8 Tips for Preventing Burnout in Your Small Business

tired businesswoman in glasses working at office and rubbing eyes

Employee burnout is prevalent in small businesses – your team members probably wear a lot of different hats and work longer hours than people at larger companies. That added stress can lead to burnout fast if you’re not careful. When a worker starts to feel burnt out, they might consider leaving the company, become less productive, or disrupt their coworkers’ workflow. To help prevent it from happening, try these eight tips.

1. Assign realistic tasks

When you’re assigning tasks to your employees, assign things that are challenging, but not overwhelming. Set realistic deadlines and make sure that each staff member has the tools and resources they need to do the job well.

If someone doesn’t think they can make a deadline, consider extending it if possible. If you can’t, help the person find a coworker who can help them get everything done.

2. Hire the right person for the job

Whenever you hire someone new, make sure they align with your company culture and that they have the skills for that particular position. In other words, don’t hire an accountant as a customer service representative just because you like the person. Read also: Why Hiring the Right People Matters

3. Encourage breaks throughout the day

Taking breaks throughout the day gives your employees a chance to eat, stretch, make personal calls, and socialize. They’ll also be able to regroup and see problems with fresh eyes.

4. Offer flextime or telecommuting

If a member of your staff needs to leave a few minutes early on Tuesday afternoons to take their child to baseball practice or come in late on Thursdays to take their kid to school, consider letting them. Ask them if they’d be able to stay late or come in early another day to make sure they still have time to get their work done.

If it makes sense for your business, you could even let everyone work from home once a week. Telecommuting occasionally gives everyone a day to knock out some of their bigger tasks without being distracted by their coworkers.

5. Reward your employees

Make sure your staff knows they’re doing an excellent job by rewarding them for meeting an important goal or surviving a particularly hard week. You might give them an annual bonus for achieving their objectives for the year or allow them to leave a few minutes early on Friday after a busy week.

6. Set goals

Without goals, your team might feel overwhelmed because they don’t know where they’re headed or what they should be focusing on every day.

Start by writing clear job descriptions for everyone, so they know what they should be doing on a daily basis. Then, set annual goals with them. Regularly check in to see how everything’s going, if the goals need to be revised, or if you can provide any additional support to help them achieve objectives.

7. Take vacation time seriously

If you offer vacation time, encourage your staff to use it. When they’re on vacation, make sure they know that you don’t expect them to answer phone calls or emails. To show your team how serious you are about taking time off, make sure you take some time away from the office, too. Read also: 7 Reasons You Should Take a Vacation

8. Promote a healthy work-life balance

Between smartphones and the internet, your employees are always accessible, so make sure they know you don’t expect them to be available 24/7. Encourage them to unplug from work when they leave for the day. Outside the office, they shouldn’t answer or even read emails, and they should let work calls go straight to voicemail. If it’s an emergency, you can always send a 911 text or email.

As with vacations, you should set the example. Set work hours for yourself and avoid answering emails and phone calls outside those hours as often as possible. Learn more about how to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

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