Does your team seem overly tired? Are they having difficulty staying focused? To coin an overused but accurate phrase, it’s been an unprecedented time. The incidence of COVID-19 employee burnout is growing and it could be taking its toll on your staff.
Employees are feeling the strain. A recent study by Indeed of 1,500 U.S. workers assessed the level of burnout exhibited by different groups of people from COVID-19. It found that 52% of those workers are feeling burned out. Additionally, 67% believe the feeling has worsened over the course of the pandemic. And it’s happening across all age groups.
What Is Causing COVID-19 Employee Burnout?
Burnout is defined as emotional and physical exhaustion brought upon by long periods of constant stress. With employee burnout, this stress comes specifically from the job. Researchers characterize burnout by symptoms including exhaustion, headaches, sleeplessness, irritability, and apathy. Some burned-out workers will seem down and depressed.
General burnout can be caused by long hours or a lack of control over your work situation. It can also stem from feelings of frustration or failure on the job. COVID-19 employee burnout is symptoms brought about during the course of the pandemic.
According to the Indeed study, remote workers were more likely to say they were suffering from burnout and that it has worsened as the pandemic has progressed. More than half of those surveyed who work remotely said they are putting in longer hours at home. They report missing out on a work-life balance due to constantly spending time in the home office.
Overall, vacation time decreased during the pandemic since no one could travel or plan relaxing time away. This also led to increased employee burnout and a lack of work-life balance. There was little opportunity for employees to detach from the stress.
Therefore, stress levels were high, both professionally and personally. There was worry about safety from potential illness, job loss, finances, and family well-being. Frontline worker stress increased as they continued to clock in and perform their jobs in high-risk environments.
How Employers Can Support Staff and Prevent Burnout
It’s vital for employers to consider the mental health of their employees to prevent COVID-19 employee burnout. Self-care and life enjoyment are critical to an employee’s ability to perform well on the job.
The Indeed survey recommended employers enact these three vital best practices to decrease the chance of burnout:
- Flexible scheduling and encouragement of vacation time
- Support employees in maintaining a work-life balance
- Re-examine and adjust employee perks and benefits
Other recommendations for supporting employee mental health include increased communication to check in on employee needs. Most importantly, leaders can listen and provide a supportive atmosphere for employees to feel safe sharing their stressors. Assist employees to feel at ease about taking vacation time by providing adequate coverage for them to unplug completely.
Decreasing Workload Can Make a Big Difference
Many employees are feeling overworked and undervalued. Encourage remote workers to divide their day, if possible, and take breaks from the screen. Time here and there to focus on family and personal responsibilities allows more of a work-life balance to refocus.
Moreover, employees with a high workload due to pandemic-related staffing cuts may need a break, too. Is it time to rehire a few employees quickly to help prevent COVID-19 employee burnout? For companies not financially able to hire more workers, is it possible to relieve some of the pressure by bringing in temporary workers to help out with specific projects or busier times?
We can help relieve this workload stress by connecting employers to qualified temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct-hire candidates. Contact Masiello Employment Services to learn more about our specialties and available candidates.