Tips for Helping Employees That Are Burnt Out

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talking to an employee that is burnt out

As a manager, you are likely the first person your employees will turn to when they’re feeling burned out. You can help them find ways to recover and return to their normal state of mind. In this article, we’ll explore the signs of burnout and some strategies for managing it in the workplace.

What are the Clear Signs That an Employee is Burnt Out?

If you’re looking to know that an employee is currently burnt out or may be heading that way, here are some signs to look out for:

They’re Working Long Hours Without a Break

If your employees are regularly putting in extra hours without taking any time off, they’re likely headed for burnout. Prolonged periods of work without a break can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, which can eventually lead to burnout.

They’re Showing Up Late or Leaving Early

If your employees are starting to show up late or leave early more frequently, it could be a sign that they’re burned out. When someone is burnt out, they may not have the energy or motivation to put in a full day’s work.

Their Work is Suffering in Quality or Quantity

If you notice that your employees’ work is slipping in quality or quantity, it could be a sign of burnout. When someone is burnt out, they may not have the energy or motivation to do their best work.

They’re Isolating Themselves From Their Co-Workers

If your employees are isolating themselves from their co-workers, it could be a sign that they’re burned out. When someone is burnt out, they may not have the energy or motivation to socialize.

They’re exhibiting Unusual Mood swings

If your employees are exhibiting unusual mood swings, it could be a sign that they’re burned out. When someone is burnt out, they may not have the energy or motivation to regulate their emotions.

What are Some Strategies for Managing Burnout in the Workplace?

If you’re looking to manage burnout in the workplace, here are some strategies to consider:

Provide support

In addition to the tangible necessities, employees who are burnt out need your emotional support.

Listen to their story without judgment and acknowledge what they’re going through, particularly if it’s something that other people might not understand. Offer to be a sounding board for them as they talk through their situation and help them come up with solutions for dealing with it.

If you can help in any way, offer that assistance too — whether it’s taking on some of their workload, connecting them with resources, or simply being someone to talk to.

Determine the impact of the crisis on work

First, identify the problem and determine its impact on work.

Then, if necessary, get support from your manager or HR department to help you manage it. Some issues can be resolved quickly with no disruption to your day-to-day activities—like missing paperwork or a canceled meeting. Other situations may require more time away from work—such as taking care of an ill family member or dealing with a safety concern in your home.

In either case, try not to let these issues bleed into other areas of your life or impact others around you who are not directly involved in resolving them (including those at work).

Keep communication channels open

When an employee is struggling, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. This way, you can provide support and understanding, while also keeping tabs on how they’re managing the situation.

If possible, set up regular check-ins (daily, weekly, or as needed) so that you can offer help and see how they’re progressing. These meetings don’t have to be long—even a quick 5-10 minute chat can make a world of difference.

Encourage them to take a break

If someone is dealing with a lot of stress, encourage them to take a break—even if it’s just for a few minutes. Stepping away from the problem at hand can help clear their head and allow them to come back with fresh eyes.

There are a number of ways they can do this, including taking a walk, listening to music, or spending time with friends or family. Just be sure they’re not using these activities as a way to avoid their work altogether.

Start Mental Health Initiatives at Your Company

If you want to help your employees before they reach the point of burnout, start by promoting mental health in the workplace.

This can be done in a number of ways, such as offering mental health screenings, providing access to therapy or counseling services, and holding workshops on managing stress. You can also create a culture of open communication by normalizing discussions about mental health and challenging the stigma that still surrounds these topics.

It’s also worth noting that you should be leading by example

As a manager, you set the tone for how your team deals with stress and handles difficult situations. If you’re constantly working long hours and skipping breaks, your employees will likely do the same.

Instead, lead by example and make sure you’re taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. This will not only help you stay healthy and productive, but it will also show your team that it’s okay to do the same.

Avoid Punitive Knee-Jerk Responses

When you’re dealing with an employee who has been burnt out, it’s important to remember that they may not know what they need. They also may not be in a position to take the time to figure out how best to help themselves. If a situation arises where your employees are burned out, it’s best to avoid punitive knee-jerk responses.

In particular, avoid responding through punishment or criticism—a common way of expressing frustration when someone is underperforming is by saying: “If you were doing your job right we wouldn’t have this problem.” This sort of statement only serves as fuel for their anxiety and guilt (even if it wasn’t intended that way). Instead of being critical, try talking about ways you can help them be more productive at work or encouraging them to take some time off from work so they can rest more easily.

Take Into Employee Off-Job Obligations into Consideration

To help employees that are burnt out, consider employee off-job obligations.

If an employee is experiencing mental health issues or other personal issues that are causing him or her to be burnt out, it may be worth discussing options for support outside of work. Consider flexible work arrangements and work-from-home options as well.

Also discuss paid time off (paid vacation time, paid sick days) and unpaid time off with the employee if he or she needs to take time off from his or her job due to these personal issues.

Encourage and Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance

We all know that work-life balance is important, but sometimes it’s difficult to achieve. If you want to help your employees avoid burnout, encourage and promote a healthy work-life balance.

This can be done in a number of ways, such as setting realistic expectations for workloads, providing flexible working arrangements, and encouraging employees to take their vacation time. You can also lead by example by making sure you’re taking breaks throughout the day and disconnecting from work when you’re not on the clock.

Keep Tabs On Workplace Culture

A great way to keep tabs on workplace culture is by having an open-door policy. This means that you should be available to talk with your employees any time they need it. By keeping in touch, you will know what is going on with them, and if there are any issues or concerns that need addressing.

Another way to stay informed about team members’ well-being is by consistently checking in with them throughout the day. You can do this via email or by stopping by their desk to see how things are going. If any issues arise from these conversations, then you can address them immediately instead of letting them fester for weeks at a time (as many managers do).

Want to be Proactive About Burnout?

If you want to be proactive about burnout, start by looking at your team’s workload. Make sure that everyone is able to take breaks during the day and that they’re not consistently working long hours.

You can also hold regular team meetings to check in with everyone and see how they’re doing. If someone seems to be struggling, offer your help and support. Finally, make sure you’re leading by example and taking care of yourself both physically and mentally.

If you want to start reducing burnout and keep tabs of your employees’ wellbeing, work with us here at Yerbo. 


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