Worker burnout manifests in depleted energy or exhaustion, “checking out” mentally from the job, or feeling negative about the work. All of this translates into lower productivity while increasing stress--for everyone. So what can be done?
In 2019, for the first time ever, the World Health Organization recognized burnout as an “occupational phenomenon.” They identified its origin as a response to poorly managed, chronic workplace stress. According to Dan Schawbel, research director at HR advisory firm Future Workplace, burnout is an epidemic. The syndrome can sabotage workplace retention, and prevent professional success.
How can facility managers help prevent worker burnout? First, by paying attention to employees and leaders while next taking steps toward a healthy work environment from the very first day. You’re already thinking about retention when you hire someone, so why not take steps to make sure they are mentally strong and viable. The culture you create plays an important role in whether or not employees will remain.
Following are a few steps that facility managers can take to help prevent worker burnout while helping to promote a healthy work environment.
Start the conversation about worker burnout
Mental health conversations have been taboo in America for far too long. It’s time we break that stigma, and it begins with you, the facility manager.
Create an environment that welcomes honest communication, such as requesting feedback regarding workload, responsibilities, and work-life balance. When you normalize these discussions, by being the one who initiates them, it will be easier to identify the problem and respond with solutions before stress and burnout get out of hand.
If you are finding it difficult to start the conversation, begin by:
- putting up posters around the office regarding stress and mental health;
- distributing flyers on how to prevent burnout;
- inviting a mental health professional to discuss the causes and warning signs of burnout;
- asking employees one-on-one how they manage work-life balance, and
- encouraging honest feedback about what areas need change.
Work doesn’t have to feel like work, at least not 100% of the time. The workplace is changing and more and more companies have realized the importance of the environment. If you do not actively work to create a strong, vibrant culture, then your workers will relocate, potentially causing you to lose some of your key players to competitors.
A stressful workplace has lasting effects that can take a toll on health and well-being. The environment can contribute to headaches, stomachaches, sleep issues, temper, and poor concentration. When the stress becomes chronic, it can lead to anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, a weaker immune system, and more. For a more detailed list, the American Psychological Association has mapped how chronic stress affects the whole body.
Here are a few ideas to incorporate stress-reducing activities into the workplace:
- Create opportunities for employees to socialize both during and outside of work;
- Allow longer lunch breaks or another incentive for those who want to exercise;
- Schedule a company day devoted to wellness either through movement, art, or meditation;
- Plan team lunches; and
- Support employees in their goals.
Encourage work-life balance
Technology puts us all at reach 24/7, but it’s not healthy to be plugged in constantly. Make sure that you are honoring your workers’ boundaries and not sending work-related text messages, emails, or calling them when they are at home. Let your staff rest on sick days and relax on vacation.
Encourage employees to max out their vacation time. Don’t let them skip vacation days. Instead, before they leave, sit down with them to make sure everything essential is covered and the out of office automated email is written and programmed to send.
Exercise is a great stress reliever. Get to know your staff and learn what physical activities they enjoy and then find ways to make those activities easier to accomplish. For example, we recommend designating an area in the office for meditation. Or, why not add a gym onsite or arrange for discounted memberships to a gym nearby?
If you are able, allow employees with long commutes to work remotely for a portion of the week. For those with shared custody of a child, let them work longer hours the week their child is away and leave early on the days they have their child.
Every employee’s story and responsibilities are different, whether it is caring for a child, a disabled spouse, an elderly parent, enduring long stressful commutes, or being passionate about volunteering and giving back to the community. Moms aren’ the only ones asking for more time with their kids today. Eighty-seven percent of “Gen Y” dads have expressed a desire to spend more time with their children than previous generations.
When you streamline the work, put staff to use in their field of expertise, and genuinely care for those in your office, then worker burnout will be a thing of the past.
Work space design
The office space has a direct impact on your employees’ health and wellness. A well thought out design leads to higher productivity and lowers stress. According to an article in Forbes, 87% of workers desire healthier work space benefits. This included wellness rooms, fitness benefits, sit-stand desks, healthy lunch options, and better seating.
Office design that takes into account the quality of air, easy access to water, proper lighting, comfort, and mindfulness will leave a positive impact on your workers’ health, happiness, and performance.
When creating the optimal workplace, attention needs to be given to desired outcomes as well as employee needs. The goal is to create a holistic workplace experience that leaves a lasting impact on the lives of the individuals who use it.
Update the operational and maintenance software
If you are using outdated software, then it’s time for an upgrade. Implementing new technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) will save you and your workers time, allow you to automate repetitive tasks, and help you focus on the staff’s well-being while encouraging their talents.
Your technology should manage the demands of your company while also improving operations and customer experience. When running any business, the leaders and managers are juggling multiple tasks, sometimes at once. However, despite these busy schedules, the management of your employees should not come second to back-office functions, paperwork, and bad tech. While you’re at it, you might want to pay attention to the crowd gathering to complain around the printer.
In addition to the technology within your space, also consider the technology around you. For example, buildings can now be made smarter, user-friendly, and more efficient. When you upgrade--both internally and externally-- your entire operation will run more smoothly, eliminating headaches for everyone.
Learn how to stay ahead of worker burnout
The workplace is changing, keeping pace with changing employee expectations and technological advances. We believe that in order to create a thriving company, burnout should be a thing of the past. ISS can help you achieve the success and balance your staff desperately want. By focusing on industry experiences and best practices, we can help you attract and retain a strong workforce while creating a resilient vibrant culture.
Our experts have put together the Modern Workplace Experience ebook that touches on culture, work-life balance, and more. Grab your free copy here!
We have the tools you need to create the ultimate workplace experience for employees. We have Experience Managers that are able to host interest groups, create wellness programs, and create sustainable workplaces. It’s time to get to work and see what amazing things your employees can achieve in 2020. What are you waiting for? Give us a call today.