Do you or your employees feel tired, unmotivated and easily annoyed at work? Workplace burnout may be to blame. The phenomenon plagues workers in all industries, especially the outdoor recreation sector after customer demands increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
Champion Health defines burnout as “mental and physical exhaustion that a person experiences when the demands being put on them consistently exceed their capacity.” Unfortunately, more than half (59%) of American workers are experiencing at least moderate levels of burnout, according to the 2022-2023 Aflac WorkForces Report, designed to capture workplace benefit trends and attitudes.
The report found employees who suffer from high levels of burnout report lower job satisfaction (55%), lower confidence that their employers care about them (47%), negative perceptions of work-life balance (55%) and a higher likelihood of seeking another job in the next year (56%).
Because burnout is associated with job satisfaction and loyalty, employers must key into common causes and take action to cure it, or they risk losing qualified staff. How can you identify, treat and prevent workplace burnout?
Common causes of burnout include:
Signs of burnout include:
Employers play a significant role in managing benefits, workloads and workplace relationships that affect employee satisfaction.
Our 2021 “How to Overcome Workplace Burnout” article suggested five tips to combat burnout. Incorporate those ideas and these five additional strategies to reduce and prevent the problem.
1. Review Their Workload
Long hours and an excessive task list are the main culprits for burnout. Sure, you can encourage employees to take a vacation or focus on physical and mental self-care, but no matter how rejuvenated they feel upon returning, they’ll continue to burn out if their workload isn’t adequately managed. Communicate with each employee about their responsibilities and expectations and adjust as necessary, including hiring new employees. Encourage employees to come to you with their concerns so you can head off problems. If they’re not overworked, their burnout might be caused by something else. One of the following suggestions may help.
Host staff events outside of work. Photo Credit: Music City Archery
2. Facilitate Employee Bonding
Meaningful relationships and interpersonal interactions help people feel connected, strengthening retention and workplace enjoyment. Create opportunities for employees to build friendships: Host an outing for employees and their families; hold a friendly employee shoot-off competition; or celebrate staff birthdays with cupcakes during lunch. As employees build camaraderie and trust, they’ll increase their sense of belonging. Intentionally creating bonding experiences helps build an environment people want to stay in and promote to others.
3. Foster Professional Development
Investing in your employees helps them feel confident and secure, and improves your business. Show you care about your employees and their well-being by providing feedback and ongoing education that helps them grow professionally. Offer praise and improvement tips, and encourage them to develop in areas that interest them by enrolling in a class such as the ATA’s Bow Technician Certification course. The goal is to help raise spirits, not bog employees down even further, so offset their current responsibilities when they take on new learning opportunities.
Give employees different job responsibilities to change up the routine. Photo Credit: ATA
4. Mix Up Responsibilities
Cross-training employees or rotating job responsibilities can help motivate employees and alleviate the boredom and stress of completing routine tasks day after day. Ask for employee input to determine what interests them and try to assign accordingly. That may include entirely new projects or simply new roles. Contrarily, cleaning the bathroom or stuffing envelopes for promotional mailers might not interest many employees, but they don’t require much energy or brainpower, so they might be a welcome change for overwhelmed workers.
5. Hold Walking Meetings
Instead of gathering your employees around a table, round them up for 10- or 20-minute walk around your building or down the street. Bring an agenda and assign daily tasks, provide project updates or brainstorm business improvement ideas. Whatever you discuss, meet in small groups for maximum productivity — and so you don’t have to shout. Your employees might find walking meetings strange at first, but they’ll probably come to enjoy them. Activity reduces stress and increases blood flow, which leads to better focus and engagement. Plus, sunlight and fresh air are energizing.
Burnout is a warning sign that something needs to change. Being proactive at the first signs of burnout is the key to ensuring employee happiness, which increases productivity and reduces turnover.
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