Research from a new Harvard Business Review article confirms what a lot of us have feared – that the pandemic has made a workplace problem even worse: Burnout.
In her February 10 article, author Jennifer Moss reports on a research survey that covered 46 different countries from a wide variety of sectors and jobs. Some of the troubling findings include:
*89% said their work life was getting worse
*85% said their well-being had declined
*56% said their job demands had increased
*62% had experienced Burnout “often” or “extremely often” in the past three months
Whoa. Not good. If you do not think that people on your team are burned out, you may be wrong.
First, we need to understand Burnout, which has six main causes:
- Unsustainable Workload
- Perceived Lack of Control
- Insufficient Rewards for Effort
- Lack of Supportive Community
- Lack of Fairness
- Mismatched Values & Skills
Now – what to do about it.
Like most workplace issues, it takes leaders to step up and take a stand so that this will be addressed in a compassionate and fair way.
*Help people develop a sense of purpose. People who have a strong sense of purpose tend to experience less burnout. Share your purpose with your team and encourage them to develop their own purpose or mission statements.
*Create manageable workloads. Leaders actually need to ask their teams to do less and cut wasted activities. A major time suck are meetings. Ask “do we really need to have this meeting,” “who really needs to be here,” “can it be a phone call,” “can we keep it to 30 minutes???”
*Lead with empathy. Frequently start meetings by asking how everyone is doing – rather than diving into the agenda. And actually give people time to respond. Do your best to look for cues about how others are doing. Actively listen to each team member and take action if you think someone needs support.
*Stay connected to friends and family. Encourage your team to spend time with the people they care about – even if it is virtually. Share your social activities and ask others what they are doing to stay connected. We all need our support networks, especially during stressful times.
The burnout problem did not arise overnight and we will not solve it that quickly, but leaders who promote these ideas will take solid steps for improvement.
Ideas for this blog taken from: Moss, Jennifer, “Beyond Burned Out,” Harvard Business Review online, February 10, 2021.