Tackling burnout as employees return to the office – Daily Tribune
It’s a scene that occurs with more frequency every week: Employees who for more than a year have worked remotely in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic are now returning to offices large and small across the state. Workers who have learned to master Zoom meetings, video chats and more documents shared via email than likely at any point in their professional careers are now trying to get back to their 9 to 5 routine as they transition to a professional setting. .
While this may seem like an exciting or welcome change for some people, others may find it difficult to transition to a full-time return to work or a hybrid schedule. As managers, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of burnout when employees return to the office.
How to Identify Employee Burnout
Although not a clinical medical diagnosis transmitted by a health care provider, burnout is described as a feeling of stress and exhaustion. It is related to the work of a person which can have very real mental and physical side effects. Here are some of the health issues feelings of burnout can contribute to, according to the Mayo Clinic:
• Heart disease.
• High blood pressure.
• Type 2 diabetes.
• Feelings of sadness.
• Alcohol abuse.
• Substance abuse.
Here are some signs that an employee might be battling burnout:
• They seem to lack energy.
• They are not always productive at work.
• They have trouble concentrating.
• They become visibly impatient with colleagues or clients.
• They seem overly cynical or critical of others.
• They complain of headaches, stomach problems or insomnia.
How employers can help
While employers can’t ask their employees health questions, there are steps they can take to try and reduce the workload on employees they suspect are struggling with stress. Here are some options:
• If an employee seems to be struggling to find a work-life balance, managers may offer to temporarily reduce the workload.
• Employers should monitor their posts to make sure they are not suggesting people work longer hours than the normal workday.
How to find help
If a person feels like they are suffering from burnout at work, it is important to take steps to protect their mental health. Here are some ways to reduce stress at home:
• Try activities like yoga, meditation, or tai chi to relax and reduce stress.
• Make regular physical activity part of your daily routine.
• Establish a relaxation routine to prioritize sleep.
At work, employees may try to discuss their feelings of burnout with their supervisor to strategize or find solutions. Setting small, achievable goals while sorting out work responsibilities can help reduce feelings of being overwhelmed. Also ask your colleagues, friends or family for advice. Some employers may offer resources through an employee assistance program.
Kristyn Gregory, DO, is the medical director of behavioral health at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. For more health advice, visit MIBluesPerspectives.com.