Preventing Work From Home Burnout

Date: June 30, 2020
employee retention

How to engage remote employees and avoid burnout for maximum employee retention.

When your office is next to your couch, the inability to switch off at the end of the day, or having nothing else to do during isolation, is resulting in increased working hours for many Americans. 

Since Coronavirus and an increase in remote work, Forbes reported that Americans are working an extra three hours per day. Let's repeat that, Americans are working an extra three hours, per day!

It’s common for remote workers to feel like they have to do more when they work from home as they can’t visibly be seen working. In a 2019 survey by Digital Ocean reported in Forbes, a cloud infrastructure company, 40% of staff who work from home felt that they needed to contribute more than their office based colleagues.

You’d think an increase in hours and output would be a good thing for companies, however, this is not the case. 

The biggest risks of increased work hours is burnout, ultimately resulting in poor employee retention, low employee engagement, and high employee turnover. 

Here are our top three strategies that are simple to implement to reduce work from home burnout, to help you with employee retention and turnover.

1. Implement some fun activities 

The purpose of these activities is to encourage your staff to communicate, have fun with each other, and get moving.

employee retention
  • Online Happy Hour - it is important, and easy, to continue the Friday Happy Hour tradition remotely. You can even go one step further by providing employees with a gift voucher to buy themselves a drink or send them a bottle of wine. Within the Bucketlist platform it’s easy for managers to be able to gift employees with wine, gift vouchers or other rewards.

Find out more about Bucketlist with a free demo.

  • Modern day book club - you’re welcome to keep it to books, but you could also watch movies, TV shows or listen to podcasts and catch up once a week or monthly to discuss. Studies have shown that colleagues who have relationships with their co-workers have increased employee satisfaction, which helps with retention and lower turnover rates (source: Trello). What better way to build relationships with colleagues than to find things in common with them.
  • Games - there are many games you can play online, including trivia, bingo, conduct a scavenger hunt, or traditional online gaming (i.e. World of Warcraft or MarioKart).
  • Photo challenge - have teams submit photos of their pets, their pantry, last night’s dinner, or whatever it might be, then conduct a competition to for everyone to guess which photo belongs to which team member.
  • Daily reminders - through whatever channels of communication your organization uses, set daily reminders to take breaks (make a coffee, go for a walk, do some stretches), and send around positive or inspirational videos that will encourage staff to take a short break. A great place to start for an evil laugh is with this FailArmy video on ‘Things to DO when you’re under quarantine’.
  • Theme days - have some fun with a crazy hair day, corporate day (where you wear something other than sweatpants), everyone share their favourite dad jokes or costume dress up.
  • Exercise challenge - ideas include 10,000 steps a day, 30 minutes of exercise, online yoga classes. This can be individual, or you can put your employees into teams to earn points for each activity they do for a prize at the end.

2. Utilize the power of recognition

Many companies underestimate the power of employee recognition. A Gallup survey showed that only one in three U.S. workers strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good with in the past seven days. Additionally, employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.

The Gallup article states, “Workplace recognition motivates, provides a sense of accomplishment and makes employees feel valued for their work. Recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement, but it also has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.”

Recognition doesn’t have to be gifts or rewards, but instead a public acknowledgment for a job well done. Bucketlist’s employee recognition software does just that, provide a company with the ability to easily give a shout out to a staff member who has done a good job or is living the company’s core values.

employee recognition

Find out more about how Bucketlist rewards and recognition can help with employee retention.

3. Improve work-life balance

It’s all well and good to have some fun, but you need to have a culture where working extra hours is not encouraged. A lack of work-life balance results in fewer profits and more on-the-job mistakes.

Staff at all levels, including managers and senior staff, need to follow the same rules for consistency and motivate change from the top. The struggle is that work-life balance looks different to everyone. For some, it’s the ability to spend more time with their family. Whereas for others, it’s time to spend on their hobbies. However it looks though, it is time away from work to rest, recharge and re-stimulate. 

One of the best ways to reduce burnout through work-life balance is to provide a flexible work environment. If this means a strict 5pm clock off, great, but it could also present itself in an extended lunch break to allow a run in the sun, or extra breaks throughout the day to spend time playing with kids. Create rules and boundaries around the flexibility and help eliminate work from home burnout.

For more information about the importance of work-life balance and how it affects employee retention and engagement, check out this great article by The Happiness Index.

Start your research into employee recognition software by requesting a free demo of the Bucketlist software.

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