How HR can boost morale – without being cheesy

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Read more: How to manage disengaged teleworkers

Plan regular breaks

Finally, leaders must find ways to promote employee well-being and help prevent burnout. Mass burnout was discussed in 2020, but a study by Indeed found the situation only got worse this year. Most employees (67%) believe burnout has worsened during the pandemic. More than half (52%) of employees said they were suffering from burnout in 2021, compared to 43% who said the same in Indeed’s pre-COVID survey.

Those who worked remotely were also more likely to say burnout had worsened during the pandemic (38%) than those who worked locally (28%). This could be due to excessive overtime (31%) as well as an increasing inability to disconnect from work (61%). Teleworkers pinned their burnout to:

  • Management pressure to work longer hours (38%)
  • Pressure from managers and clients or clients (21%)

Unsurprisingly, one in three staff members (36%) wanted more paid time off, saying it could really help reduce burnout. “Like what we found during the pandemic, and it’s still very true now, you need to give employees enough rest and downtime,” Hsuan said. “During the pandemic, we saw that the lives of many people became very blurry. People worked more productively but also without fewer distractions or breaks – you need to take your employees offline so they can rest and recharge.

If employees don’t take paid time off, despite encouragement from leaders, what HR can do is gently push them to take a break by giving everyone a company vacation every two months. “It really has an energizing effect on the business because they know the business cares about them,” Hsuan said. “[That] basically we’re willing to create more days off in some way at the expense of productivity, to make sure people come back recharged and excited to work.


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