4 ways to prevent employee burnout

Employee burnout costs Australian businesses nearly $10 billion a year in productivity. And with longer hours being worked across multiple industries (one in six Australians work more than 49 hours per week), and mobile technology making work a 24-hour proposition at all levels of an organisation, Australian workers are more at risk of burnout than ever.

From fostering resilience to a greater focus on wellness programs, here are four simple ways you can reduce the risk of employee burnout, protecting the health of your employee, and your business at the same time:

1. Foster resilience

Studies show that an empowered workforce is a resilient workforce. Stress resiliency is increased when employees feel some level of control over their situation, knowing that they are both accountable and empowered to make decisions.

Instill confidence in your employees by granting them autonomy in their roles. They will not only be better equipped to deal with unexpected stress, they will also be more likely to speak up in stressful situations, well before things reach a tipping point.

2. Encourage dialogue

Try starting regular team meetings with a ‘check-in’ of the team – ask your team how they’re feeling. There is no substitute for genuine care, but time can get in the way, so whilst you’re practising checking in informally, a regular agenda item can help. In particular, use this time to get closer to the things that impact your employees and improve your understanding of the business changes, policies and products that may be causing them stress in their daily routines.

By encouraging regular dialogue within the team, you can keep your finger on the collective pulse of your employees, and, at the same time, encourage them to support each other as a team.

3. Offer external support

In times of increased stress, providing a platform of external support is also important. From sourcing coaches and mentors within other areas of the business who have ‘been through it before’ to introducing a completely external EAP (Employee Assistance Program) provider, you can help your employees manage stress by giving them someone to talk to who isn’t directly involved in the situation at hand.

4. Work on wellness

Employee physical and mental health is key to mitigating stress in the workplace and reducing the likelihood of burnout. To promote a well workforce, consider implementing a wellness program for employees that offers discounted exercise classes and lunchtime group fitness activities that encourage participation.

Within the office, make sure you provide breakout areas, ideally set away from desks and meeting rooms, where employees can relax on the couch and watch TV, or engage in a fierce table tennis competition to shake off any stress.
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Rebecca Supierz


HR Manager – AU and NZ

Rebecca Supierz leads the HR function at SEEK for three of our business units: employment and learning; product, development and strategy; and finance. Before joining SEEK in 2013, Rebecca spent nine years working at Telstra, leading teams across...

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