Medical findings show that 90% of illnesses are stress-related. Stress affects millions of workers, affecting work productivity and costing big businesses and HMOs millions of dollars. Our high-tech way of life has indeed allowed us to function faster, do more, and be more. But at what cost?
From time to time, it is not uncommon to hear of a colleague’s resignation. People who resign usually say they plan to go back to school or would like to explore other opportunities for personal growth. However, did you know that stress is one of the major causes for employees leaving their jobs?
A fast employee turnover rate is never a good thing for a business. While it is true that corporations are not charitable institutions, taking care of the welfare of your employees is not just morally correct but also wise and practical from a business perspective. Happy employees are essential to the success of any company.
Both Voltaire and Peter Parker were right when they said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Your executive hay grade gives you both the privilege and the duty to do your part in managing stress, or at the very least, in minimizing the impacts of burnout on your employees. Here are some stress-busting tips in dealing with employee burnout at the workplace:
Your employees need not be reminded of your company’s mission and vision every time you have lunch with them. Talking about other things outside of work will not in any way diminish your stature as a boss who only expects the very best from his employees. Use mealtimes as bonding opportunities where you can truly get to know your people and learn to appreciate them for their personalities, not only for what they can bring to the boardroom table.
Make “moments with the boss” a pleasant time for them when they can just relax and enjoy the conversation. By always fact-checking your management and employees’ welfare, it will show them that you not only care about the company but also sincerely care for their emotional and mental wellbeing. You will be surprised at how these brief respites with their boss can be effective anxiety alleviators.
One usual source of conflict at work is personality clashes. Different bosses have different management styles. Some may have doctorate degrees in micro-management while others have a more easygoing approach. Like a glove to a hand, a customized style where your management approach meets the needs of your employees would be best.
But if your relationship is still relatively new, you need to have somewhere to start. It would therefore be ideal to already set expectations from the get-go. Be as specific as possible in detailing your working methods. For instance, just imagine letting your subordinate know that he or she need not give you a blow-by-blow account of her negotiations for the day.
While some bosses would appreciate hearing feedback every hour on the hour, some may not. Smoothing out these possible wrinkles to your working relationship can help your employee ensure that their efforts are beneficial and are appreciated by their boss.
Your regional head has set a high year-end target for your department. You feel the immense pressure. So do those working under you — as evidenced by their anxious expressions. This need not always be the case. Turn up the thermostat for your team only up to the level that will squeeze their creative juices and inspire them to action. If you turn it up to boiling point, the extreme “heat” can only have negative consequences on the overall wellbeing of your employees.
How can you ease the tension? By delegating — and delegating well. If you are a boss worth his or her salt, you should be able to leverage the individual strengths of your employees. Match those strengths to the specific tasks at hand, keeping in mind that square cogs can never fit into round holes. Get the team onboard by sharing each player’s role and contribution to the bigger picture.
Is the goal still looking insurmountable? Free up the time and energy of your group members consumed in rote tasks by hiring temp encoders or data tabulators. These by-project freelancers can provide services that do not cost much but can significantly help your team focus on the bigger rocks. This will not only help you achieve your goal but also help reduce cases of employee burnout.
Emails are one of the most time-consuming activities in the office. One can just decide to start the day by “quickly” checking his or her email, only to find themselves laboriously replying to a hundred queries and requests. At the end of the day, the wildly important goals or WIGs are usually the ones left without that tick mark in our to-do list. Enough of this stressful time-waster!
Guide your employees on how to make their email management more efficient by helping them set fixed schedules on when to check and reply to emails. One suggestion was to have emails checked only three times a day. After all, if the message is important and urgent, your employees are just a call away.
Make these schedules known to other departments so that they can also manage their expectations. Remind your team members to turn on their automated out-of-office replies. These minor tweaks on the way we do things, when done consistently, not only save time and energy for your employees — they also keep stress and burnout at bay.
Exercise is a must-have if we are to be our fittest, most productive selves. However, because of increasing work demands, employees are hard-pressed to squeeze exercise into their schedules. The solution to this time constraint dilemma is to incorporate small chunks of exertions into daily routines. Instead of taking the elevator, have your employees walk the stairs with your employees. Host a walking meeting to hit two birds with one stone. Be a role model and walk your talk — they have to see you doing it as well.
Regi Publico is a full-time writer based in Manila who is also an artist for fun. She takes pride in her towering collection of books and loves reading about anything under the sun. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge through every article that she writes.