5 Ways to Prevent Burnout In Your Remote Team
By now, especially after the pandemic, companies have realized all the benefits of a flexible work environment. From productivity increases to a broader talent pool, remote work has more advantages than disadvantages. However, it still has certain challenges that leaders need to learn how to tackle. The most significant one is burnout.
Burnout and stress, unfortunately, happen in both remote and onsite work environments. However, the pandemic made employers realize the importance of caring for their employees' mental health. Approximately 38% of remote workers have reported that burnout has worsened through the pandemic.
How to Recognize Burnout
Is it burnout or just stress?
The main problem in the corporate world is that stress and burnout are somehow normalized to the point is difficult to differentiate both concepts.
Stress, to some extent, is normal at work, as sometimes we have challenging projects and tasks that require all of our energy. But when this stress becomes part of our daily life affecting our personal life, things get more serious.
When you see employees having a harder time with tasks they did easily or when they don´t participate in meetings the way they used to, it could be a potential red flag.
Here are some signs that help recognize burnout in your remote employee:
Lack of energy
Getting irritable easily
Struggling to focus
Getting longer to get tasks done
Getting overwhelmed easily
If you´ve recognized some of these symptoms in your team, it's time to take matters into your own hands before it's too late. Let´s go over 5 hacks to prevent burnout in your virtual team.
Preventing Burnout in Your Remote Team: 5 Effective Ways
1. Create Boundaries in Your Team
Before the pandemic, people thought remote workers were lazy before the pandemic and watched Netflix all day. The funny thing was that when COVID-19 made companies shift to the virtual model, employees had a hard time switching off at the end of the day.
Many of them worked two or more hours longer and struggled to unplug when the workday was over.
And when working extra hours becomes part of the routine, burnout is like a ticking bomb that explodes eventually. The best way to prevent it is by setting boundaries with your team. For example, set up a clear start and finish time, making sure no one sends messages after work hours.
2. Set Clear Expectations
Communication is the soul of remote work. When employees don´t know which tasks matter the most or which project is more urgent, they´ll want to tackle everything.
But usually, this means more stress and unfinished work. Instead of pretending they can do everything, set up your expectations and priorities.
Structure the workload in a way they know which tasks are the most important ones and which ones can wait for tomorrow.
3. Avoid Having Too Many Meetings
We´ve all been in meetings that could have been emails.
While synchronous work is great as you get to connect and encourage collaboration, it has also affected employees' mental health with the so call zoom fatigue. The lack of non-verbal cues, or potential distractions, makes these meetings feel longer than they are.
Asynchronous work, on the other hand, gives employees the flexibility to communicate and collaborate at different times. They can do in-depth work, focusing on the tasks that matter the most.
4. Build Relaxation Virtual Spaces
Building virtual relaxation spaces is a great way to encourage employees to relax and take care of their mental health.
Here are a few ideas you can do 100% virtually:
Weekly meditation sessions
Virtual yoga classes
Virtual art class
5. Check In on Your Employees
Preventing burnout in remote employees can be as simple as asking them if they are okay. Employees often believe that stress is normal and have to "suck it up", or they will get fired.
So checking up on them, listening, opening up, and being vulnerable, will also make them realize that you're human too and that it's okay to ask for help.
This will build a space of trust and connection, where everyone in the team will feel supported and valued.
The best way to retain employees and increase their loyalty is by taking care of them. Employees will give their best performance when they feel valued and that they aren´t just a number. But most importantly, you´ll build a remote culture where mental health matters and employees are supported in every aspect.