Employee burnout is the state of being exhausted both emotionally and physically. This commonly results from long-time frustrations, stress and overworking. Factors such as demanding jobs, insufficient resources and support, fixed deadlines, and a poor workplace atmosphere can lead to burnout.
The effects of employee burnout can be disastrous on your business. That’s why it’s vital to track productivity in a way that identifies and counteracts employee burnout.
Tracking company productivity is, among other things, the practice of monitoring how your staff utilize their time, tracking time on projects and tasks, and capturing behavioral insights based on computer activity
Tracking your staff’s productivity will not only increase their output but also notify you of their burnout at an early stage. This is why productivity tracking is vital to setting your team up for success.
Identifying Employee Burnout
If your naturally reliable and busy employee all of a sudden becomes unreliable or pessimistic, this may be an indication of burnout. Their hours could be too long, workloads too heavy and support too lacking.
Burnout is a pervasive part of the modern workplace. It is, as much as almost any other factor, what causes low productivity in organizations.
There are clear signs of burnout for you and your employees to watch out for, including:
- Lack of concentration
- Being quick-tempered
- Frequent illness
- Being unfriendly at work
- Being pessimistic towards others and what they do
The above signs will be most notable in a face-to-face setting. Where employees are working remotely, it is advantageous to mploy productivity programs to detect burnout.
Using Productivity Tracking Software to Recognize Burnout
Burnout isn’t a suggestion that there is anything fundamentally wrong with team structure or management style. It’s typically more an indication that an employee needs extra support, training or resources to better manage their workload.
Dealing with burnout after the fact often means addressing the situation after much of the damage has already been done. That’s why being proactive and detecting burnout before it happens is so important.
Relying on the best productivity tools for work can help you detect any risks of burnout before it happens by identifying bottlenecks, decreases in productivity and periods of inactivity. Here’s how to make use of productivity tracking software available today:
1. Monitoring Employee Activity
By monitoring the websites and applications your employees visit during working hours, you can gain insights into whether there is an increase of non-work related activity.
This idle behavior can often be a sign of burnout as employees seek increasing moments of respite from their overloaded work plate.
If you detect an increase in the use of social media or news sites, instead of simply interrupting it as wasted time, be sure to dig deeper to see if it is a sign of burnout.
A top work productivity tracker app will provide screenshots that make it easy to detect website and app usage.
2. Employee Time & Attendance
Monitoring your staff’s attendance to work is essential too. How often your workers report to work and whether they complete their allotted hours can also indicate burnout.
That’s because absenteeism is a clear sign of burnout. Simply, when an employee feels overwhelmed they become less motivated to attend work.
Additionally, your productivity tracking software may show that certain employees are consistently working significant amounts of overtime. This heavy burden of work can be a clear path to burnout, and it should be addressed with your employees.
Though working overtime is a sign of dedication and can help your company grow, it may negatively impact business if it goes to the extreme.
3. Time On Tasks & Projects
Productivity tracking systems allow you to track the time it takes for employees to complete tasks and projects. This data can be incredibly revealing when it comes to detecting burnout.
If you notice routine tasks and projects taking significantly longer than usual, this can indicate that burnout is a contributing factor. A good productivity software will use historical data that compares equivalent tasks completed over time.
When a dip in task and project productivity is identified, it’s often a sign of an unbalanced workload. In other words, employees are spread too thin and heading for burnout.
If this is the case, it’s prudent to offer employees more support, resources or training to avoid burnout before it happens.
The Way Forward After Identifying Burnout
After identifying the demotivated personnel at experiencing burnout, top productivity apps can help you provide the support they need.
Doing so shouldn’t be an ad hoc measure. Instead, have clear productivity policies and strategies that outline how your team will actively prevent burnout amongst your team, with specific focus on employee health and wellbeing.
Here are some prospective focus areas:
Improve The Office Environment
The office setting has a serious impact on your workers both physically and mentally. It is, therefore, necessary to maintain a relaxed, comfortable environment conducive to productive work and employee well being.
While catered lunches and foosball tables are common for Silicon Valley tech companies, there are less expensive ways of improving your office environment, such as :
- Repaint using carefully chosen colours.
- Use plants to improve the mood and quality of indoor air.
- Create flexible breakout space to eliminate monotony.
- Provide quality, less expensive tea and snacks, and so on.
Early Finish On Fridays Or A Shorter Working Week
Working extended hours may increase your employees’ productivity in the initial stages. Nonetheless, this can take the opposite direction with time.
Longer working hours that lead to burnout can reduce productivity. Additionally, work quality may decrease, thus negatively affecting your brand and relationship with your customers.
Hence, letting your staff home early on Fridays or having a shorter working week is an easy means to fight staff burnout.
Give Employees Special Benefits
Allowing your staff to work during hours when they are most productive rather than a rigid 9-5 can significantly improve their productivity. This provides them with a balanced life in and out of the office, reducing the burnout risk.
You could also offer your staff a remote working perk to allow flexibility. This results in job satisfaction and, in turn, improves their productivity.
Paying your employees peanuts may bring more harm than savings to your company. Insufficient cash in your workers’ pockets may be a great source of their demotivation. Furthermore, financial instability can cause sleeplessness, tiredness at work, erroneous acts, and stress which may eventually lead to burnout. Rightful payment of your employee could save you plenty.
Introduce Team Building Activities
Company time shouldn’t be all work and no play. It’s important to create regular team building activities that get employees away from work and gives them time to decompress.
Paying for your workers’ outings and buying lunch or drinks for them could boost their morale, and so is productivity.
In today’s remote environment, team building activities can be done in a virtual world to involve your distributed team.
Give Credit Where It’s Due
If you constantly criticize your employees’ mistakes and never appreciate them for a job well done, they may be demoralized and fail to exploit their potential.
Acknowledging your employees’ good work is the cheapest and most straightforward approach to increasing productivity.
So, make sure you setup a formal rewards and recognition program. You can use data from productivity tracking to objectively assess where rewards are due.
Provide Extra Resources And Support
Oftentimes, the risk of burnout is as simple as employees not having the resources and support they need.
The first step is to use time management and productivity apps to identify when productivity has dipped or bottlenecks are being hit.
Armed with this data, your next step is to approach impacted employees to get their feedback to ask whether extra resources and support would help solve the issues they are facing.
Extra resources and support doesn’t mean huge budget expansions. Extra resources may be others on your team who have time and expertise to assist.
And extra support may be as simple as managers spending more dedicated time with employees each week.
Your workers are your number one asset. Always ensure they are comfortable with their tasks, company structures, and work environment.
By carefully putting measures in place to prevent burnout, you will greatly support their health and well-being and, consequently, increase productivity.
Ryan Fyfe is Chief Operating Officer at Workpuls, a workforce productivity and analytics platform that helps organizations drive productivity, benchmark performance and improve efficiency. Ryan is also the founder and former CEO of Humanity.com, a global leader in employee scheduling software with 1m+ users in more than 40,000 workplaces.
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