Why are so many employees - and executives - tired, burnt out, and underperforming on the job? This week, we’re demystifying some common beliefs on workplace wellbeing, and offer some solutions to go beyond the “Hunter way,” and revive teams who’ve been through so much - yet not enough - change, in the past few years
Today’s employees are tired. They’ve spent the past two years navigating “new normal” after “new normal.” They’ve put out fires while working from makeshift home offices in pajamas, have juggled various hybrid work models, and have taken on way too many tasks, to help keep the entire organization afloat, despite persistent talent shortages. Now, all they want to do is remain afloat themselves.
The struggle is real, and it isn’t manifesting in the same way, across the board. While some are actively “quiet quitting,” others are simply burning out. Neither scenario is healthy for anyone, personally or professionally.
Recent reports indicate that as many as 66% of full-time workers have experienced burnout, over the course of their careers, and 40% said they experienced burnout as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Furthermore, while burnout can affect any working person, those most impacted by workplace burnout seem to be members of the millennial generation, who were raised to seek fulfillment in every aspect of their lives; women (particularly mothers), who suddenly found themselves struggling to “Zoom school” and work, all at once; Boomers, who had to quickly adopt new technologies and schedules; and employees receiving mid-level salaries, who faced price hikes across products and services for sale, without receiving a pay increase.
How can organizations promote a greater sense of wellbeing on the job, so that employees and executives alike become reinvigorated with an old-new sense of satisfaction and motivation to invest in their careers, as well as in the company’s growth and success?
The first step is dispelling common myths about employee performance and wellbeing, to better understand what REALLY leads an entire workforce to tire and burnout, and what must change, moving forward.
These days, it’s far too common to hear people (particularly executives) misunderstanding employee burnout:
“They’re working from home. They aren’t wasting time in traffic. They can easily use their lunch breaks to take a nap in their own beds. Why are they so tired?”
The fact is, fatigue isn’t just physical. Employees and leaders burn out when their mental load has worn them down as well. What’s more, you can’t expect a little less traffic and a little more sleep to overcome all of the stress experienced over years of lockdowns, furloughs, new normals, and other crises.
Au contraire, stress can be an extremely powerful and motivating factor in getting the job done - and feeling great about yourself at the end of the day. Like with everything else in life, it’s all about moderation; balancing stress with success and downtime.
There’s nothing like the rush of endorphins through your body as you cram before a big meeting, stressing over every last detail, to ensure it goes off without a hitch. At the same time, once that meeting is over, it’s just as important to take a pause, reflect, and apply tools and techniques to bring your body and mind back to terra firma. You could go for a celebratory lunch, attend an in-office yoga class, or just take a walk around the block. Even more important, leaders should take care to provide positive feedback; their words can help you lower your stress to a healthy level, so you have the energy and motivation to go on.
People are impatient, and we live in an era of instant gratification. That said, solutions are a dish best cooked slowly. Organizations that have crisis management plans in order will be more resilient in the face of sudden change, but that sense of resilience is the result of a learning and strategizing process - not employees’ innate capabilities.
All too often, executives equate a lack of resilience with a poor fit for the job in question. However, if they’d simply shift gears and implement employee development programs centered on crisis management, those same employees would be equipped with the tools and techniques they need to more resiliently navigate any storm, and help develop more well-rounded solutions to any challenge that comes their way.
In parallel, people who learn to become resilient take extra measures to protect themselves - physically and mentally - such as setting healthy boundaries, practicing self-care, and working towards set goals. In doing so, they are less likely to experience workplace fatigue and burnout, and are more likely to be instrumental in developing successful solutions that benefit the organization as a whole.
It’s time for all seniority levels to leverage the stress brought on by crises and challenges, find their inner resilience, and experience more than wellbeing, in the form of success through trying times. Sure, it will be tough at first, and it might take a while for the right solutions to come about. However, so long as the lines of communication between employees and executives (and vice versa - it’s a two-way street!) remain open, and time is consistently set aside to reassess and understand personal and professional needs, stress can become a springboard, rather than a sinkhole.
Creating development programs to help ensure all employees’ development and foster inclusive, supportive, collaborative, and motivated teams, is in everyone’s best interest. Your investment in their training will almost certainly be returned with their investments in the company’s success, from a healthier, better-equipped standing.
Want to revitalize your employees, beyond wellbeing? Talk to the Hunter team about our global consulting and development services, today! https://hunter.co.il/en/contact/
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