Employee Burnout: It’s Also the Employer’s Responsibility

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Most people think that burnout at work is an individual problem. When an employee burns out, they often blame themselves. For instance, they may feel like they didn’t manage their time effectively enough or are just unable to work as quickly as they imagined they could.

These reasons may be true to some extent. But employees are not solely to blame for work exhaustion. It is partly the employers’ responsibility too. And based on this premise, business owners and managers need to implement solutions to help their employees overcome burnout and become happier and more productive at work.

But before figuring out what solutions to use, these higher-ups must first understand how their work environment affects employees and causes them to burn out.

Work Overload

The workload is often a source of stress and exhaustion for many employees. When there’s too much on their plate, employees can feel overwhelmed, which will slow them down at work. And that will only lead to backlogs and more work.

Sometimes, employees can’t control the amount of work they need to accomplish each day. This is where the employer becomes responsible.

Take a corporate employee as an example. A study from the Harvard Business Review found that senior executives send 200 or more emails every day. And on average, a frontline supervisor spends a full eight-hour shift just on emails. These pieces of information show that, in many cases, a corporate employee has no choice but to work overtime to accomplish all their tasks, apart from reading and responding to emails.

Lack of Tools

Some employees may have difficulty executing their tasks due to the lack of proper tools, which are supposed to be provided to them by their employers. And this issue also contributes to employee burnout.

The pandemic is a good example to illustrate this problem. When the pandemic first started, many employees were suddenly made to work from home. Some of these employees didn’t have the tools they used in the office. For instance, an employee may have a laptop at home, but if it didn’t have the software they use for work, they’d have difficulty finishing tasks.

Lack of In-house Educational Opportunities

Most employees want to be trained. A lot of employees consider this when looking for jobs.

When companies provide opportunities to reskill and upskill, employees feel valued. They feel like their employers care for them enough that they’re willing to invest in them through learning. Even the simple gesture of inviting an expert business motivational speaker to a town hall meeting will be greatly appreciated by employees.

employee training

Unfortunately, the lack of training can contribute to employee burnout. Say an employee was given tasks but doesn’t have the right skills for them. This employee will have trouble finishing these tasks. And they’ll end up becoming exhausted and disappointed in themselves, which will affect their work performance.

Skewed Work Environment

In most work environments, being a workaholic and working overtime are perceived as positive. Some employees intentionally work more hours than others to impress their supervisors or be perceived as dedicated and hardworking.

Promoting this skewed concept in the work environment is dangerous to employees. If they’re overworked, employees will experience problems with their physical and mental health. Being unhealthy means that they won’t be able to work effectively, which will make them feel guilty. And the cycle goes on and on.

Difficulty to Get Paid Time Off

The majority of the workforce now is comprised of Millennials. Most of them don’t use their paid time off. One survey found that 47 percent of millennial employees felt guilty about taking paid leaves.

The reasons vary. Some employees fear the workload they will have to face once they return from work. They may also feel like the management won’t approve of their reason for a vacation leave. Others say that their coworkers shame them for taking a vacation. In this case, the work environment can be seen as the culprit for employee burnout. If a company gives paid leave credits to their employees, it’s their right to use it, regardless of the reason.

Since burnout is also an employer’s responsibility, the management must implement strategies to prevent employees from experiencing work exhaustion. For example, managers should conduct open discussions with employees to understand their needs. The solutions to burnout should be tailored to those needs (e.g., delegating tasks to prevent work overload).

In the end, it’s also the employers who will benefit from helping their employees overcome and prevent burnout since happy and healthy employees will be able to work more effectively.

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