Wondering how to prevent employee burnout? You’re not alone. Here are some ideas to help you and your team manage.
Burnout is a real thing, and to keep your commercial cleaning company operating at its best, you need to know how to prevent employee burnout.
What is burnout, exactly? The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as the result of “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” They go on to say that burnout is specific to your job, and the primary symptoms are feeling depleted or exhausted, negative, and ineffective.
Not to belabor the point, but in industries such as healthcare and commercial cleaning, it’s evident that nearly everyone has been under tremendous “chronic workplace stress” since the onset of Covid. People have worked through anxiety, stress, uncertainty, loss, and sadness. We’ve dealt with a lifetime of issues in just a few short years.
This is all to say that burnout isn’t just about working too much. Burnout is about the conditions in which we work. And that’s key to determining how to prevent employee burnout.
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Learn How to Prevent Employee Burnout and Keep Your Team in Top Shape
Let’s start by debunking some myths. Vacation time and self-care, while nice, aren’t on our list of how to prevent employee burnout. Yes, everyone needs a vacation and yes, self-care is important. In fact, self-care can give us some tools to deter burnout for a little bit. This isn’t a lasting solution, however. Neither vacations nor self care get to the root of the problem. It’s that “chronic workplace stress” that we have to deal with.
Now, you might be thinking that workplace stress isn’t your issue to deal with. And I get that. After all, you’re there to do a job and make your customers happy. But as we also know, happy employees make happy customers. We also know that happy employees stick around, do good work, and ultimately make your commercial cleaning company more profitable and successful. That said, here’s ideas on how to prevent employee burnout and how these items can also apply to business owners and supervisors.
1. Let people trade tasks. This isn’t quite as complicated as it seems. We all have tasks and chores in life that aren’t our favorites. If it works out that you have employees with different “least favorite” tasks, let them trade.
2. Move the least desirable tasks around. An alternative to trading tasks is to just move the least desirable tasks around every week. That way, no one person gets stuck with the things no one wants to do.
3. Create consistent schedules. You may already provide your team with consistent schedules as this makes employee whereabouts and task assignments easier to keep track of. However, if this isn’t a current practice, why not consider it? Consistency allows your employees to make plans and schedule things outside of work without worrying about a conflict.
4. Keep the workload reasonable. If there’s one single best tip for how to prevent employee burnout, this might be it. It’s easy, especially in larger companies, to look solely at the bottom line. How much can we get done with as little expense as possible? Often that means asking fewer people to do more work. Certainly, you don’t want to overload your scheduling and have an out-of-control payroll to contend with. At the same time, if people rush through their work because they have too much to do, they will not only burn out but also start cutting corners and doing what it takes to make it through the work.
5. Ask for feedback. One way to prevent burnout and to give employees some control over their work environment is to ask for, and be open to, new ideas and feedback. This could be anything from general comments to concerns about work conditions and safety issues to opinions about which cleaning solutions work best. You don’t necessarily need to follow these suggestions, but just having some say in how things run can help improve engagement. Plus, you never know where the next brilliant idea will come from!
6. Be easy to work for. This may sound vague, but if you’ve ever worked for someone who micromanaged and criticized your work, you know exactly why that’s detrimental. On the other hand, people enjoy working for someone that respects them, is easy to be around, and is helpful. Pitch in and help your team when they’re in a bind, bring them coffee, or just give them time to go for a walk and reset after a particularly challenging task.
You may not be able to prevent burnout entirely, but there’s a lot you can do to make it less likely. And in the process, you’re making your team healthier and your business better.
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