For many businesses, as well as their employees, remote work offers a lot of flexibility and freedom. But, It is not all sunshine.
Remote work is not a dream come true to all employees, especially for those who had to haphazardly pivot to teleworking because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remote work comes with many concerns and challenges, burnout being one of the most common and most complex.
As an employer, there are a few ways you can help your employees avoid burnout while working from home. With a deliberate and nuanced approach to staff wellness, your remote team will thrive.
Spot the Signs Of Burnout
Burnout is a result of cumulative strain. It is a type of stress that is specifically related to work. To prevent burnout, first you need to know what it looks like. According to the WHO, these are the 3 dimensions of burnout:
- Reduced performance;
- Cynical and negative feelings about work, or increased mental distance from work;
- Feelings of energy depletion and exhaustion.
Keep in mind that the symptoms of burnout can differ from person to person. Other signs of burnout may include lack of motivation, hopelessness, recurring sickness, and inability to concentrate.
Think about how your employees usually behave. Did you notice a change in their behaviour? Has any of your employees taken a sharp turn towards negative behaviour at work or a lack of motivation?
Such symptoms can be caused by something else, but you should look into burnout as a possible cause first.
Acknowledge Their Hard Work
Remote workers often feel like they have something to prove. They might feel the need to work harder or they want to prove to you that you can trust them. All of this can create more fatigue and stress, eventually leading to burnout.
Because of their remote status, your employees may be going above and beyond. However, most of us can’t sustain hard work forever.
Don’t allow it to slip into negative territory, but make sure to acknowledge their hard work. Take the time to show your workers you appreciate them.
Do what you can to boost employee morale. One of the best ways to keep your employees engaged is to always recognize and reward good work.
Improve Their Work-Life Balance
Achieving a good work-life balance can be difficult when you are working from home. However, there are a few ways you can help the members of your remote team improve their work-life balance.
Create a healthy communication policy:
You cannot have a proper remote working strategy without a communication plan. It’s best to enforce a strict rule that forbids phone calls, texts, Zoom meetings, Slack chats, and emails after working hours.
By reducing after-hour interruptions, you will give your employees a chance to properly unwind when they are done working.
During working hours, communicate with your team often. Since so much can be lost in texts, and it’s easy to misinterpret them as cold or curt, sometimes it is just better to give them a call.
Offer to hear them out if they have a problem. Let them voice their concerns. If you want to talk with them outside work hours, organise optional social events.
Give each employee a work computer/phone:
When your home is your office, lines get blurred. By making sure each employee has a work computer and a personal computer, you will give them the separation they need to achieve balance.
Offer to pay for a coworking space:
Coworking offices and spaces are not as pricey as one might think. It is a much cheaper solution than renting a whole office for your business. This can help some of your employees separate their office and home life.
Use Digital Assistants
Chatbots and other digital assistants aren’t designed just to help customers and generate leads. They can also be of great help to your employees. In fact, some conversational AI enterprise bots are specially designed to help employees with finding information, carrying out repetitive tasks, training, etc.
For instance, your employees may feel uncomfortable when they have to pester coworkers and ask them to explain something to them. When they are having an off-day, they may feel embarrassed when they cannot recall something their manager already explained to them.
A digital assistant can serve as a coach and answer their questions, allowing them to avoid such unpleasant feelings. It can also deliver information and carry out some manual tasks quickly, removing the tedium out of their workday.
Encourage Your Employees to Take Regular Breaks
To keep productivity high and stave off the effects of burnout, incentivize your employees to take healthy, frequent breaks during the workday. By offering your remote team a chance to reboot and refresh, you can significantly lift up morale.
Bonuses and raises can only take you so far. There are other incentives that can help you improve the wellbeing of your employees. Offer them perks that focus on their physical and mental health. This will help enhance your employer brand as well as the employee experience.
For instance, you can give them access to therapy, subscribe them to a mindfulness or meditation app, and pay for gym memberships. On top of being their employer, you can offer to be their mentor or coach.
For instance, your employees may have a hard time planning their finances. No matter how well paid they are, financial illiteracy can pose a problem—especially to younger employees.
Tell Them It’s Okay to Say “No”
Initiative is usually very good. But too much of it can lead to burnout. To impress their managers or supervisors, people often volunteer for more projects or work extra hours.
Sometimes, they just don’t know how to turn down a task because they may feel like they will be failing you. Be clear about your expectations.
Teach your employees how to say no. If you notice that an employee is always taking on extra work or working long hours, meet with them to find out why they keep doing it.
Whatever their reasons are—if you see that it’s taking a toll on them, tell them that saying “no” is sometimes the best way to ensure efficiency and productivity.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.