NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

What Can Employers Do to Prevent Workplace Burnout?

In my prior articles, including Managing Your Stress: The Consequences of Workplace BurnoutWhat Are the Telltale Signs of Workplace Burnout? and What to Do If You're Experiencing Workplace Burnout, I focused on what employees can do to avoid burnout.  In this article, my focus is on what employers can do to help prevent burnout at work.

What Can Employers Can Do to Prevent Workplace Burnout?

What Employers Can Do to Prevent Workplace Burnout:
  • Set the Tone for the Workplace Environment:  Managers who are able to stay calm during stressful times at work become models for employees on how to handle stress and prevent burnout.  Employees will feel more confident in their managers during stressful times and they are more likely to follow the manager's lead if s/he demonstrates good stress management skills.  So, managers need to learn good stress management skills and be aware of how they are coming across.  This is in everyone's best interest in terms of developing a healthy work environment, meeting company goals, retaining good employees, and satisfying shareholders and other stakeholders.
  • Improve Communication With Your Employees:  It is especially important during stressful times, when there might be uncertainty at workplace, to share information in a clear and effective manner.  One of the worst things that can happen during uncertain times is for the rumor mill to escalate with false information due to a lack of information and clear communication.  Be clear about employees' jobs and their roles, and avoid being mean spirited and petty.  It's best to maintain an open-door policy, which is more than just words, in a collegial atmosphere so that employees feel comfortable coming to you and will know that their manager will listen with an open mind.  Be generous with praise and provide constructive criticism in a balanced way within the context of overall work performance, not just related to negative isolated incidents.  Harassment should never be tolerated.
Improve Communication With Your Employees
  • Provide Opportunities For Employees to Share in the Decision-making Process:  Wherever possible, especially in instances where decisions will affect employees' jobs, allow employees to participate in the decision-making process.  A collaborative process might take longer than if a manager just dictates what s/he wants but, in the long run, it will make it more likely that employees will buy into changes and also increase the likelihood of a smoother transition during stressful times of change.  It will also help to demonstrate that employees are valued.
  • Make Sure that the Workload is Realistic:  Due to years of downsizing, many employees are doing the work of two or more people.  This often leads to burnout.  Managers need to ensure that the workload is realistic and that each employee is given tasks that are in keeping with his or her skills, abilities and experience.  
  • Provide Opportunities for Career Development:  Good employees are more likely to stay if there are opportunities to learn and grow as well as being compensated fairly for their work.  Having to replace employees, who feel like they're stagnating, usually costs more than finding opportunities for career development.
Provide Opportunities for Career Development 
  • Encourage Employees to Balance Their Work and Personal Lives:  To avoid burnout, it's important for employees to take vacation time to relax and recharge and to spend time with their families.  When managers model this behavior for employees, they will be more likely to strive for this balance (see my article: Balancing Your Career and Personal Life).
  • Work Through Your Own Personal Problems That Are Affecting You at Work:  Managers who aren't dealing with their own personal issues and who allow these issues to negatively impact their ability to manage at work should get help.  Without even realizing it, managers, whose personal problems are spilling over into the workplace, can displace their unhappiness and anger on the employees that they manage.  Not only does this create a negative work environment and increase the likelihood of burnout for employees, it also reflects poorly on these managers.  In two prior articles,  Careers: Are You a Bully at Work? and Dealing With a Difficult Boss, I discuss workplace bullies, who often displace their own feelings about problems  in their personal life on their employees.  This is just one of many ways that managers who aren't working on their personal problems can contribute to workplace burnout.

Getting Help in Therapy
Being a manager can be very challenging, especially if your manager is difficult to deal with or you feel caught between wanting to treat your employees fairly and a disregard for employees from top management.

Often managers, who might be open to their employees, have nowhere to go with their own stressors and concerns at the workplace.

Getting Help in Therapy

Also, as mentioned earlier, if you're aware that problems in your personal life are having a negative impact on your employees and your overall work performance, you owe it to yourself, your loved ones and your employees to get help to work through those issues with a licensed mental health practitioner who has expertise in this area.

By getting help in therapy, not only will it help you to be a better manager, it will also help you personally to lead a more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

Prior to becoming a licensed therapist, I was a human resources manager, so one of my specialties is helping clients with workplace issues.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.