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The superpower of small businesses is their employees. Engaged, passionate, and healthy employees help your business grow and thrive. However, employee burnout is a thorn in the flesh that turns dedicated and diligent employees into unfocused and apathetic workers.

Employee burnout manifests in three primary ways:

  • Physical exhaustion due to energy depletion
  • Progressive mental distancing from job roles and heightened job apathy 
  • Continued decline in professional standards

Burnt-out employees significantly impede a business’s growth and bottom line. They’re at a high risk of experiencing anxiety disorders and depression, which cost the global economy $ 1 trillion in productivity drain

Small business owners often bear the most brunt of financial and productivity losses caused by employee burnout as they’re likely wholly reliant upon human workers to complete operations. But there’s a way out. Consider implementing these six strategies for reducing employee burnout. 

Set Up Employee Wellness Programs

Burnout takes a heavy toll on an employee’s physical and mental health. A holistic workplace wellness program guides and motivates workers to adopt and pursue a healthy lifestyle. Research has proved physical activity is an effective means of reducing burnout. Thus, your wellness program should incentivize workers to be physically healthy. Some ideas you can use to achieve this include:

  • Offering free health education to improve your employees’ health literacy on prevention practices for conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Creating reward programs for employees who achieve certain milestones, like completing a weight loss challenge
  • Offering free or subsidized gym memberships
  • Supporting wellness initiatives like mental health clubs or running clubs 

You should seek employee input when creating a wellness program. In fact, you can set the budget for the program and leave the other nitty-gritty to your employees to figure out. 

Provide Employee-Oriented Flexibility 

Employee-oriented flexibility grants workers more job autonomy. It gives employees more control over certain aspects like where and when to work. Depending on the nature of your business operations, you can allow employees to work partially or fully remotely. You may also allow them to set work schedules and deadlines. 

Flexible schedules help employees achieve and maintain work-life balance. Studies indicate that employee-oriented flexibility is linked to better employee well-being and health. When workers are in charge of their schedules, they have more flexibility to allocate time for fun, non-work-related activities such as family time. It helps them unwind and alleviates burnout. 

Set Up Relaxation Spaces In Your Work Premises 

Relaxation spaces are designated areas in a workplace where employees can kick back and destress. Workers can take a power nap, meditate, or play fun games like shooting pool, darts, or chess. Relaxation areas infuse a cozy feeling into a workplace, making workers enjoy their time at work. This is great, given the average person spends 90,000 hours at the workplace in a lifetime

With the high-paced nature of business, it helps to have a designated space for your workers to relieve some of the stress that naturally piles up over time. Less stressed employees avoid getting burnt out as they constantly rejuvenate their energy. Some good ideas for relaxation spaces include:

  • Creating a recreation room 
  • Adding water features in the office
  • Creating outdoor gardens 
  • Adding succulent terrariums

Offer Paid Vacation and Time Off

Separate studies by Marshfield Clinic and the University of Pittsburgh’s Mind Body Center found that taking vacations reduces the levels of stress and depression. Vacationing helps employees unplug from their usual work life and experience a new environment without worrying about work. It invigorates a worker’s mind, soul, and body. Taking time off is an excellent way to destress, considering 25% of workers say their job is the leading source of stress in their lives.

Ensure Effective Workload Management

Workload management is a significant factor contributing to employee burnout. About 41% of stressed workers say workload is the leading stressor. Overloading employees with too many tasks increases their stress levels, eventually leading to burnout. That’s why you must allocate and manage job tasks fairly across your team. 

Effective task management helps maximize your team’s productivity because no member is overwhelmed or has little tasks. You can follow these steps to distribute and manage your workload reasonably: 

  • Step 1: Establish how much workload you have vs. your team’s capacity
  • Step 2: Distribute resources and allocate each team member a specific role
  • Step 3: Schedule 1:1 and team check-ins to discuss progress with team members and adjust roles where necessary
  • Step 4: Focus on enhancing project management efficiency when the workload snowballs
  • Step 5: Adopt a work management tool like ClickUp, Asana, or

Empower Employees To Find Meaning and Purpose From Work

Employee burnout isn’t only triggered by objective issues like task overload or working long hours. Other subjective factors like lack of purpose and feelings of helplessness also contribute to employee burnout. These happen when you or your business manager fail to empower employees to achieve the results that make them valuable to the company.

For instance, say you run a private clinic but fail to invest in proper medical hardware like X-ray machines. In this case, your physicians may feel helpless because they know they cannot help a patient 100% without the X-ray machine, even if they spend all their time on the patient. Such physicians will feel purposeless, develop job apathy, and soon get burnt out even if they work regular hours.

Besides providing workers with the tools and resources they need to become effective at their jobs, you should also promote a workplace culture that celebrates employees. Establish a reward and recognition system that gives workers credit when it’s due. Genuine recognition for hitting set milestones or team goals makes employees feel valuable and part of a greater purpose. 

Invite Resourcing Edge To Brainstorm Out-of-the-Box Employee Burnout Prevention Strategies 

Prevention is the true panacea for employee burnout. But it’s also the trickiest part, especially if you aren’t a human resource expert. However, you can’t neglect the hardcore business functions that butter you bread to focus on burnout prevention ideas. Good thing you can count on Resourcing Edge to help you implement novel ideas of preventing employee burnout.

In over three decades of operations, we’ve helped many small and big companies design holistic operational strategies that prevent employee burnout and other inefficiencies. When you partner with Resourcing Edge, we’ll go through your business operations with a fine-tooth comb and unveil loopholes that can prompt employee burnout. Our human resource experts will design customized strategies to seal those gaps and avoid short and long-term employee burnout.

Contact Resourcing Edge today and let us help you escape employee burnout before it stifles your small business. 


Jami Beckwith

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