October 15, 2020

How to Avoid Burnout Within Your Team

Many companies, regardless of size and complexity, are still working through the shift from in-office to remote working and how that impacts operations.  Teams that once worked in the same building are faced with a challenge to adapt to the remote work environment.

Collaborating face-to-face already comes with challenges and can be amplified when you add a computer screen. Many are struggling with work-life balance, and leaders are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy within their organizations while combating the many unknowns of working from home.

For leaders who are still iterating new policies and procedures for work-from-home, we have outlined a few principles and agile working recommendations to keep in mind. These principles can help teams become more efficient and effective in a remote environment:

  • Assess work hours and encourage calendar management. According to the Washington Post, the average workday has increased by 48.5 minutes, which is over four hours per week. People are logging more hours, writing more emails, and attending more meetings. Assess the total working hours employees are logging on a weekly basis to identify if this has grown since the shift to remote work. If you see a dramatic spike, encourage your employees to improve calendar management to avoid burnout:
    • Block-off time to get work done without distractions
    • Schedule reminders for breaks to go on a walk, grab some coffee, or call a friend
    • Prioritize tasks using a task-management function
    • Encourage time-off to recharge
  • Schedule regular check-ins with your leadership team. If you have not already implemented the daily stand up, take 15 minutes in the morning or in the later afternoon for round-robin actions, open questions, and challenges with the team. This will set the tone for collaboration and tackle roadblocks, keep everyone accountable for their daily goals, and give leaders a high-level view into the team’s activities without cluttering an inbox.
  • Establish a cross-functional system to drive collaboration. Assign groups of people with different functional expertise to come together to work towards a common goal or review an existing process/project. Combined expertise brings new ideas that may not have stemmed from one individual, teams can tackle problems quickly, and give employees a purpose (and an opportunity to connect with other employees with whom they may have lost touch while working remotely) which may lead to an increase in morale.
  • Invest in a collaboration tool. There are multiple collaboration tools on the market today including Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and Yammer. Collaboration tools are best used when working in draft documents, gathering feedback from multiple parties, prioritizing and/or organizing tasks, and when emailing becomes too much.  Additionally, hey help hold everyone accountable and ensure that tasks are completed on time.

It is critical to maintain a high level of productivity and morale among employees, especially as work-from-home has turned into a long-term arrangement for many.

While there continues to be uncertainty about when we will return to the pre-COVID working environment, leaders can control the current state of remote work by setting their teams up with the right set of collaborative tools and support to avoid employee burnout.

Related team members

Craig Belanger
Senior Partner & Co-Founder Boston
Richard Crumb
Managing Partner & Co-Founder Menlo Park
Rachel Eschle
Partner & Co-Founder Boston
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