Preventing Burnout: Promoting a Thriving Company Culture

17 months, 487 days, 12,410 hours—and still counting. Restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic are loosening up around certain parts of the world, while some countries still feel the pressure. Regardless of where your geographic location stands, chances are you—or at least some of your team members—are feeling—or have felt some sort of burnout, due to the diverse, yet collective, challenges facing our human population.

The challenges of remote learning—remote working—extra childcare duties—isolation among single people living alone—illnesses—fear of illnesses—worries about the well-being of loved ones—layoffs—fears of job loss—being laid off twice in one calendar year—starting new jobs remotely. Those are just some of the individual challenges faced by professionals worldwide. In fact, if you are like me—in many ways, simply reading this list can feel exhausting.

Regardless of how motivated you are professionally and/or personally, the struggle with burnout can be real. At one point in time, surveys indicated the number of Americans experiencing pandemic burnout could be as high as 76%. Even as we get closer to ‘herd immunity’ in the U.S., and people are starting to cautiously gather more often, the burnout still arguably exists, almost in a PTSD-type of way.

The World Health Organization defines burnout as “failure to manage chronic stress.” But according to Psychology today, Pandemic Related Burnout is different from traditional burnout, because it’s also associated with heightened feelings of depression, isolation, and anxiety.

How to Help Employees

As a workforce leader, chances are you would like to help employees recover from Pandemic Related Burnout, as this not only increases business results, but also improves company culture. Here are some of our favorite, cost-effective, simple ways to help ease the burden so many people have been facing, primarily from a virtual workplace.

Listen Actively
Consider implementing strategies to get employee feedback, including virtual focus groups, leadership fireside chats, and other activities. By promoting these activities, you can learn more about ‘individual pain points’ that could be hindering the virtual workplace. From there, you can work on ways to lessen any obstacles in question.

Emphasized Recognition
Are you making sure to recognize high performers within each department? Creating meaningful testimonials and recognition activities/spotlights is an easy way to promote a supportive culture. These types of promotions can also be used in an outward-facing/public relations-style within company marketing materials.

Encourage Time Off
In the U.S., the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that 92% of Americans canceled, postponed, or didn’t book a vacation in 2020. This resulted in dozens of unused PTO hours. To better accommodate workers, 42% of companies surveyed say they’ve adjusted vacation policies, allowing additional PTO carryover.

Affirming employees to take time off is also helpful. Taking a full day off work has a multitude of health benefits, including (but not limited to) reduced stress, an improved immune system, and better mental health. Days off work also often result in higher levels of productivity. In fact, recent studies show 77% of supervisors report stronger productivity among employees who take vacations.

A Unique Response

Companies across the world have responded to Pandemic Related Burnout in various ways. Last week Bumble/Badoo made headlines as they reported giving their entire global team a week off to heal from burnout, citing, “As vaccination rates rise and restrictions ease, we wanted to give the teams a much deserved week off to recover and refresh a bit.”

Other teams across the world have reported having bosses who implemented things like a “no meeting Friday” where teams didn’t have any virtual meetings.

What are some of your favorite ideas or methods for helping to eliminate Pandemic Related Burnout within your workplace? Log in to our exclusive discussion board to join our private conversation among global industry peers/workforce leaders.

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