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How To Prevent Employee Burnout & Maximize Productivity

Posted by GrowthForce

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The old adage “work smarter, not harder” rings true. Burnout decreases productivity, and employees are no longer working efficiently. As a result, they are not working to their full potential and are falling short of outputs. No one wins.  

Workplace burnout has officially been recognized as a medical diagnosis by the World Health Organization. Described as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” this may not come as a surprise to anyone who has witnessed or experienced burnout first handedly.

Beyond the physical well being of employees, workplace burnout negatively impacts an organization's output.   

“The impact of employee burnout reaches other team members, your business and your customers.”

Abe Turner, Insperity

How do you keep employees engaged, without inducing burnout? According to a recent study, 1 in 5 highly engaged employee is at risk for burnout.  


What Does Workplace Burnout Look Like? 

Workplace burnout can take many shapes overall. World Health Organization states the following three defining characteristic of burnout: 

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  2. Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; 
  3. Reduced professional efficacy. 


Bigger Picture: Human Capital Strategy 

Your employees are your most valued resource. A burnout will reduce professional efficiency.

The impact of how people drive profits cannot be underestimated. The American Institute of CPAs estimates that 68 percent of the value in a company is derived from its employees. Margins, productivity, profits and cash flow can be impacted in many ways.  

Download eBook 28 Ways to Improve Your Business's Cash Flow

Reducing employee burnout will result in a more productive working environment. Increasing the productivity means improved cash flow and increased profitability

For example, let’s look at the revenue impact of improving an employee’s productivity by just 15 minutes a day... 

ROI on Human Capital Strategy

In a typical 40-hour work week, 15 minutes of non-productive, non-billable time equals .25 hours a day, 1.25 hours a week or 65 total hours a year. For a $3 million business, an increase of productivity of that magnitude translates to more than $93,000 annually. 

5 Tips To Avoid (or at least Minimize) Employee Burnout 

Here are a few simple steps to take to set your employees up for success and beat the burnout...   

 1. Support Vacations 

The majority of U.S employees don't use all of their vacation days -- and they're feeling the price of it. According to the US Travel Association 52% of Americans reported they didn't use all of their vacations.

Run a report every year of your employee vacation hours to make sure there aren’t any excessive hours. Time off work can provide a big boost to an employee's productivity, creativity and overall job satisfaction. 

 2. Allow Remote Work 

Environment plays a large factor in the productivity and motivation of employees. Creating a flexible work environment helps eliminate the possibility of getting stuck in a rut. Having the opportunity to work remote occasionally allows employees to think at their own pace. A day of productivity and solidarity that allows everyone to take a break from the office bustle. 

Use this guide to help manage remote employees. We put together best practices from our IT team in creating and managing a productive (and secure ) remote work environment. 

3. Track Time 

As a CEO, it's important to draw the line in the sand between work and home for your company. If employees work home don’t allow employees to work off hours. Of course, there will be time when it’s necessary to work later but it’s important to keep a consistent work schedule.

One way to do this is to make sure they are tracking their time (and focusing on where they are spending their hours). Far too often, workers fail to realize the value of their time. Making sure employees are balancing professional time with your personal time is mandatory to sustain long-term happiness. If staff members are staying late in the office every night, they aren’t working efficiently throughout the day.  

Look for time tracking and schedule software that's easy to use and integrates well with accounting and other operational software. At GrowthForce, we specialize in QuickBooks accounting systems and TSheets is a great add-on option. 

4. Encourage Staff To Take Breaks Every 90 Minutes 

Encourage staff members to take short breaks throughout the day,

According to the 2019 Workplace Productivity Report, 87% of office professionals spend an average of seven hours a day staring at a digital screen.

Taking regular 90-minute breaks will lead to a more productive work day and higher level of focus and productivity. Whether it be a coffee break or team walks, encourage employees to step back from their computer screens and recharge.

5. Setting Expectations 

Studies have found perfectionism and burnout could sometimes go hand in hand. Setting clear (and realistic) expectations with employees will guide them on where they should be spending their time and they are on the right track. 

Communicating expectations properly is the key component. Have managers sit down with their employee to clearly define expectations and goals.

Most importantly, make sure it's in writingAccording to a landmark Harvard study, setting goals and writing down your objectives enhances your motivation and increases your likelihood of success.

Companies that had written objectives showed a 700% increase in growth versus those that didn’t.

Bottom Line

A strategic CEO recognizes people drive performance and, as a result, achieve significantly better business outcomes. If you have a great culture, you will have high-performing teams. A human capital management strategy and a financial management strategy go hand in hand.

5 Steps to a Profitable Business