The corporate world we live and work in today is developing and growing at an enormous rate. There have never been so many companies, so many niche industries and specialization, and so many career options. While this is certainly good news for employees and companies alike, it does occasionally create some problems too.
Because there are so many companies, that means that there’s always a lot of competition on nearly every market. Therefore, businesses are expected to excel, and employees are expected to be more productive and more efficient than ever before. And this can, naturally enough, be extremely stressful and overwhelming. But there’s an additional catch - because there are so many job opportunities (global ones too, with the rise of remote work), employees don’t hesitate too much to look for another job in order to escape the pressure and stressful atmosphere.
This kind of vicious cycle of employee turnover is symptomatic of another pretty serious issue - employee burnout. There is no doubt that burnout only creates problems, both for workers themselves but also for companies. And it’s not easy to recognize, let alone treat. But it’s not impossible either.
This article will deal with how to use employee productivity tracking software to detect early signs of burnout and what to do when you find them. Hopefully, it will help you get a happier and more engaged workforce, and consequently reduce turnover.
How Serious of a Problem is Employee Burnout?
As we’ve hinted, employee burnout is a pretty big issue. This is clear to everyone. But what many managers and business owners are wrong about is how widespread it is. You might think that it can happen to a couple of employees from time to time, but the reality is that it’s much more common than that.
Some statistics indicate that 44% of employees undergo occasional burnout and that an additional 23% feel burned out most of the time. Which means that well over half of your workforce isn’t happy or engaged at their jobs!
To illustrate the full gravity of the situation, let’s see what exactly happens when an employee is burned out.
The first thing that this state of mind invariably brings about is poor performance. An employee just doesn’t care about what they do, so they don’t put in any effort. They do the bare minimum and there’s less and less creativity, initiative and innovation that they’re willing or capable of investing in their work. Or they’re so stressed out that it becomes hard for them to focus and they become sloppy. The second thing that can happen is that they just up and leave the job that they’re not happy with any longer.
Now imagine this happening to half of your employees.
Even if the seriousness of the issue is well understood, there’s one more common misconception among the employers - that it’s not up to them to fix it. In reality, though, the most common reasons for burnout stem from the management, either directly or indirectly. Negative company culture with no support mechanisms and collaboration system where some employees are allowed to do nothing while others are overburdened, work-life disbalance resulting from having to be available all day every day, hectic management with no structure and tangible goals or strict micromanagement practices that don’t allow any flexibility - all of these issues come from the top, and it’s the top that should be responsible for fixing them.
But first, how can you even tell that you have an employee burnout problem in your company?
The Telltale Signs That the Crisis is Underway
There are some pretty conclusive indications that an employee is burned out, such as a sudden lack of motivation, overly critical attitude to their colleagues or even their own work, irritability, etc. But these signs are difficult to notice, especially if you don’t have face-to-face communication with the affected employees. Luckily, there are also some signs that are easier to spot if you’re using employee productivity tracking software to monitor computer activities. We’re going to focus on these.
The first indication that you can look for is procrastination. If someone is experiencing burnout, they will likely have a tough time forcing themselves to get to work. Within your employee productivity tracking software, this will be exhibited either by a late clock-in, or by a regular clock-in followed by a period of inactivity or the use of unproductive apps and websites before finally starting to work on tasks.
This trend of slacking off is probably going to continue into the working day. Indulging in social media, watching funny videos, chatting with friends, or straight-up looking for another job are all obvious ways to deal with the stress. Every distraction will be hard to resist for a burned out worker, and your employee productivity tracking software will detect this kind of activity.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that the ultimate result of employee burnout is reduced productivity overall. What this means is that the affected individuals will be less and less productive as time goes by. There’s a very handy statistic in employee productivity tracking software called productivity trends, which shows you whether an employee’s productivity levels are down compared to the previous period and by how much. Now, of course, not every dip in productivity entails burnout, but if you notice that it’s been trailing off for some time, it might be a more telling sign.
How Can You Fix Burnout?
Once you have detected the problems and burned out employees with your monitoring software, it’s time to do something in order to remedy the situation. After all, only by making changes to your management style can you retain your employees.
Reasons for the burnout can be various, but you can always start by helping employees re-engage with the work they do. You can do this by first showing recognition for their accomplishments and efforts, and then by assigning them more responsibility and more meaningful tasks. This will reinforce their value to your company and will hopefully show them that even if they feel overworked from time to time, it’s all for a reason. At the very least, it’ll make them less disinterested.
Another thing you should do is re-evaluate and improve the part of your policy that affects your employees’ work-life balance. Do they have enough vacation days? Are they allowed to work remotely? What about flexible working hours? Overtime and weekend work? Team buildings? Lunch breaks? Benefits? If handled right, these things can significantly reduce overworking and stress, and improve job satisfaction.
And finally, if all else fails, one more tweak you can try in order to reduce burnout is to simply let employees take a break from their usual work. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean giving them extra days off. You can accomplish almost the same effect by giving them different kinds of tasks for a little while. For example, if your top architect is burned out from working on this one building, you can switch them to something else, such as consulting on another project, training new employees, etc.
As we have seen, employee burnout can be a serious problem for a business and it’s way more common that most managers believe. But by using employee productivity tracking software to detect the signs early and then adjusting your strategy to curb the problem will enable you to stay on top of the issue, in turn making your workforce happier and employee turnover lower.