Experienced business leaders like Bo Parfet recognize that employee ‘wellness’ and ‘work-life balance’ have become hot topics in discussions around lifestyle and business leadership–especially in the midst of the major shift to remote work. The old model of a 9-5 day with (lots) of implied overtime has contributed to worsening burnout–a state of feeling unhealthy, exhausted and apathetic, or even depressed. According to a recent survey by Flexjobs, 75% of participants had suffered burnout at work, with 40% of them experiencing it during the pandemic.
Thoughtful business owners and Executives are tackling this issue head-on. Work-life balance means providing employees the support they need to take care of themselves and ensuring they feel appreciated for their hard work. How do you help employees combat burnout and create more work-life balance? Bo Parfet has managed many different companies, and he understands how to foster an environment where employees thrive. Here are Bo Parfet’s top 5 tips for business managers or anyone who wants to help employees combat burnout and create work-life balance.
Create a Sense of Community and Let the Small Things Count
When we have a community at work, we feel part of something meaningful. There’s nothing worse than feeling like just a number! With an increasing percentage of people taking on remote work full-time, a sense of isolation is unavoidable. small-to-medium-sized businesses often forego team-building programs because they find them too expensive or time-consuming. According to Bo Parfet, there are simple, inexpensive ways to create community.
Small gestures of appreciation and acknowledgment can go a long way. For example, try incorporating a monthly vote for the employee who put in the extra work. Offer small prizes during town hall meetings to thank them for their contributions.
Onboarding new hires simultaneously will also help build a sense of comradery. When staff can train together, they’re more likely to want to collaborate and feel they have someone to share challenges with openly.
Allow Flexible Work Hours For Employees
We all know that over time, extended work hours wear us down and can negatively affect our mental states. The nonprofit Four Day Week Global launched a six-month pilot program to test out a four-day workweek in April. Companies like Uncharted and The Wanderlust Group have positive results that inspire a movement to take root in the business community.
Some in management positions worry that flexible work hours will be bad for business, but the evidence seems to suggest the opposite. Innovative new research has revealed that mental well-being and employees’ happiness support motivation and are positively correlated with their productivity. In fact, one study out of the UK found that being happy made employees about 12% more productive. Experts like Bo Parfet agree that this creates a positive cycle wherein your employees contribute more while feeling better in their work life. In other words, the best productivity hack is employee happiness!
Embrace a Culture of Open Communication and Empathy
Open and honest communication helps to build trust between colleagues. Frontline Leadership Project found that 57% of people quit because of their boss, often because they’re not open to their ideas or devalue them. Often when an employer senses that a team member is experiencing burnout, they attempt band-aid solutions (for example, a pay raise) rather than addressing the root cause of the burnout. If trust is lost between an employee and their manager, it can be very difficult to gain it back. It’s up to the company’s leadership to address the underlying issue.
For example, if the underlying problem is high turnover, be sure to meet with your team often to share management-level plans and changes in personnel to promote transparency.
In response to staff reporting high levels of stress, Hubspot made a long-term commitment by initiating an annual week-long rest period called Unplugged. The Health and Safety Executive report found that stress, depression, or anxiety-related problems accounted for 17.9 million of the 38.8 million days lost due to work-related illness in the UK. So stress is not only bad for staff–but it’s also bad for your bottom line.
Have Realistic Expectations
Great leaders are known for their big, ambitious goals. However, it’s crucial to assess each team member’s abilities and career objectives to make sure they’re in alignment with these goals. When employees lack a clear career path, it can contribute to long-term anxiety and result in high turnover. Chief Growth Officer Bo Parfet recommends scheduling check-ins with your team members to determine how they want to develop and what training they need to grow in their role. Depending on your capacity, even a quarterly one-on-one is helpful.
Bo Parfet also highlights the need for clear boundaries between work and personal life. Managers should model the behavior they want to normalize with their team. When employees see their manager working through lunch hour every day, they feel they probably should do the same. Be cognizant of the nonverbal messages you’re sending out.
One of the more tricky elements we face when trying to reduce burnout is the reality of the physical effects of excessive screen time and sitting. We know that excessive screen time is harmful to our eyesight and can lead to tension headaches. Being too sedentary is also not good for our fitness and overall health. For these reasons, managers should encourage frequent movement and breaks from screened devices. Movement and exercise relieve stress and improve cognitive function. Encouraging employees to take a break together is another great way to promote a sense of community.
About Bo Parfet
Bo Parfet is a mountain climber, real estate professional, and philanthropist. Lately, he has been working on a podcast as a guest host called the “Impact with Don Wenner”. The podcast focuses on entrepreneurs who have made an impact on society and the steps they took to achieve their goals. They give practical advice on how to handle tough challenges and how to deal with uncertain situations. Listen here http://impactwithdon.com/#podcast to hear the latest.