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Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.netWhen an employee who was once one of your company’s top performers, who always seemed to have the best ideas, suddenly stops bringing his or her A-game or suddenly seems apathetic about the work, what’s changed? It’s most likely burnout, a combination of factors that can turn your best employees into your worst employees. Burnout often stems from high stress levels, exhaustion and boredom.

Although there are many contributing factors to burnout, the thing that’s important to remember is that it’s not inevitable. There are things you can do to help your employees stay engaged on the job and to help them avoid burning out.

Don’t Overburden Your Team

When your employees have too much on their respective plates, such as lengthy to-do lists or enough work to keep them in the office well past dinner time on the weeknights or that makes them come in on the weekends, they’re going to be more likely to burnout, due to sheer exhaustion. If your team regularly stays late or often looks panicked or concerned that they just won’t finish all of their tasks, it might be time to re-evaluate the size of your staff or the number of tasks you assign each person.

It might be that hiring a new employee or two is the way to go, so that you can better distribute the workload. If hiring full-time people isn’t in your company’s budget at the moment, another option is to outsource certain tasks or responsibilities. For example, it might get to the point where it makes more sense to work with a virtual CFO when it comes to managing your business’ financials, rather than expecting one of your employees to take on that work.

Encourage Them to Follow Their Interests

Boredom and lack of interest on the job often leads to burnout. Maybe your top employee started doing the drudge work months ago or when he or she first started and never stopped. Now, those menial tasks might have become his or her responsibility, even though they are keeping him or her from doing the work that’s genuinely interesting. Checking in with your employees every so often to make sure that the projects and tasks they are working on are actually exciting and challenging for them willl help you avoid having a team of apathetic, burned out employees on your hands.

Include Breaks in the Schedule

Make time off and breaks a part of each employee’s schedule. Don’t just encourage your team to take a lunch or to pause every few hours for a break. Implement a schedule that makes breaks a part of your work culture. That can mean having a designated time for lunch for everyone, every day or having a 15-minute company-wide coffee or tea break in the middle of the morning or in the afternoon. If many members of your team watch the same TV show, make a discussion half hour part of the workday the morning after the show airs. Making breaks a part of your company culture doesn’t only encourage your team to rest, it can also help to build morale.

Offer Incentives and Rewards

Another common reason for burnout is that employees just don’t feel appreciated. They might burn the candle at both ends, only to feel that their bosses or superiors aren’t taking notice or don’t care about their work. Employees might feel under or unappreciated for a few reasons. They might feel that their salary isn’t commensurate with the amount of work they put in. They might not see the point of the work they do or might feel that it’s not respected or valued. Or, they might feel that no matter how much they do, it’s not appreciated by the company as a whole.

The rewards you offer employees don’t have to be major.  Free food is often a great motivator, for example. Taking the time out to tell your team that you think they are doing a great job or to recognize the specific work or tasks completed by some members of your team can also go a long way towards preventing burnout.

If your team is stretched thin, but you don’t have the resources to hire more full-time employees, New Direction Capital can help. We’ll work with your team to help you solve your problems and grow your business.  Contact us today to learn more.

Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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