As we move into a new phase of remote work, what can leaders do to support their teams and ensure productivity without risking burnout? Burnout is now categorized as an official medical diagnosis and can no longer be ignored. It needs to be addressed at all levels of an organisation, or it could affect productivity, profits, staff engagement and staff turnover.
Protecting Newly Remote Workers
Evidence is mounting that remote workers are more likely to experience burnout – particularly those who are new to the game. Managers should not underestimate, for example, how things such as a home-to-office commute can play a big role in helping employees to psychologically separate their personal and professional lives – something which newly remote workers often struggle with. Without regular lunch breaks with colleagues or “watercooler” conversations between meetings, there is also the risk of loneliness and isolation, which managers must address.
Employees must take responsibility for communicating their needs and drawing clear boundaries to protect their work-life balance, however, it is largely up to management to create a culture which makes them feel safe and supported to do so.
Building Work Agreements Which Prevent Burnout
Burnout can be a result of many different things – from excessive workloads and working overtime, to feeling unappreciated or not having access to needed information or materials. When employees’ holistic workplace needs are met, burnout is less likely to happen. This means that to prevent it there needs to be managerial and organisational alignment.
To build effective strategies against burnout, managers must consider the following:
- Access to tools and information
- Employee connection to the business and its culture
- Visibility of different teams, departments, and projects
- Recognition and appreciation
- Task and project management
- Identifying ‘out of sight’ individuals, minority groups, previously disadvantaged individuals and neurodiverse individuals who might need more attention
- Helping to build peer-to-peer relationships
- How to prevent resource, opportunity and development isolation
- How to create an inclusive and communicative culture
- Leave policies
To help newly remote teams, individuals and managers ease into this new way of working, we created a digital book. Designed to make the first steps of remote work easy, it provides details which could also help with preventing burnout.
Download your copy here.