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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to go remote, with some even switching entirely to long-term remote work. 

There’s nothing wrong with offering your employees more flexible work options but you should also be on the lookout for workers that are struggling with navigating this new pandemic-forced reality of working in isolation. 

If you already had remote workers before lockdown hit, you’d still need to make sure they have enough space to decompress with everything going on ’cause let’s face it, very few people alive today know what it’s like to work during a pandemic. 

Bottom line: you want to do everything you can to check burnout within your team and here are two tips that can help with that: 

1. Educate Your Employees

The first thing you should do is make them understand that there’s nothing wrong with feeling burnt out, identify the signs that can help them recognize this. 

2 Signs Of Employee Burnout

#1. Cynicism

Cynicism is that disinterest in the job, body language gives this off most of the time and it could be a bit difficult paying attention to body language in remote workers but you can do this by watching out for the easily irritable employee in text and video chats. 

#2. Reduced Productivity

Eventually, the cynical employee gives up trying. Everyone has bad days but if you have a high performer that seems to have downed tools, it’s time to check in with them. 

2 Causes Of Remote Employee Burnout

Educating your employees on the causes of burnout so they can reach out before it happens is just as important and here are some causes you can point out:

#1. Lack Of Support

This could be from other team members or from supervisors and both are things only management can fix. Your employees aren’t going to create support groups themselves but you can introduce regular team meetups at certain periods of the day with video conferencing tools, so everyone stays in touch.

Direct support from supervisors involves providing feedback, so offer rewards when they’re successful and work with the employee to make improvements if their initial submission wasn’t good enough.

#2. Poor Work-Life Balance

When there’s no separation between an employee’s work and home life, work can creep into family time, lunch break, and dinner time and no, that’s not a good thing for your business ’cause errors creep into important work too. 

One way to fix this is by helping your workers set up a dedicated workspace. Paying for their coworking membership can work but you can also pay for their work table, laptop, and other accessories if they’d rather set up their workspace at home. 

Stick to regular working hours and enforce lunch or burnout breaks by having everyone inform the team once a day that they’re off to lunch or to the gym so others know not to contact them during that time. 

Finally, encourage your team to take mental health days, this can be done weekly or monthly, whatever works for your business. 

Remember, you don’t have to do any of this yourself, education should ideally be handled by professionals. American businesses lose more than $100 billion yearly to mental health costs so hiring a mental health professional to educate your team pays for itself in the long run. 

2. Provide Challenging Work Not Overwhelming Work 

There’s nothing wrong with making job demands but when it starts to get excessive, there’s only so much an employee can do before output begins to suffer. 

Setting SMART goals is a good way to check that your work is challenging and SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. 

Here’s how you can use that to provide challenging work:

#1. Set Specific Goals

Specific goals are clear with concrete roles defined so everyone on the team knows the roles they play and what needs to be accomplished. It’s like running, you know you’re done with the race when you’re over the finish line.

A plan to boost traffic to your blog is vague, setting a goal to hit 10,000 monthly visitors to your business website after a year is specific and would help your team come up with a plan to get to that number in the quickest time possible.  

#2. Set Measurable Goals

When there’s no end in sight to a particular project, there’s no way your remote team can track progress. It’s like running a marathon with no finish line, everyone on the team eventually experiences burnout.

Measurable goals encourage tracking so your employees can see if they’re making progress or if there’s a need to modify the strategy. If you work in the service industry, a good way to measure customer satisfaction is by looking at the number of repeat buyers so if you have more customers asking for refunds than those placing a repeat order, you know there’s a serious problem. 

#3. Set Attainable Goals

Simply put, are your goals realistic? Do you have the right people working on those goals? 

Don’t give your backend developer the CRO design job for your website which you’d need in two days, that’s unrealistic but you can get a UX designer to handle that and work to get a time that’d work for both of you, now that’s an attainable goal. 

#4. Set Relevant Goals

Set goals that are relevant to your overall business growth and communicate this to your team, no one feels good working on a task they believe is not important to the company. 

#5. Set Time-Bound Goals 

Remember, your business goals are different from your vision or mission statement, your vision is a lifelong commitment while your goals are meant to produce results in the short or long term.

If you need to migrate your website to a more powerful web host to deal with black friday traffic, then that’s a time-bound goal, it’d make no sense to complete the migration after black friday so you need to get your employees on board with getting the migration done before that date. 

There are no burnout-immune employees but with the right structure in place you can work to prevent it and the tips in this post can help you with that.