD. To prevent burnout in your office, consider the following tips.

The first step to preventing employee burnout is recognizing the signs. One of the most common indicators is a general disinterest in completing tasks, socializing and participating in workplace activities. "Greater amounts of absenteeism and a general disinterest in career development are signs employers often report seeing in workers that are suffering from burnout," says Jim Link, Managing Director for Randstad. Other signs of employee burnout include becoming emotional in inappropriate situations, coming in late and leaving early, and social withdrawal.

One effective way to help prevent employee burnout and improve workplace morale is to establish specific working hours. Refrain from sending emails or requesting project statuses outside your company's normal operating hours or during scheduled lunch breaks or vacations. It is important to establish a clear line between work time and personal time, and your subordinates will appreciate you respecting that distinction.

Periodically evaluate each team member's workload, especially before delegating additional tasks or taking on new projects. Ask for feedback on current projects to help discern whether an employee can handle more responsibilities, and help your employees identify different ways to handle their workloads.

Encouraging more fun and motivation in the office is another way to help prevent employee burnout. Schedule regularly catered lunches, bring in motivational speakers, or develop incentive programs for top performers. Employee of the Month programs are another great way to recognize exceptional workers and improve workplace morale. Rewarding your employees for their hard work pays off exponentially with improved performance, better attendance and stronger work ethic. Not only will employees be driven to work smarter, they will also appreciate seeing their efforts noticed.

In addition to these steps, make it a priority to schedule regular one-on-one feedback sessions with each of your employees. Recognizing the signs of employee burnout is important, and one-on-one sessions provide an opportunities for employees to voice any concerns they may have or ask questions about their performance. This is also a good time for you to evaluate each employee's current workload and help prioritize tasks, as well as determine strengths and weaknesses. Knowing each employee's talents helps you delegate future responsibilities accordingly.

Recognizing the signs of employee burnout is the first step in preventing it from happening. Establishing a positive and motivating workplace is a challenging, yet rewarding task. Taking these small steps to help your employees manage their workloads more effectively is a proven way to prevent exhaustion, improve morale and reduce turnover.


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