To Prevent Workplace Burnout, Ask These 3 Questions

This article comes from Entrepreneur.

To Prevent Workplace Burnout, Ask These 3 Questions

There are many factors that contribute to this hotbed of pressure, but as the survey researchers conclude, burnout is not inevitable. Leaders who care about their people can and should take steps to prevent this snake from sinking its fangs into their workplace.

1. Stop and ask yourself the hard questions

Busy founders can often become so caught up in the work of building and maintaining their organization that they fail to see what’s right in front of them.

“Burnout can show up when leaders equate long hours with getting ahead,” writes Moss in another article for Harvard Business Review, “when there’s an implicit expectation that staff should come to work despite mental and physical illness, and when production-focused, remote, and inside sales environments tend to push relationship-building to the back burner, which has been shown to increase loneliness.”

The first step in reversing this systemic problem is by taking a hard look at leadership’s role in promoting unhealthy expectations. We can do this by continually be asking ourselves questions like: Why is our workplace lacking the conditions our team needs to flourish? How can I do my part to make this a happier, healthier environment? Am I placing the person over the product or vice versa? By asking the hard questions, we can proceed to the next step.

2. Address the root causes of burnout

Don’t fall into the too little, too late dilemma of only dealing with employee exhaustion once they’re thinking of leaving. Nip it in the bud by investing time and resources to combat fatigue before it happens (and no, this doesn’t involve buying thousands of ping-pong tables or installing cereal bars.) Below are a few examples of how I’ve created a burnout free workplace:

  • Encourage boundaries. Many people think the only way to get ahead is by working 80 hour work weeks and never using their vacation time, but it’s up to management to set these boundaries by encouraging flexible hours and a manageable workload. At JotForm, for example, we understand that everyone has a different internal prime time, and we welcome late-starters to come in at a different hour than early birds. We’ve also asked employees to ditch Slack after work hours to promote a healthier recovery time. As Moss says, “We need to teach people that setting boundaries is OK. It’s not selfish. It’s actually selfless. It allows you to be more effective at what you do, and to better [help] those you wish to serve.”
  • Practice regular, effective communication. According to that same Gallup survey, employees who strongly agree that they feel supported by their manager are about 70 percent less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis. Perhaps nothing shows people you have their back like letting them know they can come to you with any concern. For this reason, I’ve made it a point to set up long strolls on my way to lunch with new employees so we can get to know each other better. I’ve also implemented Demo Days each Friday so that teams can show what they’ve been working on and receive constructive feedback.

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