Preventing Employee Burnout With Productivity Software

Employee burnout has been a problem long before the global pandemic, which forced millions into remote work and caused stressful employee burnout from overwork. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), employee burnout is a real occupational phenomenon. And 41% of stressed employees think that their stress negatively affects productivity. So, while businesses are not mandated to treat or support employee burnout for health reasons, they should attempt to reconcile employee burnout because it could affect their bottom line

Here’s what you need to know about employee burnout and potential ways to prevent it.

Indicators of Employee Burnout

Employee burnout is classified as a syndrome that comes about from poorly managed, chronic job stress. As a result, an individual employee frequently will feel a diminished desire to work and this could be impacting your entire workforce. 

According to WHO, employee burnout has three main dimensions:

  • Feelings of depleted energy or exhaustion
  • Increase mental distance from the job
  • Reduced efficiency

Burnout can manifest itself through one occupation but it can also come from overwork in all occupations. Therefore, employee burnout is not always associated with one job. 

Workplace burnout can also be the result of not taking care of oneself, not eating properly, a lack of exercise, and poor mental health. 

The Importance of Preventing Employee Burnout

Employers should be aware of their employees’ health and wellbeing. While employers cannot control all aspects of employee health, overwork, excessive pressure, and high-stress jobs can contribute significantly to poor health. This can lead to employee burnout, feelings of anxiety, depression, being overwhelmed, and physiological symptoms like hypertension (high blood pressure) insomnia, and a tendency for a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.

The sicker your employees are, the less likely they are to work as often, as well, or as efficiently for your business. Not only that, but higher rates of employee illness and employee burnout will contribute to increased employee turnover. And unfortunately, employee turnover costs businesses significantly. 

According to a Manulife study, employee turnover costs businesses around 40% of that employees’ salary. The tasks performed by that employee are neglected until a replacement can be found, or other employees have to jump in to take over. 

These tasks fall by the wayside or must be learned by another employee, and they might not be completed as well. Turnover might cost your company business as well, especially if your previous employee was efficient and well-versed at their job. If they were client-facing or account managers, then your business could be hurting a potentially strong client relationship. 

How to Identify Employee Burnout

Employee burnout can usually be tracked by four primary trends:

  • Monitoring decreased employee activity trends: Employees often perform a range of activity types. If they spend longer on certain tasks (i.e., digital tasks vs. focus time vs. collaboration) then this could signal a shift in employee behavior. If it’s not work-related, then you might look closer at your employees’ engagement levels and productivity.
  • Monitoring decreased or volatile employee engagement: Employee engagement includes employees showing interest in work activities, including meetings, projects, training/development, positive employee experience, and socializing. A behavior change may signal a change in the employees’ attitude towards the company and commitment.
  • Monitoring decreased employee productivity: Decreased employee productivity shows up in less focus time on critical projects. Employees might start missing deadlines (when they hadn’t before). Luckily employee monitoring can improve employee productivity.
  • Monitoring for increased employee turnover: High employee turnover rates are a broader company trend to look out for. If you are noticing more employees leaving, then you might want to start looking into why your employees are leaving. Higher attrition rates can also lead to overwork or deeper issues with retention. Reduced interest in transfers and promotions can also signal an issue here.

Luckily employee burnout can be avoided or mitigated before it gets worse. Sometimes employee overwork is necessary, but positive company culture and strong managerial support can minimize burnout symptoms. 

Using Productivity Software to Monitor and Deter Employee Burnout

Luckily monitoring software can improve productivity. By collecting employee activity and productivity metrics, your managers will be able to glean areas of opportunity for conversation around what’s working and what’s not. 

What is Productivity Software?

Companies who use employee monitoring software can see these trends in productivity tracking features, user behavior analytics, messages, and time tracking. 

Employee monitoring software, which is a form of productivity tracking and security, tracks the projects that employees spend time on. More specifically, it’ll also track the time spent working on those projects (including the individual tasks that the employee was working on) and issues that came up with that project. 

Employee monitoring software will automatically log keystrokes (although this feature can be turned off in some software applications), messages in chat applications, time spent in applications, time spent on websites (and which websites), and wasted time reports. 

Begin Collecting Productivity Data

You’ll want to start collecting productivity data so that you can report to your employees about behavioral or productivity concerns. Start by installing a productivity monitoring tool onto each employee’s computer. Employees will need to log attendance, when they clock out for lunch, and when they are working on tasks. 

You’ll want to collect data over a period of time. At least one month will give you a sense of what’s going on. But it’s not until a few quarters pass that you’ll begin to see trends.

You’ll also want to conduct job satisfaction surveys so that you can begin to identify job pain points. Keep these surveys anonymous so that employees can talk about points of tension like chronic stress or unrealistic expectations from management.

Analyze Productivity Data for Conversation Building

Once you’ve collected several data points around productivity, wasted time, and time spent on projects you can begin to analyze this data. 

Employers can see the projects that employees are working on and can cross-reference that with the time spent on applications and websites. If they say they were spending time working on the Annual Report but instead spent a lot of time in messenger, then you’ll want to dive into this. 

Consider behavior changes as well. Remember, your employee burnout might appear more suddenly compared to negative company reception. They might all of a sudden not want to work or they might not be as motivated to work. Look for significant trends and unusual activities

Encourage Feedback with Employees in 1-on-1 Meetings

You’ll want to meet one-on-one with your employees to address overall performance and employee workload. Be prepared to talk about concerns over decreased productivity, stress management, and employee wellness. Present your findings to your employees and open a conversation with them. 

There could be a greater misalignment going on and you don’t want to assume the worst. Ask your employees non-accusingly about potential overwork, burnout, or poor expectations on your part. With this meeting, you should be able to come up with a working productivity plan

Acknowledge Pain Points Around Work Stressors

In most work situations, there are stressors to deal with and areas of improvement on both sides. Sometimes having better managerial support, clearer communication, or a clearer goal to focus on can quickly resolve some of the pain points. 

Addressing these pain points is really important as they can be building and eventually lead to employee burnout and chronic stress. Try to find ways to work within the situation and seek employee input to alleviate overwork situations. 

Your team may be lacking positive employee experience factors. If your workers are just coming in to work and not experiencing your work environment, then this could easily be contributing to job burnout.

If your business shifted to remote work, you may have a lot of remote employees who struggle with work-life balance. Loop in your human resource department to try to bring back a positive workplace culture around remote work, shifting job expectations, and balancing work hours with personal time.

Revisit Employee Pain Points Through Task Adjustments and/or Company Policies

At the end of the day, a lot of flexibility can go a long way to improving employee retention and employee satisfaction. If you are going through a rough year (like an economic downturn or the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), then your employees might need breaks from constant workplace stress. 

Give them tools for success. 

Perhaps flex hours is the way to go or grant company focus time where employees are discouraged from chatting with each other over messenger and distracting one another. You might also want to consider wellness programs and improvements to working conditions. Be sure to envision proactive tools for improving mental health and avoiding worker burnout.

Trusting SoftActivity for Preventing Burnout

Employee burnout is a serious situation and one that has been on the rise ever since the shift to remote employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Now, more than ever, your staff members are experiencing longer working hours and emotional exhaustion. It is up to you to put tools and prevention methods in place to improve your worker’s wellbeing. When employees are engaged, they are more productive, resulting in a potential increase in profits by 21%. 

With the right productivity data, your team can get back on track and improve employee engagement and chronic workplace stress. By implementing a secure employee monitoring system, you can get a better idea of where your company needs to improve and address core performance issues. 

SoftActivity Monitor comes with the core features you need to track productivity and engagement data. Speak with HR about installing SoftActivity Monitor and work with managers on how to analyze and interpret productivity data. 

With SoftActivity on your side, you’ll be better equipped to prevent employee burnout. 

By SoftActivity Team.

November 22nd, 2021