Workplace burnout is on the rise: Nearly twice as many people say they are always exhausted at work as compared to 20 years ago, according to the Harvard Business Review. The World Health Organization even dubbed burnout as an official medical condition.
The Mayo Clinic describes job burnout as "a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity." It's no secret that protecting your employees from burnout is a smart business move: Companies with high engagement rates report 22 percent greater productivity, lower absenteeism and lower turnover.
With these benefits in mind, here are some strategies for keeping your employees motivated and energized.
Mandate taking vacation.
Nearly half of Americans don't use all of their vacation days, according to the State of The American Vacation report. On the flip side, employees who take vacation report being more satisfied with their role and their company.
People may not use their vacation days for a variety of reasons, from being afraid they'll look less committed to their company to feeling they have too much on their plate to be able to get away.
However, taking vacation actually boosts productivity. Make sure you offer a vacation policy and that the leaders in your company model that time off is not only accepted, but valued and encouraged. This will help employees of all levels feel comfortable writing an OOO.
Establish a culture of volunteerism.
Burnout may be just as much about loneliness as it is about exhaustion, according to the Harvard Business Review. Volunteering and charity work can be great tools for building connections with others and can act as bonding experiences for teams.
Plan volunteer opportunities for your staff that align with your brand mission or your team members' passions. Put policies in place that supports time out of the office to work for a charity. You'll be doing good for a cause and for your employees.
Flexible schedules can help attract and retain the best talent, as well as drive employee engagement. Employers who offer even small amounts of flexibility in schedules score higher job satisfaction ratings and lower stress levels from their employees, according to Monster.com.
Find ways you can offer your employees flexibility that works for your business. For example, at Dotcom Distribution, we let our employees get a head start on the weekend by leaving early on Fridays in the summer when the work pace naturally slows down a little.
Also, we offer our warehouse and operations staff the flexibility to work four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days if they so choose as our warehouse is open seven days a week.
Emphasize workplace wellness.
Burnout and stress are closely correlate, and studies show that exercise may be one of the best ways to manage stress. Physical activity releases feel-good chemicals in your body known as endorphins, and has been shown to boost your mood and decrease anxiety. Consider incorporating wellness initiatives into your workplace culture, such as by offering yoga or aerobics classes on-site, or reimburse employees for health-related expenses like exercise equipment or gym dues.
Remember, your human talent is your company's greatest resource: What is good for your employees is also good for your business' bottom line.