Preventing Burnout in A Remote Workforce
COVID-19 brought many shifts we just didn’t see coming. Almost overnight the world changed, jobs became as scarce as toilet paper as mass layoffs took place, businesses shut down and we had to adapt.
One of the biggest changes is the adaptation to remote work that has taken place as people have been forced to trade the office for the kitchen or the cube for the closet.
Working from home has long been something of an incentive for a lot of companies, but the isolation that has occurred has left many employees, even those used to remote work, with a sense of exhaustion, a feeling of loneliness amplified by the instability of the current word we live in.
Forbes is predicting a further increase of dissatisfaction as COMPANY LOYALTY DECREASES.
- People are complaining that they are working in a vacuum and hate isolation. Others feel no connection or loyalty at all now that they work from home. Expect company loyalty to continue to decrease as people worry more about their own future. A direct result will be workers sprucing up their resumes and updating LinkedIn to land a new job someplace better.
BURNOUT WILL INCREASE.
- Higher numbers of people will suffer from job-loss worries, work from home challenges, isolation, and feeling overworked, taking their toll on their mental health. Healthcare workers, executives, and small business owners will continue to be the top people to suffer from extreme burnout.
- A recent survey conducted by FlexJobs and Mental Health America found that 75% of people have experienced burnout at work, with 40% saying they’ve felt it during the pandemic specifically. And according to a July MetLife report on the mental health of the U.S. workforce, two in three employers said they expect a mental health crisis in the U.S. within three years.
These are sobering statistics but there are ways to provide a compassionate and connected approach to engaging a burdened work force through minimizing feelings of isolation and encouraging team relations.
How do we adapt? How do companies prioritize the health and wellbeing of their people and truly engage them?
Acknowledge there likely is a problem and that you need to know what’s going on.
A great starting place is by getting a pulse on how your teams are really feeling. One of the best ways to gather real data is through using tools like Emplify. Emplify uses anonymous surveys to obtain valuable, targeted data on exactly what your employees are thinking and feeling, how to take steps to build on successes and develop strategies that drive improvement.
At Titus we use Emplify to give us tangible data on key areas that include but aren’t limited to:
- Leader Integrity – do employees have sense that leadership are honest about the business and themselves?
- Leader Availability – how approachable, visible, accessible is the leadership team and do employees feel they are readily available to everyone?
- Fairness – are individuals treated and rewarded fairly for the work they are doing, and do they feel seen and celebrated?
- Rest – do employees feel they can take time off when needed?
- Meaning – the sense of value received when workers immerse themselves in their roles.
- Utilization – do employees feel that the companies are effectively utilizing their skills and abilities?
- Participation rates – you want your people to feel they have a voice and to know that action will be taken. The higher the participation rate the stronger the employee engagement.
Once the results are in you need to talk about it to let your employees know how important their feedback is. Get your managers talking about it in their one on ones, find out how the data can be used in real terms. Celebrate successes and use the areas of improvement as valuable insights into how you can grow stronger.
Minimize feelings of isolation and encourage team relations and engagement.
We love the philosophy of putting the right people in the right seats, using assessment tools to understand behavior and communication preferences, and understanding an individual’s values and motivators. All of that information is key to ensuring the right hire, but how you keep your employees engaged in such insecure times is a huge challenge, and these are strange times.
Connection fuels engagement. It’s a well-known fact that people stay or leave jobs because of their manager, and a strong work community is essential for connectedness and engagement.
- Weekly, informal one on ones with a manager foster openness.
- Weekly team meetings galvanize company transparency, give a forum for ideation, and make room for fun.
- Quarterly conversations chart growth and provide another touchpoint to solidify engagement.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, or something to that effect.
Find a way to celebrate together both in work and personally, birthdays, baby showers, graduations, sales, achievements.
- Work on some icebreakers – the quirkier the better
- Get people telling stories
- Focus on good things in work and life
- Virtual happy hours
Establish firm work/life boundaries and encourage flexibility.
When you work from home, it’s critical to help your team set healthy boundaries to keep the stress and demands of work from interfering with home life and vice versa.
Flexible scheduling can help your teams better balance personal and professional responsibilities. Step out of the 9-5 and let your employees hit the gym, do the school run, work an extra couple of hours a day and then take a half day Friday. Make rest a priority. Better to have regular rest than sick employees. We all have limits, they’re there for a reason.
We’re people working with people. We’re all valuable, we all need to have a voice and we all need to be seen.
At Titus, we are a people first organization. What that means is that we take a People-Partners-Profit approach. By looking after our people, putting them in the best position to succeed in a valued, validated, and connected way, we believe that we empower them to impact not only our partners but the world around us. Our profits are sown back into our people and we all grow together. We work with companies across the world to enable them to develop talent strategies that guarantee performance and that optimize their greatest asset their people. We have been a remote workforce since our inception 10 years ago and have learned a lot of lessons along the way. We believe sharing is caring and if our insights and experiences could benefit your company let’s hop on Zoom, reminisce about the good old days, then move forward together.
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