A Guide to Managing Your Team and Avoiding Employee Burnout
December 10, 2019
Topicsburnout, Management, management skills, overwork, team management
It can be hard for managers to know if their employee is simply unproductive and disengaged, or if they’re having a burnout. Burnout is the enemy of productivity and stems from different causes, including too much work and stress, exhaustion of repetitive tasks, and lack of challenges at work. No matter what the root cause is, burnout drains employees of energy and lowers their productivity drastically. Managers must learn to recognize burnout in their employees and ways to avoid it happening in the first place.
Signs of Burnout
The signs of an employee being burnt out is when there is a decrease in work completed, or more complaints about the employee at work. In that case, you might be tempted to discipline the employee; but before doing so, find out if the issue is deeper than that. If the employee is typically consistent and stellar, and now they are lazy and unreliable, that could be due to them feeling overworked or not motivated by work.
Another sign of burnout is when an employee becomes disengaged from the team. Heather Morris, a project manager at Academized and OXEssays, explains that “if the whole team is keen to work on challenges together, give feedback to the managers, and look forward to new projects, but one employee is no longer contributing, that could indicate burnout. That person will become antisocial, no longer communicating with colleagues, and won’t contribute to meetings.”
Finally, when an employee becomes cynical and starts complaining about everything, that can also be a sign of burnout, especially if the employee is usually quite optimistic. If they say comments like they feel the project is going nowhere, or feel discouraged about their workload, it’s worth monitoring and exploring further as a manager. Occasional complaints are normal, but when the negativity is constant and comes from a previously-engaged employee, they are probably burning out.
Find Out More
As a manager, there are solutions to the problem. First, you’ll want to dig deeper and truly find the cause behind your employee’s new behavior. Meet with them and have a conversation. It’s possible that they’re going through a difficult situation in their personal life, or they’re feeling discouraged or stressed at work.
If you find that they’re not really giving you an explanation, you can ask certain pointed questions to find out more. Ask them what they would do if they could change their workload, or if there’s anything preventing them from producing as much as they did in the previous month. These questions will often give answers that point to burnout as a cause, which means you can then address it.
Develop a Balance
If your employee feels overworked, they will often try hard to finish the job, even if they have to work overtime and skip their breaks. This doesn’t contribute to the long-term wellbeing of the team or the employee. If you notice this happening as a manager, work with the employee to change that behavior. David Reuter, a team leader at Essayroo and UKWritings, suggests to “set some cut-off times so they stop working after hours, or insist that they take their breaks. If you make it clear that you don’t want themselves to overwork just to meet a deadline, you will take some of the pressure off them.”
If the burnout is caused by employees feeling like they’re doing too many repetitive tasks and the work is no longer challenging, make sure to vary their workload. Even though one employee may be the best at a certain task, assign it to someone else for a while, which will challenge that employee and give the former a break.
Similarly, when you assign projects, give some variety, like more creative projects to people who work repetitive tasks every day. Make sure you’re including your employees in these decisions so you’re not adding stress by changing it up, but actually assigning them exciting projects.
With change in the daily routine, employees are more likely to become excited and engaged at work. It’s important for managers to understand that burnouts don’t always go away on their own. You must monitor your employees for signs of burnout and then take action to get them back on track.
Aimee Laurence, an HR specialist and writer for UK essay writing services and UK writing services, helps businesses and managers improve their workforce management practices. She likes exploring different workplace arrangements to find some good work-life balance and shares that information with her readers. Aimee also writes for Top assignment writing services WA.