HOW TO: Minimise stress & burnout in your workplace
April 6, 2022
In a fast pace, non-stop working world, I wonder how many of us are suffering from stress without even realising?
We all remember how f*cking hard the pandemic was. Thankfully it also gave us time to slow down, even stop for a minute, which was great for reflection and reframing how we want to lead our businesses. As we emerge from our two-year interruption to life as we once knew it, I wonder how long it will be before old habits start to creep back in and employees begin to feel the effects of stress and burnout?
Here are 5 initiatives you can embed to help minimise stress and burnout in your workplace:
1. Normalise Breaks
Whether its people actually taking time out to have their lunch away from their desk, taking a break to reset for the afternoon of work; or using their holiday allowance throughout the course of the year – We have somehow found our way into pre-set mode of all work, no play.
Creating a culture of balance is imperative if you want to help your team reach optimum productivity and minimise their risk of stress and burnout. Encourage staff to take lunch breaks and use the time to eat, chat and create personal connections. Not only will people have time to reset, but you will also create a more inclusive workplace.
Having your business’ HR team monitor peoples annual leave and flagging when people have not taken any annual leave in the first 6 months of the year is a fantastic way to check in and make sure your team members are booked in to have a holiday. If you notice that someone in the team hasn’t had any holiday and there are no poolside plans for them in the near future, have a conversation.
Hear if they feel like there is too much on their plate for them to take time away from their job. This could be the conversation that helps you to realise that you need extra resource, instead of a conversation to hear that one of your team members are leaving 6 months down the track because they feel unsupported, overworked, and burnt out!
2. Ban Holiday Communications
Some businesses are already giving staff a forceful nudge to use up their holiday allowances to promote a better work life balance and give team members time to switch off. (This is great!) Unfortunately we can all still access our work emails from our personal devices so are we really having a break? I know that I have felt past pressures to ‘check in on things’ even when my Out of Office is on.
Banning holiday communications is a wonderful way for companies to give their staff a real rest from the office.
Does your team have work mobiles and laptops? Ask them to leave them in the office before they head off on holiday.
Does your team have their work emails on their personal phones? Ask the IT department to remove the account from their phone for the duration of their holiday.
3. Understand your Employees
To understand your employees, you must listen to them, they must be heard. Whether it’s about how they are feeling, or what they need and want; having an open & encouraging company culture where people feel they can speak up is paramount.
Employee engagement surveys, like The Happiness Survey are an excellent tool to use to get company-wide feedback from your team. Surveying employees regularly helps business leaders understand how their team are really feeling. Delivered with the right communications around why the business is engaging in this type of work and how important everyone’s feedback really is, not only will it provide key insights for the leaders of the business, but it will also create trust, allowing your team’s honest thoughts and opinions to be shared.
4. Lead your team… Out of the office.
Outdoor activity and exercise are key elements in increasing well-being and decreasing psychological distress, perceived stress, and emotional exhaustion in the workplace.
We all know the famous saying… Lead by example. If you want to help reduce stress and promote a healthy lifestyle for your team, then lead them out the office doors! This really is the best way encourage your team to get involved with extra-curricular activities you are trying to embed. If the boss joins the 7am running club, or 5 a side football team, more team members will be inclined to take part. Behavioural contagion is real! The mere act of people doing something around others naturally motivates others to get involved.
5. Trial a 4 Day working week
Here at The Condor Collective, we have implemented a 4-day working week. We believe that by having three full days off, our team have a much better work life balance, which helps increase their overall happiness.
There have been many studies on the impact of a 4-day working week, reaching back to the 1990s. Higher productivity, increased sales, reduced employee burnout and improved employee retention are some of the benefits that employers might expect from giving employees more control over their time.
So how does it work for us? Team Condor work 4 days and get paid for 5. All we ask is that everyone takes some time on a Friday to learn about something they are interested in. Then on a Monday morning we all share the learning/experience with the team. It could be as simple as how to make a new recipe; or as involved as taking on external studies.
We explain to the team when they start with the business that we have 20% less time to get all our work done, so we choose to work Mon-Thurs in in top gear. If we work as efficiently as we can, this allows us to all have a 3-day weekend!
I usually use the extra time to get out of London, spending time with my dog in nature. Not only does this time allow for recalibrating and restoration for me personally… It’s usually where my best ideas for the business comes from!