How to Manage Employee Burnout During COVID-19

According to recent surveys, employee burnout is on the rise due to COVID-19 stressors. The main reasons reported by employees for feeling more burned out than ever are: poor work-life balance, fear of job-security, and an unmanageable workload. This pandemic has brought on unexpected stress, fear, and additional work for many industries, and employees are feeling the pressure. Burnout has risen by 12% due to COVID-19 in just three months, according to blind’s report, The State of Burnout 2020.

So, if you are one of the many employees suffering from burnout, what can you do? The answer isn’t simple, and there’s no cure-all, but there are steps you can take which will at least help. But, not trying to improve the situation at all can have serious consequences for your career. We do not know how much longer this pandemic will disrupt our lives, so don’t wait for it to just go away. Here are 3 steps to improve your situation now. 

As with most issues, acknowledging the problem is the first step. If you deny your true feelings, and have trouble admitting you have a problem, you can risk a full-blown mental health crisis, or worse. According to a MetLife study, many workers underestimate the seriousness of their struggles with burnout. Get real with yourself, tune in to your feelings, and acknowledge if you are burned out (or in the process of burning out) in order to address the issue at hand.

Take care of your mental health. Many companies offer mental health benefits, and it can be immeasurably valuable to take advantage of them.  If your employer isn’t offering this benefit, many local nonprofit agencies, veterans organizations, or your state office of mental health may offer programs. Your mental health is key to being successful at work, and the stressors of work, life, school, and a global pandemic can become overwhelming without the support of a mental health counselor.

Establish a work-life balance. With many people working from home, their kids schooling from home, and workloads increasing, a work-life balance can feel impossible. For those working from home, it can be very difficult to differentiate between work and home. Going to a different location to work helps to turn-off the stress of home, and when you see the laundry and dishes piling up during your workday, it can become hard to focus on work during work-hours. Ask your employer for flexibility. Some jobs do not require you to work a 9-5 day, and some managers don’t care if you take a 15 minute break to run a load of laundry, as long as you make up those 15 minutes later in the day. Flexibility in time worked might be just what you need to receive uninterrupted time to focus and be more productive. When you are able to shut down for the day, you should try to disconnect. It’s not healthy to be checking your e-mail around the clock.  Allow yourself to recharge at the end of a long day.