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Is Your Team Burned Out? Look for These Signs
Managers can leverage a data-informed view of employee activity trends to recognize and prevent employee burnout before it’s too late, Here’s how.
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Burnout is more than just a buzzword. In fact, burnout is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a diagnosable condition that is the result of “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” This can lead to feelings of exhaustion, disinterest, reduced performance and unfortunately, employee turn-over.
Burnout is real. And it is top of mind of many organizations trying to meet shifting demands for new work models and capabilities for the future of work. Employees are working longer hours, more frequently outside the traditional 9am-5pm window, and often using new tools, technologies and processes. So, it’s no surprise that employee burnout has become so prevalent.
Recently, ActivTrak’s Productivity Lab examined over 3 million datapoints collected across 5 million employees’ working hours to determine how these working hours are shifting. We found that as hours increased last year, schedules also changed. In fact, more than 78% of people worked outside of typical hours and 56% logged in to get work done on the weekend.
With lines increasingly blurred between workdays and time off—or even just time away from a computer—burnout is on the rise. So how can managers recognize and prevent employee burnout before it’s too late? By leveraging a data-informed view of employee activity trends.
The old paradigm of “seeing” employees and teams in the office to understand how they’re doing and what they’re working on has changed with hybrid work. For this reason, it’s increasingly important for organizations to tap into the benefits of performance and productivity metrics to get a better picture of what employees are doing and how they’re feeling.
There are four primary indicators of burnout that should be analyzed:
Employee Activity Trends. Look for significant changes in work activity trends, including time spent on digital tasks vs. collaborative time vs. focus time. Seeing a shift in where and how time is spent can indicate a change in employee engagement.
Employee Engagement. This often presents as a decreased level of participation in meetings. It can also show up as a lack of interest in training and/or development opportunities. This behavior may signal a change in employee commitment.
Employee Productivity. If you notice a reduction in focus time on critical projects, or an increase in missed deadlines you may need to investigate underlying inhibitors to identify if this is a result of burnout.
Employee Turnover. This is a broader trend to watch for. With increases in attrition, and reduced interest in transfers and promotions, it could be an early warning sign of a deeper retention issue.
Leveraging a data-informed view of these indicators can help managers recognize signs of burnout before it impacts an employee’s performance.
How Data Helps Mitigate Employee Burnout
Data plays a critical role in making more informed decisions around burnout, but this also applies to employee performance—providing opportunities for manager engagement and conversation around what’s working and what’s not.
Here’s how teams can use data to benefit employees and employers alike:
Collect and analyze productivity metrics.
Defining and working toward clearly defined goals and transparent productivity metrics can help teams spot changes in behavior quickly. Additionally, by pairing that data with employee sentiment analysis, managers can gain an even clearer picture of areas that need attention and work to make changes.
Encourage feedback and acknowledge pain points.
If data indicates burnout patterns on multiple fronts, managers can create opportunities for increased dialogue and employee input on ways to alleviate overwork situations. Sometimes, data may point to a bigger issue, like misalignment or disconnection. As work environments continue to evolve, organizations need to actively and visibly support improvement initiatives. This often starts with better communication and a greater focus on setting clear expectations.
Revisit and adjust policies.
A little flexibility can go a long way, especially after a year when few employees took time off, or may have discovered their most productive time is after hours. Recommending best practices, such as muting distracting notifications to encourage focus time, can help employees establish boundaries between work and life. But remember: To be most effective, leaders should model desired behaviors and leverage policies to nurture, not rebuke.
After a year that tested every traditional belief about how work should get done, it’s time for organizations to commit to working flexibly without ignoring the need for accountability. In order for leaders to help teams succeed and remain engaged in hybrid work environments, they MUST have visibility into how work is getting done and whether team members are demonstrating early signs of burnout.
Preventing employee burnout is possible. Leverage data-informed views of employee engagement, performance and productivity to help you not only recognize burnout, but also mitigate it before it leads to bigger issues.
ActivTrak helps companies unlock productivity potential. Our award-winning workforce analytics and productivity management software provides expert insights that empower people, optimize processes, and maximize technology. Additionally, with data sourced from more than 9,000 customers and over 450,000 users, ActivTrak’s Workforce Productivity Lab is a global center for ground-breaking research and expertise that helps companies embrace and embody the future of work.