by Jessica Thiefels, owner of Honest Body Fitness
Employee burnout is on the rise thanks to our digital lives — it’s easy to answer an email at 9p.m. when you’re in bed because your phone is likely already in your hands, or on your bed stand. This burnout, otherwise known as stress, impacts employee performance, the quality of their work and relationships with coworkers and management, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Instead of letting burnout affect your bottom line, stop it in its tracks with these five company initiatives. Bonus: Employees will love them too, boosting their loyality to the company.
1. Weekly Work From Home Day.
One of the most important ways to reduce burnout is to provide employees with more autonomy and flexibility in their schedule, according to a recent workplace burnout study. To provide employees with more autonomy, start allowing employees to work from home one day a week.
This shows that you trust them to do their work, and also provides them with more work-life balance. Perhaps this allows someone to have breakfast with their kids, when normally they’d have to rush to the office. In the end, employees are happier and likely more productive.
2. Provide Relaxing Down Time.
Your employees are less likely to get burned out if they enjoy coming to work. Many organizations make this a priority in their offices, like Edelman Financial Services, “In addition to an annual holiday party, we stage smaller events throughout the year, from ‘Glop Day’ when we serve ice cream with lots of toppings to Stress Down Day. And we look for excuses (like the completion of big projects or celebrating an award) to cater breakfast and lunch for the entire firm,” explains Ric Edelman, founder and executive chairman.
Start an “Operation Fun” initiative, where you cater breakfast or lunch, bring in expert speakers or host fun competitions at least once a month. Whatever your employees will like is best for your organization.
3. Welcome Side Projects.
Side projects don’t take away from company productivity. Some of the best, most innovative ideas have come from employees working on side projects, sometimes during working hours.
This is a practice widely accepted and encouraged at Microsoft, LinkedIn and DropBox, the latter of which has regular dates on the calendar for their employees to work on side projects and new ideas.
Instituting a “Side Project Initiative” may sound trivial, but it gives your employees a break from their normal job duties, allowing them to return with fresh eyes. If you’re worried about managing distraction and ideas that could be valuable to the company, take at look at these logistics tips from Redbooth.
4. Give More Paternity Time for Dads.
Paternity and maternity leave are topics of discussion frequently in the business world. And in 2016, some of the largest companies implemented 6-month long new parental leave for both moms and dads, including IKEA, Twitter, Etsy and American Express, according to Forbes.
Having a newborn is exhausting, and without this much-needed time off, Dads are going to burnout faster and harder than normal. Implementing this initiative would allow you to reduce burnout among new dads and show both them and their spouses that you care about their family and needs.
5. Create a Culture of Teamwork.
Encouraging employees to work collaboratively as a team can help prevent burnout. When people are encouraged to share a challenging project, they’re reminded that they don’t have to do everything on their own—which is a quick road to burnout.
To get people working together, you have to make building a culture of collaboration in your office a priority. To do that, keep a few tips in mind: encourage autonomy and decision-making, set clearly defined team objectives, and make individual progress visible to the entire team, according to How to Promote Effective Teamwork in the Workplace.
Burnout doesn’t have to reduce productivity or drive your employees away. Use one or all of these five simple ideas to reduce burnout and boost overall happiness. In the end, everyone wins, including your bottom line.
Jessica Thiefels, owner of Honest Body Fitness, has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and spent the last six years in marketing. She recently stepped down from a senior marketing position to focus on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. She’s worked for businesses both big and small, including a 12-person education startup and well-known organizations like Business.com and Active.com.