It’s become a bit of a cliché, saying that the pandemic created a “new normal” for all of us. But the reality is, the pandemic did introduce new ways of living and working. Employees are demanding more flexible workplaces with a stronger focus on work-life balance than before the pandemic, and organizations are trying their best to deliver. The pilot four-day work week program launched in the United Kingdom is an example of this. But, for companies outside of the pilot, how can they recognize and help prevent employee burnout if a four-day work week or extra vacation time isn’t an option?
Managers can help minimize burnout by recognizing how critical work-life balance is and ensuring that teammates are able to balance the two. This is especially important today, given the massive number — 47.8 million workers — joining the Great Resignation last year. Employers need to be in tune with their employees to fully support this balance. With the help of technology that can assist in providing transparency into this balance, high employee burnout rates can be lowered, and companies will be empowered to retain the top-tier talent needed to succeed in today’s world.
Mitigate Burnout and Stress Risks to Security
In April, we discussed how human elements, like stress, impact organizational efficiency. Through awareness and recognizing the signs and behaviors of stress among the workforce, with the right technology, organizations can also effectively protect business assets and support their teams. By using data to identify signs – like who on your team is working long durations with high intensity – organizations can better align with employees to keep priorities and tasks in check. It’s a critical effort, as fully remote workers have been experiencing more burnout than onsite workers since 2020 and we identified in our 2022 Insider Risk Report that 75% of insider threat-related criminal prosecutions were the result of remote workers in 2021. Clearly, given the increase of stressed workers, organizations must prioritize creating and maintaining manageable workloads to mitigate burnout. The domino-effects here otherwise could lead to increased insider threat risks, potentially resulting in a data loss incident and ultimately to a material or business reputation issue.
Visibility into Employee Behavior and Engagement
Insights derived from Workforce Cyber Engagement solutions enable business leaders to measure the signs of burnout by understanding trends and deviations from normal behavioral patterns. With these insights, organizations are able to answer questions such as: Are team members working long durations with high intensity? Have these individuals taken breaks throughout the day or utilized vacation days recently? Have team members been working longer than normal or pre-pandemic levels? If so, how much longer?
When individuals are identified as having a higher propensity for burnout, these solutions can help to inform organizations to prescribe a “recharge” that will make the most positive impact on the employee. For instance, it can be beneficial for individuals to softly lean into the rest and relaxation period by beforehand taking stock of what needs to be completed and addressing any lingering tasks with their managers which may have been put to the side due to a lack of time. This can help individuals mentally separate when taking time off, leading to a better recharge. This will also make it easier for individuals to get back into the flow of things when they return to work.
With the right data and behavioral insights, organizations can be more knowledgeable about how and when to check in on team members to help better support them and align on priorities. Hopefully, with these efforts, burnout amongst hard-working team members will be prevented before it’s too late. Taking this proactive approach is an important step forward in reducing burnout.
There’s plenty of research behind the Great Resignation, and much of it points to employees seeking a better work-life balance as the biggest driver behind many people leaving their jobs. Burnout not only negatively impacts a company’s bottom line, it also impacts the employees at these companies – the ones who leave and the ones who stay and need to pick up the added work. With this in mind, it’s important to prioritize your workforce’s mental well-being and utilize behavioral insights to effectively do so. Your employees will like you for it, and your bottom line will too.