5 creative ways to reduce employee burnout and depression
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According to a survey from Monster, 50% of employees working remotely report experiencing burnout, and 52% report having no plan for taking time off from work.These facts are especially troubling given the limitations COVID has placed on an employee’s options to disconnect and refresh.
But this is the New Normal, at least for now. These are the facts and circumstances that HR now faces. But just like the role of the HR professional has evolved in the post-COVID workplace, so too has HR’s ability to take action. This is an opportunity for employers to get creative about the ways that we can encourage employees to disconnect and recharge.
1. Encourage a routine
Get together with employees via Zoom and discuss ways they can create stability and develop a routine. Discuss different time management techniques like time-blocking. Having a set approach for completing day-to-day tasks saves time and creates chances for employees to decompress.
2. Use Slack Channels
One of the biggest challenges for remote workers is the loss of structure and social interaction that can occur when transitioning from an office environment to working from home. The Slack communication platform adds structure and creates a forum for meaningful daily conversations between employees as they discuss specific projects and work in general. Create a “Random Fun” channel and seed it daily with a fun topic that gets your employees engaging with each other.
3. Create virtual social groups
Being under quarantine can be a lonely experience, especially for those living alone. In the absence of the traditional watercooler social, add meaningful discussion and a sense of belonging to remote workers by creating virtual social groups that change every week or so. Having virtual social groups provides employees the opportunity to get together with someone new, have fun, and enjoy relaxing conversation to help decompress after the workday. It can also help create an environment for collaboration. Where two employees that might never interact might help each other think about company projects and initiatives in a new way.
4. Schedule virtual team events
Schedule virtual team meetings. Make sure people turn their cameras on! These events can be fun, like playing charades on Zoom, where different teams compete for prizes. These friendly competitions can strengthen working relationships regardless of them being virtual. It’s also fun, which is essential.
5. Mail Employees Mindfulness Packs
Show your team that you care by sending them mindfulness packs. These can contain calendars, agendas, and thoughtful reading materials. But they can also be relaxation boxes too! The possibilities are endless and vary depending on each particular organization. Showing your employees, the company cares can go a long way to helping them through the challenges of work-related stress.
BONUS: Not so creative way – Encourage taking PTO
This might be a hard one. Most people aren’t too excited about taking PTO during a pandemic. But employees working from home would benefit from using their PTO to recharge. Encourage your employees to take an extended weekend. If you really want to get creative, send them on a scavenger hunt for items in their home or neighborhood (Red Mailbox? Garden Gnome?). Have them email you the pictures for a prize.
The novel coronavirus is the accelerator of one of the most significant workplace transformations of our lifetime. In this way, it creates the opportunity for many businesses like yours to get creative and redefine themselves in anticipation of future changes in work environments. Good luck and let us know of any other creative ways you might be used to prevent anxiety and depression.