An Apple a Day Won't Keep Burnout Away

Jul 31 07:09 2008 Linda Finkle - Incedo Group Print This Article

In this era of long work days, long commutes, and high stress, employees dedicate far less time towards preserving their mental and physical well-being. While employers prefer to believe that extended work days enhance long-term production, the reality presents a far different picture.

In this era of long work days,Guest Posting long commutes, and high stress, employees dedicate far less time towards preserving their mental and physical well-being. Employees have instead redirected that energy towards keeping pace with the ever-changing demands of today's businesses. While employers prefer to believe that extended work days enhance long-term production, the reality presents a far different picture. Employees who are always on the go never have time to recharge their batteries. As a result, they constantly run on empty, which increases the chance of illness and exacerbates the negative effects of stress. Given the endless demands for production, employees will reach burnout long before employers feel satisfied with the output.

Employers must learn to think big and bold when it comes to employee well-being. The big and the bold of employee well-being require employers to look beyond the four corners of their human resources manual. It demands that employers assume a progressive stance on the role of employees within the company hierarch. And it asks employers to engage employees in the process of creating a healthy workplace.

Most employers have the foundational elements of a healthy workplace, including health insurance, healthy cafeteria choices, and gym benefits. There are several means of building upon that foundation to truly create a healthy workplace. The basic tenets of improved employee health include employee involvement, employee growth and development, health and safety, work-life balance, and employee recognition.

Let's take a look at each tenet:

GET EMPLOYEES INVOLVED IN THE COMPANY: Too many employers discourage employee involvement, believing it an unwarranted hassle. The bottom line is, however, that employees will be more dedicated to the company when they feel heard and valued. Employers should, therefore, create an open door policy to get their employees involved in evaluating company practices. An open-door policy promotes employee involvement because it encourages employees to actually raise their concerns. There are numerous ways to get employees involved. Nike Tennessee, for example, created chatrooms for employees and holds regular breakfasts for the purpose of encouraging communication between employees and management. There is no one right way of getting employees involved. Companies operate differently and should tailor programs to meet the needs of their organization.

PROVIDE FOR EMPLOYEE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT: Many employers offer training for employees on any number of topics. However, employees frequently do not take advantage of such opportunities either because they are unaware of their existence or do not feel comfortable using work hours for training. To avoid these situations, employers should widely advertise training opportunities and encourage individual employees to participate. This means not only emailing the information about the training but actually taking the time to personally deliver the message to employees.

HEALTH AND SAFETY: Health and safety concerns go hand and hand with certain industries. In the corporate world, health and safety concerns are less obvious. At a basic level, health and safety in the corporate world revolves around health management programs, such as healthy food choices, gym benefits, and employee assistance for mental health concerns. Another key health and safety issue concerns ergonomically correct working spaces. Ergonomically correct workspaces ease the discomfort caused by the strain of typing on a keyboard, sitting at a desk, and staring at a computer for extended periods.

EMPHASIZE WORK-LIFE BALANCE: The phrase 'work-life balance' is a bit of a misnomer, but it has broad implications for employee health. An employee's life can never be balanced equally between life and home but companies certainly can offer perks that demonstrate recognition for employee's lives outside of work. Telecommuting and flexible work hours, for instance, are two key alternatives to the normal work schedule. These two options offer employees with long commutes, ailing relatives, or newborn children a means to fit both work and home into their lives. Additionally, employers can create their own methods of recognizing and embracing an employee's life outside of the workplace.

RECOGNIZE EMLOYEES: Employers should give employees ongoing feedback. Not only does regular feedback prevent confusion about how the employer views an employee's performance, it also creates another channel of communication. Some employees are self-driven but many need reasons to push themselves. Annual promotions, occasional small rewards, and sizeable rewards for long-term employment are all perks that will keep employees dedicated and push them to excel. In addition to regular feedback and systematic perks, employers should recognize employees for a job well-done.

It is now time for companies to step up their game and get the ball rolling on employee health. A reactive approach to employee health no longer can suffice to address the problems and conflicts linked to employee burnout. In today's business world of midnight deadlines and weekend work hours, employees deserve more than a decent health insurance plan. Employees deserve to be an active part of the company, to have a role in making improvements, and to have the flexibility to maintain a non work-related life. Just remember that a mere apple a day will not keep burnout away.

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Linda Finkle - Incedo Group
Linda Finkle - Incedo Group

Linda Finkle, CEO of Incedo Group, works closely with leaders and management to create sustainable productivity and organizational strength. She holds a Master Certified Coach designation through the International Coaching Federation. For more information and articles by Linda and Incedo Group, please go to

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