The workplace wellness program has become so popular that many leaders don’t bat an eye when considering its value. But what if organizations could find ways to reduce workplace-related stress on their employees, rather than try to implement ways to help them manage it? The key could be in cutting down on employee information overload and the 24-hour workday, write Tom Hodson, Jeff Schwartz, Ardie van Berkel and Ian Winstrom Otten for Deloitte University Press.
Burnout is a costly problem for companies, writes Donna Parrey for clomedia.com. “The American Psychological Association pegs the cost of job stress at some $300 billion per year,” she writes. And it’s an issue leaders are perhaps uniquely qualified to address.
“Companies need to recognize that the overwhelmed, hyper-connected employee is a business concern,” according to the Deloitte University Press. “The opportunity for business and HR leaders is to find ways to make information easier to find, simplify processes and systems, keep teams small, and make sure leaders provide focus. The result will likely be improved employee satisfaction, teamwork, and productivity.”
One good place to start: email. Global environments and mobile devices mean many employees can work ’round-the-clock. An organization’s leaders set the tone on after-hours email, writes Maura Thomas for the Harvard Business Review. “When the boss is working, the team feels like they should be working,” she writes. And employees who consistently email after hours are missing out on important down time. ”Time away produces new ideas and fresh insights,” Thomas writes. ”But your employees can never disconnect when they’re always reaching for their devices to see if you’ve emailed. Creativity, inspiration and motivation are your competitive advantage, but they are also depletable resources that need to be recharged. Incidentally, this is also true for you, so it’s worthwhile to examine your own communication habits.”
Time off is another tool that can help prevent burnout, writes Joyce Russell for the Washington Post. Leaders should remember to communicate to employees the benefits of taking time away from the office, as well as actually take some, themselves. “If they are always connected and working themselves, employees will get mixed messages and will fear that they too need to stay connected,” Russell writes.
Improvements to prevent employee burnout in the workplace can even be made in the kinds of systems you use. “People no longer want more features in their enterprise software; they want “one click” or “one swipe” transactions,” according to the Deloitte University Press. “We call this the ’consumerization’ of corporate systems, which really amounts to valuing the time of a company’s employees as much as it respects the time of its customers. In our most recent research on HR systems adoption, ease of use and user interface integration were rated as the most important factors in driving user adoption.”