We heard about burnout quite a bit last year – and this year. It seems that articles summarizing “What happened to employees and executives alike in 2021″ have drawn one major conclusion: burnout.
It may seem simplistic to say that the ongoing Great Resignation is due to burnout, but here are the stats:
1. Employees in their prime employment years are among the highest percentage of people leaving their jobs. Resignation rates among 30 to 45-year-olds increased by 20% between 2020 and 2021.
2. The highest rates of resignations were among healthcare and technology workers.
3. CEO turnover increased by 54% in October of 2021 compared with October of 2020.
The factors many employees and executives say contribute to transitioning to a new job or out of the workforce altogether are:
- Wanting more time with family.
- Finding value in remote work.
- Wanting a job that provides meaning.
- Feeling overworked and undervalued.
The same goes for CEOs, who cite retirement and new opportunities as the main reasons for their exits.
Five Methods for Combating Burnout
There are many ways to combat burnout if you are already in the thick of it. Here are five methods you can use:
1. Renew your purpose.
While companies often share their mottos or goals, an individual rarely has a well-defined purpose. Right now, when you are feeling burned out, take a step back and consider why you are doing what you are doing.
Did you choose this job because it was the next step on your career path? Did you build this business from scratch to take advantage of an exciting niche? Do you love the industry? Do you have a great team that brings joy and value to your day?
Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing – and what value it brings to your life and the lives of those around you.
There is a reason you began in this job or built this business. Rediscovering that reason will help you to rekindle your purpose and move forward with a sense of joy.
2. Take a step back
If you have been in the thick of things since 2020 and nothing is letting up, it’s time to extricate yourself. Take a step back. Block out time in your schedule every day to read an inspiring book, take a walk, go for a swim, spend time with your family, take a nap, call your loved ones, or do that wellness routine you heard about. Treating your work life as a sprint may work if you are actually doing something short-term, but it won’t work if you’re in your business for the long haul.
3. Stop taking back-to-back-to-back meetings
It seems like the moment everyone went on Zoom, our time immediately got taken up with “quick meetings.” For many, this means there aren’t two minutes between meetings to refresh their cup of coffee, not to mention prepare for the next meeting.
Here are a few things you can do to avoid back-to-back meetings:
- Be purposeful with how you block out your time. Only allow a specific number of meetings to be added to your calendar a day, and ensure there is a buffer between each.
- Utilize applications like Google Teams, Slack, and Loom to allow for free-flowing communication and collaboration rather than meetings.
- Establish policies around when meetings are called.
- Create processes to ensure meetings are set up for success beforehand. We have an article coming up on this topic. However, the essential idea is to create processes and procedures that the whole team follows around when meetings are set, who should be invited to the meeting, creating agendas, assigning roles, and how long a meeting should be. This way, no one is setting a meeting during the established lunchtime or at 5 AM.
4. Learn to say “no”
Often, a person becomes an executive by saying “yes” to many opportunities – even if those opportunities caused them to burn the midnight oil and work on projects that may not have anything to do with their job title. However, when you become an executive, you have to start protecting your time and saying “no.”
Clearly, one cannot say “no” to everything. But, it is vital to create a policy around what is essential and will further your business goals and priorities and what will not. Say “no” to those things that will not help you do your role more effectively or accomplish the goal you’ve been working toward.
Another way to think about saying “no” is “if this opportunity was not being handed to me, would I seek it out?” If the answer to the question is “no” – then your response to the opportunity should also be “no.”
5. Finish incomplete projects
A feeling of burnout is likely to come when one has too many incomplete projects competing for attention. Choose one to complete and address that until it is done, then the next, and the next. If these projects seem equal in priority, get some help. You may need to delegate various tasks so other priority projects can be completed while you focus on one. Or you may need to break everything that needs to be done into steps that can be completed, one after another.
How to Avoid Burnout Altogether
The best way to address burnout is to avoid it altogether. This can be done by creating firm policies, processes, and procedures.
Here’s a brief primer on how to build a business that does not burn people out:
1. Revisit and revise your business purpose. Don’t say something vague that sounds good on paper – make sure your purpose is clear and concise – and actually communicates a goal.
A great example of a clear purpose/mission statement is Zoom. They state: “Our mission is to develop a people-centric cloud service that transforms the real-time collaboration experience and improves the quality and effectiveness of communications forever.”
This is certainly what they have done.
2. Create firm policies that forward your company’s purpose. These policies don’t just have to be overall “big company policies” that keep your business out of legal trouble. They could include something like “We do not take calls or schedule meetings between 12 and 2 PM” or “Every employee is required to take at least one training or continuing education class a year.”
3. Document existing processes and procedures for each department. Your star employees most likely have a system for how they get their work done each day. It may be that your salesperson sends a personal note to everyone who has purchased within five days of purchase. It could be that your production supervisor has a five-minute huddle at the beginning and end of each workday. Perhaps your most productive instrumentation technician always puts their tools away at the end of the day, right where they know they can get at them in the morning.
Each documented system must be made available to the whole team, so they can learn from these successes and use them.
4. Create new systems as needed for areas that don’t seem to have a systematic way of accomplishing tasks. Some areas will be a bit chaotic and won’t have a unifying system to document. This gives you the opportunity to create a new system to test, refine, and use.
5. Test all processes and procedures to ensure they work for all. This is a great place to discover holes in business systems, ensure training is completed in particular areas, and update staff on the best way to get things done.
6. Revise policies and systems if something was found that needs to be altered.
Creating systems around jobs that need to be completed empowers your staff to be more efficient and learn from those at the top of their game. Additionally, policies, processes, and procedures provide you with a framework for preventing burnout. By keeping everyone and everything focussed on the overall purpose of your business, extraneous tasks can fall by the wayside, and you and your team can focus on what you all do best.
Are you ready to prevent burnout and get organized? Get in touch with our team at Business Success Consulting Group today.