Alleviate employee burnout in the hybrid workplace

Research shows that employee burnout is on the rise after such a lengthy period of working from home. People have been trying to balance personal lives and professional responsibilities for many months now while dealing with the challenges of the pandemic, and it has taken a toll on their physical and mental well-being. Burnt out employees lack energy, are more negative about their jobs, and aren’t as productive at work.

As companies transition to new hybrid working models, these same weary employees have yet another situation to adapt to. They have the added pressure of deciding whether to continue working from home or return to on-site, while worrying about how their choice of working location might affect their ability to connect with their team and be productive at work.

During this shift to hybrid, what can you do as a leader to support your employees who are showing signs of fatigue and negativity? Here are four ways to alleviate employee burnout in the hybrid workplace and help all your employees feel more energized, enthused, and engaged.

1. Communicate a clear vision for your hybrid work plan

According to a PWC survey “55% of employees say they would like to work at home least 3 days a week, while 68% of employers prefer that their staff to be in the office at least three days a week.” These stats show that employees and employers don’t share the same vision for what hybrid work will look like.

Instead of thinking about hybrid work only in terms of location where people are working, Gartner research shows that it’s important to think about it in terms of the time axis as well. People working in the office are constrained by set office hours, while those working from home have flexibility around the hours they work.

As a leader, you can help reduce your employees’ anxiety about what the hybrid future holds for them by developing a hybrid plan that recognizes their preferences around working location and time constraints. Ensure that you communicate all the details and specifics of your plan to your team to help them transition more confidently to the new scenario.

2. Support a healthy work/life balance in a hybrid scenario

To develop a hybrid work plan that will lessen employee burnout, encourage them to create good boundaries around work time and home life. Step away from encouraging the “always on” mentality. Let them know that you don’t expect them to be available or connected and communicating 24/7. As a leader, you should develop guidelines around meetings and set reasonable expectations around email and messages.

3. Measure hybrid work productivity in a meaningful way.

Employees who stayed productive while working virtually may still be burnt out. A recent survey by Microsoft showed that self-assessed productivity remained the same over the past year, while measures indicating burnout increased. Be strategic about which metrics you use to measure productivity. Focus on outputs, rather than inputs. Rather than using surveillance software to track how much time employees spend doing specific tasks, give them the trust and autonomy to do their job and focus instead on what they produce, rather than how and when they do it. Receiving consistent quality output over extended periods of time is what’s most important.

4. Recognize the feelings employees may have about hybrid work

Returning to in-person work as part of a hybrid model may come with a complicated mixture of feelings. Some may be eager to get back into the office while others may feel hesitant about how well they’ll be able to reconnect again with colleagues. Being around a lot of people again, either at work or while commuting, requires a lot of energy which burnt out employees may lack. As a leader what you can do is to practice empathy. Recognize that everyone has their own experiences or perspectives and try to be tolerant and understanding. To help with the transition, some companies are giving their employees paid time off to unplug and recharge as they prepare for the transition to a hybrid environment.

Keep in mind that hybrid work models, if implemented correctly, may solve some of your employee burnout issues. Many employees like the idea of flexible remote work options and want to continue working that way. They may value the in-person collaboration with their colleagues in the office, while also being able to work from home to do tasks that require concentration and focus.

At Virtual Team Builders we specialize in training leaders and managers how to enable virtual and on-site teams to work together successfully in a hybrid workplace. Our customized training solutions can give you the tools you need to address employee burnout. We can help you reconnect with everyone on your team, listen with empathy to how they’re feeling, strengthen communication and engagement, and increase emotional resilience to help everyone on your team transition successfully to a new hybrid work environment.

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For insights into how to keep your hybrid teams productive, read Three ways to maintain productivity in the hybrid workplace.

Want personalized advice for how to take your hybrid team to the next level? Complete our Hybrid Team Performance Survey and get a FREE 45-minute consultation with our training team!