Long term stress and employee burnout can be deadly. Stress is the leading cause of illness and low productivity in the workplace. According to the American Psychological Association, “Stress is often described as a feeling of being overwhelmed, worried or run-down.” Their Stress in America Survey revealed that, “more than 40 percent of all adults say they lie awake at night because of stress, but only about 30 percent of adults ever mention this problem to a physician”. People just don’t talk about it, despite its negative effect on health and well-being.
Employers are at least partly responsible for creating situations where people experience high levels of stress on a regular basis. Stressful job tasks, dealing with customers, and working long hours under tough conditions can take their toll on employees. When people get to the point of being burnt out, it’s often after months of being beat down and overtired.
The signs of employee burnout
It’s important to recognize the signs of employee burnout, so that you can stop it in its tracks with a better time off scheduling system. According to Mayo Clinic, the most common signs of employee burnout include:
- Withdrawn, irritable, frustrated behaviors displayed by employees who were formerly the opposite
- Growing conflicts between employees, teams and divisions of the company caused by overwhelm
- Reports of client problems and customer service declines from previously caring employees
- Increase in the frequency of tardiness and employees calling out sick with no advance notice
- Poor levels of productivity and ongoing issues of late projects and below-average quality workmanship
- Higher than normal levels of turnover and lack of loyalty from employees, especially in first 6 months on job
The cost of employee burnout on businesses
Every day, in workplaces around the world, employee burnout negatively affects the productivity and profitability of the businesses that allow this kind of dysfunction to go on unchecked. Researchers from three universities in Quebec, Canada found that workers who show up to work but are unproductive and disconnected cost companies $6.3 billion. The study also advised that nearly one-quarter of workers polled said they had experienced psychological stress and that 12% indicated they experience emotional exhaustion at least once per week. None of this is good for business at all.
A solution to reduce and prevent employee burnout
One of the best ways to prevent employee burnout is by creating a fair time off schedule. This allows employees to manage their time and reduce stress by taking much-needed time off. But, this doesn’t stop at just allowing time off. It begins with a human resources time management system that carefully tracks employee time off and ensures all benefit from this rest.
Here are some guidelines for creating a time off schedule that focuses on employee well-being:
#1 – Create a generous paid time off policy for all employees to benefit from.
Traditionally, workplaces have placed little emphasis on creating paid time off policies that make any impact on employee performance or burnout levels. In fact, for many generations, employees have been encouraged to work too much, sacrifice personal time, and even come to work when sick. Values around time off have drastically changed, however, as new groups of employees put priority on work life balance and have more choices of how and when they will work. Now is the time to revamp your time off policy so that it’s more generous and appealing to millennials.
#2 – Streamline employee scheduling, time keeping, and paid time off.
In the past, employers had the task of separating time off by categories like sick, vacation, personal, and more. This doesn’t make good sense anymore, so therefore paid time off should be handled as a singular line item in payroll systems. A good time management system can code paid time off by category or as general PTO, and streamlines things for easier processing.
#3 – Let employees self-serve their own schedules when possible.
Modern day timekeeping products allow employees to keep track of earned time off and select dates to take off as needed. Cloud-based systems, accessible via secure sign on processes, can be accessed by any internet connected device.
#4 – Publish a solid time off policy based on performance.
Use paid time off benefits as a way to boost performance in employees. For example, if employees take regular time off to recoup and recharge, and their work shows, reward them with additional time off each year. A timekeeping system can track usage and managers can allocate extra paid time off whenever needed, such as during seasonal storms and holidays when time off is valuable.
#5– Use a customized time off management system.
Customizing the experience of taking time off can help prevent employee burnout. Provide options for taking time off, such as flexible scheduling and time off benefits for part time employees. Custom time off management systems are useful for creating messaging around paid time off policies too, so that HR can let employees know how they are doing and when things are updated.
Manage time off and prevent employee burnout with a fair and flexible scheduling system, as indicated above.