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How to Unburden Your Overstressed Employees

Now that we’ve been working through the pandemic for the greater part of the year, we have a better understanding of what it means to function day-to-day. While you may not be solving the world’s problems, providing your employees with a “Best Place to Work” could be a key to how they are able to perform at work and at home and set them up for success in 2021.

Now that we know what to expect, we can do our best to prepare and have plans in place to help every employee breathe a little easier during their day to day, whether in the midst of the pandemic or beyond.

Re-delegate responsibilities. Sometimes, burnout comes from a period of doing the same thing for too long. If there are some people on your team with similar skillsets, consider switching up responsibilities or swapping projects to keep things feeling fresh. Of course, you’ll want to run this by everyone first, but often something new to look at can be just the thing someone needs to feel revived. Another bright side: sometimes, all a project needs is a fresh pair of eyes to take it to the next level. This is a great move for both your employees and their quality of work.

The easiest place to start? Hiring. If your team is understaffed, the best thing you can do is hire someone to help. Now especially could be the best time; if you’ve just gotten off of a hiring freeze, you want to use that new hiring budget before the possibility of another freeze settles in. The world is uncertain, but hiring doesn’t have to be! Act quickly, and your team will thank you for it.

If hiring isn’t an option, do the next best thing. If you are able at all to give your team extra time off, do it. Being overworked often makes this a bit tricky, but even if you give them all an extra PTO day or allow rotating Fridays off, they will feel the relief. The goal is to give your employees a little extra breathing room. If you can’t hire someone to help them, hire a contractor at the very least, or do the next best thing and give them time off to relax.

If you really don’t know what to do, just ask. If you feel truly at a loss to help your employees, just ask them what they need, and encourage them to be honest. Maybe what they’re really craving is a bit of extra help from you as a hands-on manager. Maybe they need the opposite and are really craving some more independent work time. They might want some freedom with expected work attire - if nothing else, the freedom to wear a sweatshirt to a meeting means that someone can at least be comfortable while they’re stressed. Who knows? Maybe your employees will come up with something you would never have even thought of. You hired your team for a reason, and you should never underestimate their ability to come up with new ideas.

Remember that the ultimate goal is to unburden your employees, and the key here is to really listen to them when they’re expressing their needs. A happy, healthy team means a much better place to work for everyone involved.

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