Work is a key factor contributing to many people’s stress levels. Although stress is a natural part of life, prolonged periods of high stress can negatively impact your employees’ health, morale, and productivity. Contact centers are not immune to this. From irate customers to traumatic content moderation, frontline contact center teams can be exposed to highly stressful situations on a daily basis. These situations often lead to burnout. Therefore, many companies are looking for ways to support a more compassionate workplace and prevent burnout culture. Here is what you need to know about job burnout as well as a few methods that companies have successfully used to combat it.
What Is Job Burnout?
Job burnout refers to the specific type of stress related to your working conditions. The Mayo Clinic defines it as “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Symptoms include a noticeable lack of energy and enthusiasm, irritability, low productivity, and many health problems caused by stress. By spotting these signs, employers can intervene and provide support to their employees ahead of burnout.
Although it isn’t a medical diagnosis, many experts believe that depression and anxiety are contributing factors to burnout. And, it can adversely affect your physical and mental well-being. Prolonged periods of burnout compound the effects and lead to a number of health complications including fatigue, insomnia, heart disease, high blood pressure, poor immune response, and alcohol/substance abuse to cope with the stress.
Signs of Burnout Culture
Unfortunately, burnout culture is more prevalent than you might think. Nearly 76% of employees say they have experienced it at some point in their careers. With numbers this high, it leads one to conclude that more measures need to be taken to support employees to prevent it.
The signs can be difficult to recognize since many business models have standardized policies that push employees to the point of burnout. Therefore, it’s important to turn the mirror of self-reflection on your operations to see if you are fostering a healthy workplace or perpetuating the cycle of burnout. Ask yourself:
- What do public reviews from employees say about your company?
- Are your core values reflected in the way that you treat your employees?
- Do you offer flexibility with their schedules and autonomy over their daily lives?
- Do your policies treat everyone equally, or is there an unfair bias toward specific employees?
- Is your workload sustainable, or do your employees constantly struggle to stay on schedule?
- Do you offer attractive incentives and compensation?
- Does your company provide resources such as an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) to support your employees’ physical and mental health?
- Are your frontline Supervisors and Team Leaders trained to spot warning signs of burnout culture?
If you see areas for improvement, then it’s probably time to reassess your corporate policies and realign them with the type of environment you want to create.
3 Ways You Can Help Prevent Burnout
Although job burnout affects people on a personal level, you can’t treat it as an individual problem. It’s the result of systemic negative conditions in the workplace. However, there are policies and resources you can put in place to promote a healthy workspace and prevent employee burnout.
Flex Schedules for a Better Work-Life Balance
When people have more flexibility and autonomy in their schedules, it creates a better work-life balance and greater job satisfaction. Therefore, many companies allow employees to choose their hours. It’s possible to determine schedules based on not only business demands, but those in your employees’ personal lives as well. Some creative ways this can be achieved is through 4-day work weeks, split shifts, and weekend schedules.
Access to Mental Health Resources
Another effective method to support your employees is by creating internal work groups that promote positive mental health and share techniques to deal with stress. This could include group activities, forums on mental health topics, or discussions with your HR reps about services that are available through the company.
A Compassionate Corporate Culture
Perhaps the most important way to combat employee burnout is by adopting a compassionate corporate culture. But, it has to start with training leaders at every level to recognize that employees are people, not commodities that can easily be replaced.
Actively listening to employees and ensuring that their needs are met is critical. Employees who are satisfied with their jobs and believe in the company’s mission are more productive and effective. By fostering a culture of compassion, everyone wins.
If your contact center is struggling to overcome policies that promote burnout culture, the consultants at P3 can help you assess the situation and create a plan and work environment that supports your employees’ personal and professional growth.