With a number of people now working remotely, one drawback of these less structured environments has become evident. Worker burnout is a form of work-related stress that brings about both physical and mental exhaustion. It makes doing one’s job increasingly difficult, and for you, it can make keeping your team engaged during working hours more challenging.
Fortunately, though burnout is on the rise, it’s possible to stop these spikes in stress before they start consuming your team. Here is how companies can prevent remote worker burnout so that each person can stay happy, healthy, and productive during their day.
Common Causes of Worker Burnout
Before we can fully grasp some potential solutions to the issue of burnout, we need to establish what causes it in the first place. Worker burnout can happen regardless of whether an employee is regularly working inside the office or not. As such, it deals with factors that can influence us anywhere within the workforce. These are some of those contributors:
Blurred Lines Between Working and Personal Time
One of the primary influencers contributing to team burnout is how close so many of us have been with our work during this time. With no lines to separate us from our professional tasks, it’s much easier to work past our regular hours in the interest of getting more done. This lack of separation creates a disassociation between work and personal time—resulting in less time for individuals to unwind and relieve some of their stress.
Isolation from the Team
The office space is a buzzing hub of activity and continuous communication. When making the switch to working from home full-time, it’s harder for the team to brainstorm, discuss problems at length and come up with solutions. Over time, this can have a draining effect on some individuals. Even small “water cooler” interactions—which help build rapport among colleagues—are now missing.
Decrease in Motivation and Inspiration
When the team can no longer communicate as effectively with one another, it also has an impact on overall inspiration and morale. No longer are employees able to bounce ideas freely off one another, so there’s less incentive to do so at all. When this happens, each person starts to rely solely on himself/herself/themselves to come up with ideas, which can add stress.
Chronic Physical Discomfort
Your team members could start experiencing burnout, as well, if they spend most of the day in uncomfortable physical positions. Previously, we as a society may not have anticipated sitting in our home office chairs for extended periods, so chances are that home office seating left something to be desired (comfort, support, proper ergonomics—the list goes on!). Eventually, this discomfort can turn into pain, and pain can cause physical exhaustion.
Ways You Can Help as a Team Leader
Now, when encountering these factors, businesses may feel like there isn’t much they can do to respond. After all, not all of these elements will be within your control. But there are efforts you can make to mitigate the effects of burnout—and how you address it will set a precedent for the rest of this unprecedented time. Here are a few effective ways companies can prevent remote worker burnout and keep their teams healthier as a whole:
Encourage Boundaries Between Work and Personal Hours
First and foremost, explicitly encourage your team to establish boundaries between their work and personal lives. Many individuals are currently struggling with this because they no can no longer pack up and leave the day behind. Since a number of us are living in the same space in which we work, relaxation time is more important now than ever before. Encourage your team to set these barriers by touching base and thanking them for their work at the end of the day. You can even provide them with flexible schedules if needed.
Erase the Stigma Surrounding PTO
Along similar lines, you should also be working to erase the negative connotation that many people associate with taking time off. Being surrounded by work all the time has actually led individuals to put off their vacations due to rising stress levels. Team members may no longer feel like they’re capable of taking the time they need, and this leads them to the point of mental exhaustion. Try to mitigate this fear by establishing a buddy system. Where possible, pairing up members of your team to take over for others while they’re gone is a wonderful way to cover any absences and eliminate the anxiety your employees associate with vacation time.
Have Open Discussions About Burnout
You’ll want to start having open discussions about burnout as well. During meetings, encourage your team to let you know if they’re beginning to feel the effects of burnout. From here, you can supply them with resources to potentially mitigate their stress levels. Some possible tools to utilize could be regular team events to reestablish morale, personalized mental health assistance, and regularly scheduled relaxation exercises to reduce stress. Communicating freely with each member of your team will allow you to better assess their needs and decide how to help them feel better.
Provide Methods to Maximize Comfort
Lastly, find ways to help your team maximize their comfort in their home offices. You can help by supplying them with the resources to purchase more ergonomic office furniture. Many businesses are taking this opportunity to offer reimbursement programs to employees trying to redesign their current working spaces. This incentive encourages them to seek out options that will make them more comfortable and reduce the frequency or intensity of their pain. Furniture resellers like Rework are even decommissioning and refurbishing pre-owned products for this very purpose.
When it comes to setting up the perfect environment for your team to work remotely or in the office, Rework can help. Our selection of new and refurbished office furniture is available to view in person at our Chicago showroom or online. Our affordable, used office chairs in Chicago are carefully restored to their former beauty using our specialized reupholstery process and repadded to provide the most support. For many people around the world, working from home is a new normal. Our product specialists are here to help create a functional, purposeful home office space that also helps contribute to your team’s well-being.