Do you know what the hidden costs are for yourself and your work? Creating a high-performance culture or high growth company for most people means increased hours, stress, and responsibilities. These aren't necessarily a bad thing unless it leads to burnout.
Workplace burnout is a major issue that hits organizations at all levels. From finance to manufacturing, from salespeople to designers, the new workplace environment is demanding more and providing less.
But, unfortunately, workplace burnout doesn't just affect individuals-it affects the entire organization, leading to higher turnover, less engagement, and, overall, more irritable employees. This study found that burnout caused by stress, emotional and mental exhaustion, and lack of individual recognition leads to significantly lower performance.
The key for you as a leader is to provide a climate that engages employees and helps them feel comfortable.
This article from Inc. Magazine directly addresses workplace burnout. These tips are a great baseline to help employees make their own work experience and create a more stress-free environment.
But how can companies get to a deeper level of engagement? How about by focusing directly on the individual? Allowing employees to work in ways that are in tune with their brains' natural tendencies is like when an athlete gets into the zone...greater performance with less fatigue.
Here are 10 clear ways that will help you and any of your employees reduce workplace stress via their unique thinking and behavioral preferences:
1. Conceptual thinking comes naturally to some, and brainstorming and unstructured planning is in their wheelhouse. So no matter what their role in the organization is, give Conceptual thinkers enough time before deadlines to think of creative solutions to the issues at hand--allow them the freedom to do their work. This will reduce stress.
2. Social thinkers can be less taxed when they can bounce their ideas or off others. Provide them the opportunity for collaboration and team building so they can become engaged through working with others. Limit burnout by connecting to their work and life outside of the office.
3. For individuals with a preference for Analytical thought, provide enough time on a project to sift through data and research and formulate their plan of action based on solid information. They want to know that information will translate to ROI. Reduce stress by providing them with the facts and data necessary to understand and engage in the task at hand.
4. If you or others gravitate towards Structural thinking, the key to reducing burnout is to have a concrete plan of action, and then stick to it. For these individuals, a plan is required in order to maximize efficiency. If they are to avoid unnecessary stress, make sure they're engaged by providing a roadmap to see ideas through to completion.
Burnout can also play into the way people act, express, and respond to changes.
5. Those on the talkative side of the Expressiveness spectrum not only come up with ideas through discussion but also feel most comfortable when speaking, so allow them to converse and bounce ideas off each other--this will yield natural behavior at work and lead to reduced mental fatigue.
6. For those who are more quiet, managers should allow time to contemplate ideas and should avoid putting these individuals on the spot during meetings. Not providing time to think before speaking is a major cause for mental stress for those who are internal processors.
7. Allow employees on the driving side of the Assertiveness spectrum to debate ideas and argue out the details of the work--this isn't stressful, it's actually energizing. For them, a lively debate is fun, and it will put them in a better mood and ultimately lead to higher performance (as long as the debate stays professional).
8. On the peacekeeping end of the Assertiveness spectrum, individuals tend to avoid conflict and debate. Ensure they still have a voice when discussions get more heated. More importantly, call on them to help find the middle ground during stalemated debates--this way they will feel their voice and opinions matter and stress as a whole will be diffused.
9. From a Flexibility standpoint, some employees welcome change. To reduce their burnout potential, let them change the plan if they feel they know a better way. Be open-minded and listen to their suggestions. Stress happens when rapid change is NOT happening.
10. Those on the more focused end of the Flexibility spectrum need to reasoning for changes. Stress and burnout can be rooted in last-minute changes, so creating an ordered, systematic, and focused environment will help these people avoid mental stress and fatigue.
Your best employees need a work environment where they can thrive and be productive. Organizations need their best employees for the long term. Creating distinct thinking- and behavior-based workplaces can make both happen.