According to the Harvard Business Review, “Employee engagement is a major concern for HR leaders. Year after year, concerned managers and researchers discuss Gallup’s shocking statistic that seven out of 10 US employees report feeling unengaged”. That’s 70% of the workforce who feel idle and unattached from their work. In today’s environment, this disengagement is now at risk for an all time high. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world, employees are not only forced to work from their home, but they also lack social interaction. It makes you wonder – how long until my employees experience burnout? Who will be the first to go?
As remote work becomes normalized, companies risk burnout from top performers. Here are 8 ways we, at allsynx, have learned to reduce that risk:
1. 24/7 Available e-Learning
A great resource allsynx offers employees is on-demand learning. We offer several different online programs including New Hire Training, Continuing Education and more. While these programs were designed for different target audiences, we make all information accessible to all. This has proven to be a great tool for employees who begin to feel unsatisfied in their day to day. Employees are able to learn new skills, improve existing ones or, in the least, change up their day with instructional videos, podcasts, assignments and activities. E-learning helps reduce the risk of burnout because employees are able to step outside of their normal routine and expand their skills.
2. 1 on 1 Meetings
At allsynx, we require all supervisors to schedule weekly meetings with each member of their team. In my experience, it is a great outlet for concerns, confusion and general expression. It is recommended that these meetings happen early in the week and last about 30 minutes. Spend the first fifteen minutes discussing personal topics such as, “What did you do this weekend”, or “How are you doing”. This is especially helpful throughout these uncertain times! The last fifteen minutes should be dedicated to work. As a supervisor, team lead, or manager hosting the meeting, come prepared with work topics you want to discuss. Be transparent with the employee on their strengths and weakness from the past week, what your expectations are, and any advice going forward. Having this short conversation can make the world of difference. It reminds the employee that what they are doing is important and the fact that others are depending on them. These types of realizations and reminders help reduce the risk of employee burnout.
3. Encourage Breaks and Time Off
Encourage your employees to take time off! Whether this be encouragement in taking those midday breaks, or even taking PTO for a long weekend – it’s important! Research after research has stated that working remotely actually increases productivity and employees are more likely to work after hours. While this is commonly viewed as a positive, be weary of the side effects these added work hours may have on your team. Burnout starts to creep in when the stress of work becomes too much.
4. Game Day
Game Day is exactly how it sounds! What better way to avoid burnout than implementing a 1 hour, company-wide, game time that happens once a month! This is just another way for employees to mix up their routine, have some fun, and bond with their coworkers. There are tons of games able to host remotely including Jackbox, Trivia, and more. Game Days should not be required, but rather just a fun option for anyone to join. Additionally, allsynx has utilized Netflix Party in the past, which allows everyone online to join and watch a movie together. We like to do that on big holiday months, including Halloweentown in October and Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in November.
5. Side Projects
We talked about employees mixing up their routine in the e-learning tip, but another great to do that is by assigning “side projects”. I actually stole this tip from my own supervisor, Amber O’Reilly, who had used the idea to pull me back from feeling burnt out myself. At the time, I had been working on a large-scale project that was high in priority. It was basically the only thing I was focused on for a few months! While the project was successful in the end, I felt completely drained. Amber then assigned me a mandatory side project. This could be anything I wanted it to be, but I had to follow through. It ended up being a huge turning point for me because I was able to get creative, to step outside of my comfort zone and try something that had never been done before. Long story short, it got me excited about going to work again! If possible, I highly recommend giving your employees this freedom – it may be a game changer!
We recently made the decision to implement gamification at allsynx. Currently, we utilize the GamiPress plugin for our WordPress site to basically gamify everything! Gamification is way for the company leaders to recognize the “above and beyond” efforts their employees put in. It promotes healthy competition, creativity, helpfulness and interest. We even give points to employees for attending training events for motivation to learn something! Employees are able to receive points throughout the entire year and eligible to win tangible rewards come fourth quarter. Gamification is a great way to engage employees and help them get excited about their day!
7. Team Points
As we mentioned earlier, remote burnout can be initiated for many different reasons. It is possible employees experience things like second hand stress, work overload, or on the flip side, could believe they aren’t doing enough. We at allsynx recommend implementing a point system. The best way to implement Team Points is to assign points to all projects currently designated to your team. There should be one project owner, and whoever that is will receive the points attached to that project. In addition, you will designate a max amount of points one employee is able to maintain. This serves several different purposes. The main reason for Team Points is to have a tool that represents your workload numerically. By glancing at each of your employee’s point count, you can easily see who is juggling more, who could be experiencing overload and who may not have enough work. From there, you are able to utilize this data for future work delegation. Say a new project comes across your desk and you have to decide who to give it to. Check the Team Points! Choose the employee with the least amount of points. That being said, Team Points will also benefit your employees when there is no room for additional projects. Use it as a tool to show your superiors that your team cannot take on anymore.
A great way to lower the chance of burnout is recognizing an employee. I recommend utilizing your online communication tool (we use Microsoft Teams at allsynx) and creating a space to announce kudos. On Teams specifically, we have a designated channel where higher-ups, Team Leads, or even lateral coworkers are able to recognize someone with a Kudos. These Kudos can be based off of any action that was either above and beyond, a stellar example, or even just a helping hand. There are no qualifications, rather it’s only a tool for any employee to utilize when they want to recognize another. Kudos helps combat burnout because employees feel connected and motivated by being a dependable team player!