We’re a couple months into working from home (WFH) and we are seeing quite the spike in burned out employees. 

Burnout is the situation where you are constantly feeling anxious, exhausted, extremely unmotivated, and dealing with chronic stress.  The World Health Organization (WHO) discussed this in their 2019 classification of workplace burnout. 

Here are 4 steps to burnout proof your organization, especially during COVID-19 and WFH:

1. Stop micromanaging, and start managing.  When you and/or your organization hires people, the goal is for that individual to perform a series of tasks for the organization, in order to best serve its clients (whether internal or external.)  Onboard them well, be around for guidance, but let the employees do their job.  I see people having to stay logged in and visible on Zoom all day, to “prove” they’re working.  This breeds an environment of mistrust and actually increases poor performance.  People want to be trusted.  As a manager, do you want your boss to trust you? 

2. Do not send emails after hours or weekends.  This should be a labor legislated law.  The constant 24/7 connectivity is not humanly possible, nor right to do.  As a leader, do you want to be working 24/7?  If you say yes, then you need to speak to a therapist ASAP, because you’re running from demons, issues, etc that needs to be addressed.  You’re mentally abusing your teams by emailing them all day and night.  STOP IT.

3. Eliminate the daily Zoom meetings.  Do you really need to meet daily?  Really?  Try a weekly meeting and be available to answer questions about work tasks.  Also take a deep look at the goals for each employee and see if during this pandemic those goals are attainable.  Have a conversation with each employee individually to see if there are any roadblocks for them to accomplish their goals.  Nothing adds to stress than knowing you can’t hit a target because of external factors, and your employer doesn’t care.

4.  Be empathetic.  Right now, everyone has degrees of fear, anxiety, concern, etc. with COVID-19.  There’s so much that we are not sure about, that this bleeds into our daily lives.  Help your teams have as much of a work routine as possible.  Remember that many of your employees have children, so not only are they an employee of your organization, they’re also a parent and NOW also a teacher.  Be flexible with work requirements.  Don’t overload your employees with busy work. Focus on what your company truly does, and make sure the work that’s being performed is that.  Cut the BS out just to make sure your employees work their 8-hour shift. 

These are challenging times for your employees (and for you as a leader, too.)  Be empathetic to yourself and your employees.  Focus on self-care.  You’ll come out of this a better leader and more respected by your team when you show that you care about their overall well being.

Be well!


  • Michael Levitt

    Chief Burnout Officer

    Breakfast Leadership, Inc.

    Michael Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of Breakfast Leadership, Inc,, a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout prevention firm. He is a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, and is one of the world's leading authorities in burnout recovery and prevention.  He is also a Fortune 500 consultant, #1 bestselling author, and host of the Breakfast Leadership Show, a top 200 podcast on iTunes. He is a 2x Top 20 Global Thought Leader on Culture with Thinkers360. He is a former Healthcare executive, CIO, and CFO overseeing $ 2 Billion budgets, so he’s seen and done it all.
    His main keynotes are:
    1. Burnout Prevention: How To Avoid Your Own Year of Worst-Case Scenarios 2. Workplace Culture: Create A Workplace That People Will Beg To Work With 3. Working Remotely With Boundaries: How To Accomplish More At Home, Without Burning Out