Workload Burnout-A Few Suggestions In The Midst Of Layoffs
As we are all well aware, employers have been experiencing layoffs over the last year or so. Many of the employees who are left behind (although glad to have made the cut) are being burned out because of the workload. One employee may have to carry the burden of one or two former employees. In addition, they may also still be worried whether or not they will be next. Add these concerns together and you have employees who may be feeling somewhat overwhelmed, frustrated, and burned-out. Consider how these feelings translate into low work production and poor customer service.
You might want to think about doing some small things that may give you a bigger return on your investment and give the burned-out employees much-needed stress relief and improve their overall productivity.
1. Implement an “e-mail curfew.” Exempt employees who are tied to PDAs and laptops, the pressure is always on them to respond to messages and this can create a feeling of always being at work (although we know that exempt employees can be!). Consider making an announcement that after a certain time each day, employees will not be expected to respond to electronic commuincations until the next day. For employees in sales this may be tough especially in the automotive industry but if they are burned-out they are not operating at peak efficiency anyway.
2. Increased meal periods and breaks may be another consideration for both exempt and non-exempt employees. If you have a 10 minute break period consider 15, a 15 consider 20. With respect to lunch periods the law requires a 30 minute break for every 5 hours of work. Some employers give 30 minutes and other give an hour. Consider extending those by 15 minutes and leaving the break period as they are. Either way it only takes away 10 or 15 minutes from the work but gives them some much needed relief.
3. Offer work-from-home for those employees who, based upon their particular job, are able to do so. Especially those who may have a longer commute. This may not work for everyone and could cause some of the non-qualifiers to become upset. Exempt employees can easily qualify and some of them may already be working 6 days a week in the office. They need a break as well!
Look, the above suggestions are just that–suggestions! This may or may not work for your particular business but put on your thinking caps! Employees will appreciate (hopefully) anything the employer can do to relieve the stress that many of them may be under.