Among all of the emotions workers felt during 2020, one that persists through this year is “burnt out.” From adjusting to challenging circumstances to juggling demanding responsibilities, it’s been draining for employees who feel like they are asked to maintain productivity in the face of adversity.
In fact, a survey by Deloitte revealed that 77% of workers have experienced burnout at their current job -- and that was before the pandemic.
When employees experience burnout, it brings serious ramifications. On one hand, employees experiencing burnout are less engaged with their work, less creative and less productive. On the other hand, burnout can quickly escalate into serious mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
Benefits administrators, while not impervious from burnout themselves, can play a substantial role in addressing the current burnout crisis and preventing its resurgence.
Promoting work-life balance
“Work-life balance” has been thrown around a lot in the past few years. But it’s more than just a buzzword that sounds nice on job postings, it’s an important factor in whether or not employees face burnout.
So, what does work-life balance really mean? True work-life balance stems from setting boundaries -- and respecting them. This can take a few different forms:
- Setting working hours and not expecting any work-related communication or efforts to take place outside of those times.
- Prioritizing family and personal responsibilities and allowing employees to tend to them regardless of work hours.
- Encouraging people to pursue personal hobbies and passions while allowing them the time and mental space to do so.
Brokers can help their clients make this a reality by starting conversations around these topics. Encourage clients to send anonymous surveys to see how well these initiatives are being supported, creating plans for improvement in areas that fall short of satisfaction.
While you’re doing that for your clients, don’t forget to do it for your own situation. Assess your current work boundaries, priorities and personal endeavors and make sure there is a good balance for yourself.
Offering strategic employee benefits
While many employers are on board with the theory of work-life balance to prevent burnout, not all of them are putting it into practice. Specific employee benefits can be offered as part of a strategic effort to prevent burnout:
- Stress reduction benefits - Holistic wellness programs that focus on stress reduction like gym reimbursement, yoga programs and access to mental health resources can help employees recharge outside of work.
- Dependent Care Accounts - Caregiver benefits help employees manage their multifaceted responsibilities.
- Flexible work arrangements - Allowing employees to choose their hours or work location can help them manage both their workload and personal lives in ways that work best for them.
- Mental health days - Getting ahead of burnout is key; offering paid days off solely for rest and relaxation can help.
If your clients are not already offering these benefits, this can be a great opportunity to have to get them to consider it.
Giving clients a way to put the control back in their employees’ hands
Burnout often stems from employees feeling like they have no control over their time and work. Help your clients put that control back in their employee's hands by sharing a few simple strategies.
First, stress the importance of clear communication. It may seem trite since this is brought up with almost every topic, but that just goes to show how important it really is. Employers should actively seek communication from their employees about their needs and share how they plan to address those needs.
The communication should encourage employees to use their PTO; not only to use it but to truly unplug during it. You can have them consider creating a new policy that outlines appropriate conduct for team members who are out of the office, including limiting contacting them and delegating their responsibilities to other team members for the time being.
Employee burnout is real and far too common. But with the right efforts in place, brokers and employers can work together to help eliminate it.