Preventing burnout: what can you do as an employer?

Burnout is occupational disease number one: 17% of workers report burnout symptoms each year.

The absenteeism cost of an employee with burnout averages about €70,000. Apart from the financial aspect, it is a very tough time for those who have the burnout. And I am expressing myself softly.

In today’s busy job market, stress has become an inconvenience for many workers. Prolonged stress can not only reduce productivity but also contribute to serious health problems, such as anxiety, depression and cardiovascular disease. To maintain a healthy workforce and prevent burnout, organizations could further prioritize stress management. From my personal experience in business as a trainer, I see how important it can be to work on culture change in addition to stress management tools. A culture where it is ok to talk about stress. So my trainings and workshops focus primarily on this theme and I see how effective and rewarding it is to continue to do so!

In this blog, I will give several strategies that can be applied to create a healthier and more productive work environment and prevent burnout.

There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full.

Henry Kissinger

Encourage open communication

This is where it starts as far as I’m concerned! When I teach stress management workshops, I always notice in the first few minutes that participants find it really difficult to talk about stress and burnout. There still often seems to be a taboo on this subject. Unjustified, of course, because just look at the numbers.

It is essential to create an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their work-related stressors. Try to normalize the topic of stress in an approachable way. Encourage regular conversations between managers and employees, and ensure that concerns are listened to and addressed immediately. Open communication can help detect problems early and prevent them from escalating. For example, you might consider introducing an anonymous feedback system that allows employees to voice their concerns without fear of reprisal.

Stress management workshop at your office?

Customized workshops and team training. For a closer and more energetic team. And as an employer, you reap the benefits of that!

Provide training and resources

Now that you know what’s going on, you can offer your employees training and tools that teach them techniques to deal with stress.

Workshops, seminars and e-learning modules can cover topics such as time management, mindfulness and relaxation techniques. In addition, access to personal coaching or training can help each individual learn to deal with obstacles at work or beyond. Setting up an online media library with books, articles and videos on stress management can also be a valuable addition.

Encourage a supportive corporate culture

A supportive corporate culture can greatly affect employee stress levels. Encourage teamwork, better collaboration and mentoring programs to create a sense of commitment and connection. Regular team building activities can strengthen relationships, improve communication and reduce tensions in the workplace. Start an appreciation program that emphasizes kindness, support and cooperation among employees to create a positive and inclusive atmosphere.

Prioritize work-life balance

One of the most common causes of work-related stress is the struggle to balance professional and personal responsibilities. Promote a healthy work-life balance by implementing flexible working hours, working remotely and encouraging employees to take breaks and vacation. This is how you create a good balance, which in turn makes for healthy and productive employees. Further, offer workshops on work-life balance and time management to help them manage their responsibilities effectively.

Create a healthy work environment

A comfortable and ergonomic work environment can help reduce physical and mental stress. Ensure that workplaces are well lit and ventilated and equipped with ergonomic furniture. Encourage regular breaks and provide quiet spaces to relax and recharge. In addition, consider policies to minimize noise and interruptions so that employees can focus on their work and lower their stress levels.

Encourage physical activity

Physical activity helps reduce stress. Encourage employees to exercise regularly by joining (or discounting) a gym, organizing group fitness classes or establishing walking clubs. Integrating physical activity into the workday can help improve mood, boost energy levels and increase overall health. Also, standing desks, treadmills or yoga balls as seating options can help encourage movement and activity during the day.

Recognize and reward

Recognizing and rewarding employees for their hard work and accomplishments can create a more positive work environment and help relieve stress. Do this both individually and as a team, and provide incentives such as bonuses, promotions or extra time off. Celebrate milestones and successes with team luncheons, award ceremonies or company-wide announcements to create a sense of pride and success!

Monitor and evaluate progress

Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your organization’s stress management initiatives by tracking employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity. Conduct surveys and collect feedback from employees to identify areas for improvement and adjust your strategies accordingly. By continually evaluating and refining your stress management strategies, you can ensure that they remain successful and effective in promoting a healthy work environment.

Mindfulness and resilience

Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and breathing exercises, can help employees manage stress, prevent burnout and improve their focus. Provide mindfulness training, guided meditation sessions, or set up a quiet space where employees can practice mindfulness during breaks. In addition, resilience training can provide skills to handle stress and recover from setbacks, which in turn makes for a healthier and more flexible workforce.

Looking to the future

Implementing policies specific to stress reduction can help create a more supportive work environment. For example, consider implementing a ” right to disconnect” policy that encourages employees to disconnect from work-related communications outside of work hours. Another option is the introduction of “not working during vacation” so that employees can fully recharge and return to work fresh.

Customized stress management programs

Beacon of Balance can help create customized stress management programs that meet the unique needs of all your employees to prevent burnout. A full 12-week program, online programs or short meditation and mindfulness sessions etc. Feel free to contact us if you would like to talk about the options. See you then!

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