Web design is an up and down kind of business. If you run a small agency, you may have clients pouring in one day and very few the next, leading to stress and temporary overload for your staff. Employee burnout is an ongoing problem for most creative agencies.
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How do you stop employees from burning out? It’s easy to throw out some ideas, but implementing them is much more challenging in real life scenarios. Let’s look at some of the best ways to avoid employee burnout and how to put them into practice today.
Is everyone in the office stressed out about a looming deadline? Go for a walk either with one worker at a time or as a group. Getting outside and moving a little can help get creative juices flowing. You can even call it something like brainstorming walks.
The key is to shake things up a bit. Even creative jobs such as design can feel stale and overwhelming when people are under pressure. Getting some exercise is also good for employees’ mental and physical well-being.
Each of your staff members has something they love. Perhaps one enjoys gardening and another has always wanted to study penguins in Australia. Look for ways to encourage those sabbaticals and longer breaks so your top workers can come back refreshed and with new experiences to drive their work. You’ll find they are more creative when they have a fresh perspective.
If you notice one of your workers suffering from employee burnout offer a paid or partially paid leave so they can pursue new skills or follow their passions. It might seem as though you’re paying them for nothing but breaks can increase their productivity enough to make up for the time off.
You’ve likely heard before how important it is for people to have a good work/life balance for their personal and emotional well-being. One of the biggest reasons for burnout is too many pointless meetings, difficult clients and long work hours away from family and friends.
Look for ways to improve the balance between work and living. Offer enough vacation and personal days so people feel comfortable taking time off to go to a niece’s play in the middle of a work day or to take a couple days off to prepare for a spouse’s work party at a fancy restaurant.
Create a culture that is open to time off for anything important to the person. If you have the right kind of workers, they won’t take advantage of the opportunity. If you find some are taking advantage, don’t change policies so they hurt your best workers. Replace the ones who are the squeaky wheels instead or you’ll risk losing your top performers.
Most experts estimate around 25% of jobs are now remote and the number keeps rising. Being in an office setting is distracting for some people. When you let them work from home, you give them a break from the stress and chaos of the office. They may naturally become more productive in a comfortable setting away from chatty coworkers and office noises.
The key is to let the employee decide whether or not working from home would help battle burnout. Some people thrive on being around other people. Personalities can drive preference for remote versus being in the office. GIve your workers options so they can choose what helps them the most and be at their peak performance.
One big reason for burnout is feeling discouraged. Does your leadership come up with ideas that lead to your top people not being recognized? Perhaps you try a new program for bonuses and it doesn’t work as intended, rewarding those who aren’t as skilled or don’t meet deadlines.
Think about your leadership style and how you can best retrain your management to avoid employee burnout. Once a worker starts quietly quitting, it’s often hard to get them back into the spirit. Even if the person has a strong work ethic and continues trying their best, they may feel so discouraged they start looking for another option, causing you to lose a loyal employee.
Employee burnout comes in many forms, so be aware of the indicators and make any needed changes to avoid churn.
Do you have a high worker turnover? Do people constantly gain a bit of experience and then leave for a position with another agency or strike out on their own? If so, your entire brand may be suffering from employee burnout. It’s time to implement some of these tactics and communicate with your staff to discover what needs to change to keep them engaged and on the payroll.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.