Carol Cookerly doesn’t want to risk employee burnout at Atlanta-based Cookerly Public Relations & Marketing Services, the firm she founded in 1991. Her team’s creativity is her currency.
But keeping morale high can be a challenge in her industry, in which publicists face constant deadlines and frequent rejection when pitching the media. As president of the 23-employee firm, Cookerly prioritizes motivation by breaking the daily grind with activities that range from trips to her horse farm to spirited office bingo games. “You can’t have the same schedule day in and day out without having burnout and office morale go down,” she says. “Repetition is the carpal tunnel of the mind.”
Poor morale is a problem in many industries. Nearly one-third of employees are enthusiastic about and committed to their workplace, a 2014 Gallup poll found.
Take a look at these signs of burnout to see if your employees could use a little bump in morale:
1. They’re not engaged.
Work engagement can be due to different things, from the upcoming holidays to other life stressors. It can also mean that employees are suffering from work fatigue. What does this look like? Employees will seem checked out and be less productive than their usual selves.
2. You’re finding more mistakes in their work.
One of the most telling signs, mistakes or sloppy work can show that your employees aren’t focused at work.
3. They seem tired.
Know that this feeling can appear in different forms, including physical lethargy to emotional exhaustion. Maybe an employee hasn’t been sleeping well and becomes increasingly irritable at work, or perhaps another employee gets more sensitive to your reaction to his or her work.
4. Their personalities change.
Hopefully, you’ve got an eye out for how your employees act at work. Then, you’ll be better able to spot any changes in their personalities. Remember, though, that everyone has good and bad days, so look for prolonged periods of personality changes.
5. They’ve turned into cynics.
Have your employees turned sour on just about everything, saying a goal won’t be met or an initiative won’t come to fruition? It’s another sign that your employees may be a bit jaded.
Noticed some of those signs? Good news: small business owners have an edge in keeping employees emotionally invested, Gallup reported.
So, what are some ways to turn that frown upside down?
Our Kinetic Business by Windstream team has put together some tips for keeping your own employees happy and engaged.
1. Minimize Economic Stress
It may be hard to offer competitive salaries, but for those who can, do it! Reducing your employees’ financial worries can let them focus on work rather than unpaid bills. (If you aren’t sure whether your wages are competitive, check out the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics regional salary ranges.)
Don’t worry if your small business can’t. There are other ways to reduce employees’ economic stresses.
Cookerly offers a high-quality healthcare plan and pays 100 percent of the premiums, as an example. Similarly, Pepito Fierro — owner of Pepe’s Bistro and leader of a nonprofit bike shop, both in Lincoln, Neb. — will give his restaurant employees a bike to get around if they’ve worked 30 days straight during a busy period.
2. Stay Flexible
Life happens outside office walls, and as a small business owner, your ability to acknowledge and accommodate employees’ personal situations can pay off.
Take Andrew Borakove, owner of Gongs Unlimited in Lincoln, Neb. When one employee was battling an illness recently, Borakove agreed to let the employee work remotely. He also checks on his employees’ personal lives so he can help them avoid feeling overwhelmed.
The best way to find out if employees need more flexibility is to ask them, either individually or in a team meeting that is focused on building a better workplace.
3. Make Time for Fun
To keep spirits high among his nine-employee team, Borakove at times creates a fun atmosphere to the point when he will get on a countertop and dance to music blasting. If you’re not sure what types of team-building activities to have, put together a social committee to collaborate on ideas, such as an after-work happy hour or picnic. Chances are you won’t need to twist arms to get employees to plan fun activities and you’re likely to emerge with a team that has much stronger bonds.
Use these tips to help your employees overcome burnout. Know that you can’t control it all, though, and it’s important for your employees to have a healthy work-life balance.
You can, however, help promote that with work flexibility and telecommuting policies. And, you can get a little help from our OfficeSuite UC®, an award-winning, 100 percent cloud-based unified communications platform that can increase employee productivity while supporting work flexibility and mobility. Contact a Kinetic Business by Windstream representative today to learn more about how OfficeSuite UC® can nip that work fatigue in the bud.