5 Ways to Prevent Burnout In the Remote Work Environment

While productivity by remote workers may currently be exceeding expectations, it’s taking a toll. In April, 41% of employees said they feel burned out from their work, 45% said they feel emotionally drained from their work, and 44% said they feel “used up at the end of their work day,” according to a survey of 1,099 U.S. workers conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management.

These are all classic signs of employee burnout as exacerbated by the mental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s take a closer look at burnout and how to alleviate it in your workforce.

What Is Burnout?

• Physical and emotional exhaustion,

• Feelings of cynicism and detachment, and

• A sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.

Together, these symptoms significantly interfere with health, happiness and overall quality of life, eventually leading to an inability to successfully function on a personal and professional level.

Engage the Antidotes

  1. Rethink your meetings. Research has long established that meetings are perceived as an unnecessary waste of work time; these feelings have intensified as remote employees are now reporting “Zoom fatigue.” To keep every meeting as productive as it can be, announce a committed action plan, schedule only the fully required members to attend and, most importantly, stick to the agenda and time allotted.
  2. Initiate and zealously guard a “Golden Hour” policy. This is a planned time when all employees can work without any distractions: no meetings, phones are on silent, emails and chat pop-ups are disabled, and the focus is solely on the work at hand. It could be an hour a day, an entire morning once a week — whatever works for your enterprise.

Let’s look closer at how further rethinking employee time along these lines can help burnout.

Focus On Work, Not Minutes

Encourage “Single-Tasking”

Reprioritize Work-Life Balance

One way to jump-start a better work-life balance is to educate your remote employees about the importance of building and maintaining a strong, consistent threshold between their work and personal lives. This boundary is reinforced psychologically only when your workers build their own physical cues to establish when the workday has begun and when it is done — and respecting their own boundaries. (“I’ve changed out of my work clothes, I’ve turned off the computer and left my notes for tomorrow on the desk, I’ve turned off the desk lamp, and I’m not going back over there no matter who texts. My workday is done and now it’s time to move on.”) In other words, reinforcing (however inadvertently) a corporate culture of “better/bigger/faster/more” that doesn’t allow a solid work-life balance is a major contributor to burnout.

Go By the Numbers

Team management software can help organizations gain deep and measurable insights into employee work patterns. These insights help quantify the difference between expected effort and actual effort and establish benchmarks toward maximizing employee utilization. In addition, transparent visibility into how each member is performing gives real-time insights to team managers about the capability and intent of each team member. Having objective data on employees’ daily efforts will help both them and their managers identify why they’re burning out and what steps can be taken to help them.

Your Best Tool to Fight Burnout

Best of all, the data comes in automatically and unobtrusively from any end-point device, from day one. You could be learning to spot trends that lead to burnout within days or weeks instead of months of manual data collection.

Curious to know what else Sapience can do? Read more about our SaaS solution, Sapience Vue.

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Jannie Kinsey Goods

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