Discover more from How to Lead Everybody (with their permission)
Maybe It's More than a Case of the Mondays
“Employers across the country, from Fortune 500 companies such as PepsiCo and Verizon to boutique advertising firms and nonprofit organizations, are continuing pandemic benefits such as increased paid time off and child- or elder-care benefits as well as embracing flexible work schedules and remote work in recognition that a returning workforce is at high risk of burnout.”
This article hits on several key points. We, the American workforce, and TIRED. And STRESSED. And still filled with anxiety. And still trying to figure out childcare in the “new normal.”
Please read the article for a bunch of great tips (yes, it’s behind a paywall, but please subscribe to and support news sources that conduct investigative journalism, so the US continues to have a 4th estate that conducts better research than your aunt on Facebook. But I digress).
Some of the great takeaways from this piece include:
Don’t schedule meetings on Fridays (actually, this has always been a good idea).
If your business model allows it, consider closing the entire office for long weekends (e.g., one Friday every month). When everyone is off, no one feels like they are missing emails or falling behind, and therefore they can relax and recharge more effectively. If feasible, even consider closing for a vacation week. Much of the rest of the world does something like this (ever try to reach someone at a company in Europe in August?), and it adds to their quality of life.
Parents with younger (and therefore unvaccinated) kids have a LOT on their plates. Childcare issues, remote school issues, anxiety about bringing the Delta variant home from an in-person day in the office—they are playing this game at a higher difficulty level than many other staffers.
Flexible scheduling—remote/in-person hybrid models, the ability to use personal days for unexpected childcare or health situations, and offering extra personal days to staff—can take a lot of the pressure off.
Talk to your people about their needs, their concerns, their preferences, and LISTEN to what they would like to see to make sure that morale, productivity, and retention are high in the coming months. As leaders, we need to be watching for burnout in our people—does someone seem extra-stressed, or unfocused, or overwhelmed and shut-down? Don’t let it slide or ignore it and hope it goes away.
Also, don’t forget to look in the mirror for one of these burnout assessments—our people need us to be “on our game” when we are on the job, and it’s better to work shorter hours with a “fully-charged battery” than to put in a 70-hour week while we are unfocused, dragging, and prone to errors.