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How to Protect Your Business From Employee Burnout During COVID-19

Published September 17, 2020 (last updated February 24, 2021) -
employee feeling burnout during COVID-19

Remote work has turned out to be an ideal workaround for businesses operating at a time when social interactions are shunned upon. While some businesses have managed to maintain their typical level of productivity, their employees might be exposed to an easy-to-miss burden. 62% of employees have reported losing 1 hour of productivity while dealing with COVID-19-related stress, which can easily lead to employee burnout.

You might have noticed a drop in productivity, even in your most productive employees. What’s worse is that employee burnout can have negative effects on your business’ short-term and long-term goals. The earlier you can deal with it among your remote workforce, the better.

Here is what you should know about employee burnout and how to deal with it:

What Is Employee Burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional or physical exhaustion that can lead to reduced productivity. For your remote staff, burnout can even turn tasks they love doing into a burden. It can manifest itself in the form of reduced productivity, procrastination, loss of interest in work, and lack of sleep.

During COVID-19, stress and a decline in mental wellbeing have been prime contributors to employee burnout. Employees, who often find themselves separated from colleagues, have had to deal with the stress by themselves. The fact that the pandemic period has also come with social, financial, and political issues increases the level of stress employees have to deal with.

How Employee Burnout Can Affect Your Business

Employee burnout can be a huge threat to productivity. It eats into the engagement of employees, making it tough for them to focus on day-to-day tasks. Since it is a sign of declining mental health among employees, it will also affect their happiness within your business.

In turn, this could lead to high employee turnover rates. While your staff might still commit to working for your business due to the current financial constraints caused by COVID-19, they will be doing so with one foot out of the door. If they ever find greener pastures, the chances are that they will leave your business. This can be quite consequential, especially considering that you might need as much as 213% of a single employee’s salary to find a replacement for them.

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Businesses Have To Take Mental Health Seriously

The stigma around mental health is common in the typical workplace. For many employees, it can be tough to approach managers to talk about their stress. These employees could be struggling with financial burdens, stress from worrying about living life in the pandemic, or the frustration of balancing work and home lives.

The fact that employees are working from home might imply to some managers that their workforce is always available. This implication could result in them reaching out to employees during their free time, which limits the time employees can use to recharge. While having an always-on workforce is great for your business, it can hurt your employee’s morale and mental health.

Your business should learn more about mental health and work out ways to improve their employee’s. This includes creating the perfect work environment for your workforce.

How to Improve Your Workforce’s Mental Health

The fact that you are dealing with a remote workforce doesn’t make it impossible to impact their mental health. The first step is to educate employees and leaders on mental health. Leaders should learn how to create the best environment for employees to thrive. For instance, they can make it easy for employees to approach them with anything that is disturbing them.

You should start all meetings with a personal touch, such as asking employees how their weekend was. Creating a sense of community can also help alleviate the stress that comes with the pandemic. For instance, something as simple as celebrating the birthday of a remote employee can go a long way into making them feel appreciated.

Above all, you should respect your employee’s free time. They need time off from work, during which they don’t have to think about work. The fact that you have 24-hour access to employees due to collaborative technology doesn’t mean that they are always free to do some work.

Whenever you are making changes to your organization, be sure to approach employees for their opinion. Making them feel like their insights matter will increase engagement and create a sense of community.

You should never take employee burnout lightly. The earlier you deal with it, the easier it will be to retain your workforce and increase their productivity. If you need help managing your workforce, feel free to reach out to Employsure. We offer assistance with all things HR-related and can help you keep employee burnout rates low within your workforce.

About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small and medium businesses, with over 5,500 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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