Over the course of the pandemic and our abrupt shift to remote work, countless companies have been dealing with the implications of employee burnout — from Zoom fatigue to a shrinking work-life balance to confusing employee communications (despite the best of intentions).
Post-Covid employee burnout seems to have one overarching cause: stress; stress from the constant shifts and changes, stress from the global health crisis and stress surrounding our beliefs about what the modern “world of work” should even entail.
Instead of simply addressing how to eliminate Zoom fatigue or make remote workers feel more included, this article offers six ways to stop employee burnout through employee communications and engagement. The goal is to make a genuine impact on your employees that helps lower their daily stress.
1. Stick to Regularly Scheduled Check-Ins
With all the technology we have at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to tap the pulse of employees, wherever they are. Checking in, following up and acting on outcomes goes a long way in showing employees you care.
By keeping the communication lines open you can anticipate which resources and adjustments are needed to help employees maintain a balanced line between productivity, efficiency and ease. If they’re stressed, you’ll know about it, and you can do everything in your power to create solutions that help them succeed.
2. Communicate With Compassion
From the CEO down to senior managers and middle managers, everyone in the organization should be trained in the fine art of communicating with empathy and compassion.
Communicating with compassion means focusing on the other person, listening intently, leaving space and not rushing to respond, never taking things personal, being authentic and avoiding assumptions.
Managers account for 70% of employee engagement, so making sure they’re well equipped to communicate in a way that’s sensitive to the stresses of daily work life is essential to maintaining positive employee morale.
3. Use Clear, Balanced Communication (And Resist The Urge to Inundate)
At the beginning of the pandemic, we placed a lot of emphasis on “over-communicating,” even if we didn’t have all the answers.
At this point, however, employees may be suffering from communication overload. Since they’re no longer in urgent need of answers, try re-framing the conversation by looking at your communications from the receiving-end:
- Is this easy-to-read?
- Is it something I’d find helpful?
- Does it use too much jargon?
- Is there a clear call to action or way to get more information?
- Am I left with more questions than answers?
- In the grand scheme of the other employee communications they’re receiving, is this truly necessary or a priority?
Referring back to your internal communications audit can help you reinforce your understanding of which communication channels work best, where the gaps in those channels lie and what the preferred methods and types of communications are for your employees (based on their previous feedback).
4. Prioritize Employee Health and Wellness
In times like these, there’s no sugarcoating it: employee health and wellness, especially mental health, should be the top priority. Nearly half of U.S. workers suffer from mental health issues since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
It’s up to employers and HR to not only normalize conversations about mental and physical health and wellness, but to promote wellness initiatives and Employee Assistance Programs that seek to support employees on a holistic level.
5. Offer Some Much-Needed Flexibility
The pandemic has made it exceptionally challenging for employees to take a much-needed vacation or extra time off. As we approach another holiday season, it’s a good time to think about communicating company-wide shutdowns, extended holidays, floating holidays, extra PTO or even unlimited PTO. Giving employees something uplifting to look forward to is a great way to reduce stress and boost morale.
As for in-office employees, you could carve out some designated quiet space for employees who want to engage in personal wellness endeavors like meditation, relaxation or just a quick break away from their desk. Similarly, be sure to communicate onsite wellness offerings like midday yoga classes or walking meetings to get some Vitamin D.
6. Continuously Demonstrate Employee Appreciation
While communicating with compassion and putting employee wellness first is essential, it’s equally important to recognize hard work when you see it. By celebrating the wins of the people in your company, you can uplift the entire workforce and inject an extra dose of positivity and motivation into your employee communications. For extra inspiration, you might think about making a donation to their favorite charity in their honor.
Another way to show your employees how much you appreciate them is by communicating the amazing benefits they have at their disposal. Whether it’s a virtual training or professional development opportunity, financial wellness benefits or care benefits to lighten the load of employees with care-taking responsibilities, communicating your investment in their well-being is another way to demonstrate how much you value them.
Stop Employee Burnout from Spreading Like Wildfire
If you’re not careful and thoughtful in your communication approach, employee burnout has the tendency to spread like wildfire.
Especially in today’s uncertain times, your employees are your most important assets. Ensuring they have the support they need and recognition they deserve should be a top organizational priority.