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With the COVID-19 outbreak causing a global shift in the workplace, the transition to remote work is faced with the new challenge of avoiding employee burnout. As the current need for social distancing is a non-negotiable, working in isolation has presented emotional and physical difficulties. Preventing employee burnout during an already stressful time is a top HR concern, as it causes strain on both personal health and work productivity. Although working from home comes with a multitude of benefits, companies weren’t ready for its mass-scale adoption.

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Having a designated change management protocol that includes tactics to prevent employee burnout will make any transition as smooth as possible. Companies that work with employees experience better adaptive responses from all levels of staff. Establishing healthy work practices during remote work transition will cultivate productive habits once the situation normalizes. This will shape the post-quarantine office to improve adaptive, responsive, and habitual performance. Employee health is currently taking a physical and mental toll, and these tips will help revitalize your company’s work culture and employee stamina:

Identify Priorities

The work-from-home burnout amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is a substantial risk to employee health and productivity. Now that social distancing is an imperative action, getting work done efficiently may seem difficult, especially for team-oriented companies. The traditional fast-paced office culture is experiencing a shift to the other extreme of completely slowing down, which can cause turmoil in individuals and groups. The dogmatic hustle culture of the workplace that most of us are used to now exists through an unrecognizable digital landscape that needs to be adapted to. Employee burnout is now being redefined in unexpected ways, and creating an organized plan will make visions clearer.  Read more about how to establish company culture here.

Now that the place we get most of our human interaction from is temporarily obsolete, energy shifts to figuring out new behavioral tactics. Outlining this as one of the top HR priorities will help navigate focus towards the most important business concerns. It’s important to operate with the same results-oriented efforts and to mitigate any obstacles that could get its way. Identifying which sectors of your company need improvement, which tasks require heightened focus, and how employees can operate better will help hone in on responsibilities of the utmost priority.

Set Boundaries

The home has replaced the office, boundaries between private and public life have blurred. New problems arise; parents need to occupy kids during Zoom calls, kitchen tables now hold desktops, visual assignments need to be reconfigured and thus take longer, etc. Now that the idea of leaving the office no longer exists, employees can potentially be online beyond the typical 9-5 hours. Not only has the integrity of getting work done been jeopardized, the home-self and the work-self have become indistinguishable. Read this to understand more about its various negative effects.

Burnout is experienced for a multitude of reasons that can seem out of everyone’s control. When employees are splitting there focus between these two, nothing gets done well. This is when you should offer resources and work-wide activities they can take part in. Offer new ways of employee-accountability they can take part in that mimics the group dynamic of your office. Set rules, like not allowing PJ’s during Zoom calls. This can alter mood to feel more productive and useful. Bringing consciousness to employee needs is vital. If parents have young children, they don’t have the help of child-care. Be aware of nap-times or potential breaks, slower response times, and other disruptions.

A Communal Effort

Working as a collective during transitional times will reap the most benefit. Checking in on each other as part of the new work regime boosts communicative productivity while recognizing potential issues. Check in on each other and make sure employees are also checking-out. Assign groups to push each other, participate in virtual coffee-breaks, and develop potential ideas for post-quarantine projects. Staying open and collaborative during a distancing will at least bring staff emotionally closer together.

As COVID-19 surfaces new pressures in personal life, it’s important to handle work-related circumstances as quickly and efficiently as possible. Employees may experience burnout through many forms and varying reasons, and open communication will help target the root. Inject your existing company culture to motivate and support tactics that will boost work ethic and employee morale.  

How To Prevent Employee Burnout

  • Identify work-related and employee-related priorities.
  • Offer support and resources that help mental and physical strains.
  • Alleviate stress and collaborate through open communication.
  • Promote employees to set boundaries between work and home life to ease stress and offer a sense of normalcy.

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James Lang

Motivated by challenges, change, and a supportive team environment, James has become a highly adaptable team player who is experienced in troubleshooting client services, training design and facilitation, and workforce management. As a result-oriented individual, he has gained a great reputation for consistently meeting targets, delivering quality work, and completing time-sensitive projects. Starting his career as a Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator with the Toronto Pan/Parapan Am Games Organizing committee, he co-developed a successful project aimed at increasing volunteer retention. Now joining the JungoHR implementation team, he will focus on streamlining client onboarding ensuring client satisfaction. With James’s professional background in Human Resource Management, blended with his passion for technology, he aims to further develop his technical experience in HRIS and ATS systems. He believes that perseverance and a positive attitude have made him who he is, and he will carry these core qualities throughout his future career and experiences.

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