PREVENTING STRESS AND BURNOUT THROUGH CULTURAL AND STRUCTURAL SHIFTS

While issues concerning wellbeing as a result of people’s working environment – such as stress and burnout – may have already existed before COVID-19, the pandemic was merely the catalyst that brought them into the spotlight. 

Despite much of the pandemic being (hopefully) behind us, burnout is still a growing phenomenon in the workplace. According to The Global Burnout Study, which was published early this year, burnout has increased by over 5% in the last year. And rates of burnout continue to rise with more pressure on the global economy. 

While rising rates of burnout have led many organisations to invest in employee wellbeing, many of these look at wellbeing as a box-ticking exercise and aren’t addressing the root causes of workplace stress and burnout. 

Here are four tips for tackling sources of stress and burnout in your workforce while supporting employee wellbeing. 

1. Establish an informed wellbeing strategy

In order to make a real impact, the workplace wellbeing process needs to begin by developing a clear strategy. This is more than just wellbeing initiatives! Yes, initiatives can be beneficial, but they need to be tied together with an informed strategy. A strategy takes an integrated approach that supports the wellbeing of employees day-to-day, year-round, and is embedded in all business decisions. 

A workplace wellbeing strategy is an informed plan of action put in place to help your employees become happier and healthier. Your teams are more likely to adopt a wellbeing initiative that has a meaningful strategic approach, instead of a collection of benefits that don’t align with their needs. 

Initiatives without strategy can fall flat because they might not align with the needs of your workforce, and don’t have a clear goal. A strategy ensures that wellbeing initiatives are linked to measurable outcomes for your business and your people.   

2. Foster an organisational culture of wellbeing

The Global Burnout Study found that burnout is predominantly caused by organisational structures and cultures, and is not the fault of the individual. 

Without addressing necessary cultural shifts within your organisation as a part of your wellbeing strategy, your initiatives can be futile. When you create a strategy, it needs to be integrated into your organisational culture and overall business plan. 

An organisational culture of wellbeing starts at the top with senior leaders and managers, who need to lead by example and inspire others to proactively prioritise their health and wellbeing. Without this buy-in from the top, organisations are never going to see success in rolling out their wellbeing strategy. 

Any workplace wellbeing offerings should be championed by leaders and managers within the organisation, and personal prioritisation of wellbeing should be encouraged and celebrated. When everybody prioritises wellbeing, it creates a more inclusive culture and a better employee experience. 

3. Consider your job design

On top of promoting wellbeing in the workplace, you also need to take a look at the structures in place that may be leading to employee ill-health. You can provide your employees with all the mental health resources in the world and encourage them to look after their wellbeing, but if you’re expecting them to work 60-hour weeks with poor job design, they’re still going to experience burnout. 

Structural shifts are an essential proponent of workplace wellbeing. To proactively break the cycle of stress and burnout within an organisation, you need to understand what the main pain points in the business are that are leading to employee burnout. 

If a job requires people to be working unsustainable hours or creates stress inherently, you need to rethink the job design of the role to prevent stress and burnout at the source. You may need to review workloads and adjust job responsibilities to ensure roles are healthy and sustainable. 

4. Make wellbeing resources accessible

The key to engaging employees in daily healthy behaviours that will help them feel and perform their best, is to make it simple. With so many conflicting priorities in our busy lives, it’s important to ensure wellbeing activities don’t feel like too much extra work.  Everyone across your workforce – no matter their title, location, race, gender, ability or otherwise – should be empowered with the information and the tools to make wellbeing a part of their everyday lives. 

There have been so many changes to the way we work since the pandemic, which can make it harder to put wellbeing initiatives in place that are accessible to employees at all levels of the organisation.  

All workers – from office workers to remote workers to frontline workers – can benefit from a digital wellbeing platform as this allows them to access wellbeing resources anywhere, anytime. This helps to remove some barriers that may get in the way of staff accessing the wellbeing resources you provide. 

Partnering with Springday as your wellbeing partners not only gives your workforce access to a wide range of wellbeing resources at the click of the button via a desktop browser or mobile app, but it also provides you with strategic advice and ongoing support from your wellbeing experts. Learn more about our solutions or chat to us about how we can help you. 

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