Following the government’s announcement on Tuesday that office workers are advised to continue working from home, it seems that the likelihood of returning back to the office is further away than we ever anticipated. We are officially 6 months into remote working, and whilst most of us are still comprehending this, Boris’s latest advice only heightens the threat of WFH burnout.
Burnout is directly linked to work – it is fatigue and frustration caused by overworking and prolonged periods of stress, and in 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised ‘burnout’ as a legitimate medical diagnosis, calling it a “syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
So, what can employers do to make sure they do manage workplace stress? And how do they go about managing said workplace stress when employees are no longer physically in the office workplace…
1. Manage expectations
Employers should be mindful of the impact remote working has on their workforce. Our working day has now blurred with our lives at home, so it is important that employers are realistic when it comes to an employee’s workload and the time it takes to complete a project.
In a recent survey 87% of workers who had started working remotely during the crisis said they felt pressured to be more productive to “prove the case for WFH post Covid”, and as a result worked way more hours than they should. Employees feel more pressure to perform, afraid that because their employers cannot physically see them working in the office they might be accused of being less productive and unenthusiastic when working from home.
It is therefore crucial that employers set realistic deadlines for projects and manage an employee’s workload. Allow and acknowledge flexible working so that a staff member can work during hours that suit their private lives. Ultimately, an employer should show that they trust their staff to work from home.
2. Create a sense of community
It’s really easy for workers to feel isolated, because, well… they kind of are. So it’s vital that employers promote a feeling of inclusivity and belonging, as though they are leading their team into battle and they are all in it together.
Leaders should strive to create a healthy company culture that values the individual as a person, and prioritizes the overall wellness of its workers, so ensuring employees ‘unplug’ at home and take regular breaks will benefit their wellbeing and help avoid burnout. Encourage boundaries so there is a clear divide between their work and personal life, and don’t forget to regularly check in on staff to see how they are getting on whilst working remotely.
3. Reward & Recognition
Lack of recognition, lack of purpose and lack of equal opportunity and fairness all contribute to the risk of burnout… so don’t neglect your remote employees. In fact, 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were more appreciated so it really is a no brainer.
Saying ‘thank you’ goes a long way by boosting an employee’s mood and making them feel appreciated and recognised. More importantly, 50% of employees believe being thanked by managers helps build their relationship and trust, which in turn cultivates a happier, more engaged workforce and therefore prevents burnout.
By rewarding and recognising your staff, you are showing that they are not forgotten about and how you appreciate the time and effort they put in whilst working remotely from home. If you want to avoid burnout amongst your workforce, our free employee benefits platform Reward Me Now will allow you to reward and recognise your staff as they continue the slog of remote working.