The world is sick, and according to data, it is not only the pandemic caused by Covid-19 that raises an alert, but also illnesses related to mental health. According to the World Happiness Report, prepared by the Gallup Research Institute in partnership with the United Nations (UN), the population is sadder and suffering more than ever with depression and anxiety. In Brazil, the data are more alarming: the country that occupied 22nd position in the World Happiness Ranking in 2017 dropped to 41st place in 2020, with the lowest average since 2005. A critical picture for a nation that already holds the shameful title runner-up in cases of depression in the Americas, with 5.8% of the population – second only to the United States –, in addition to having 9.3% of people diagnosed with anxiety-related syndromes. Data are from the World Health Organization (WHO).
One of these related syndromes is burnout, also called burnout, that is, it is a state of extreme and chronic stress, usually caused by overload or overwork. The term in English means “burn something to the end”, therefore, those who suffer from the condition lose their physical and emotional energy, due to a stressful professional routine. But burnout is a preventable disease. Recently, we’ve seen companies like Nike, Citibank and Bumble, for example, taking important steps, such as alienating employees by identifying clear signs of burnout and even reducing meeting times. Here are some practical guidelines to help managers act preventively to avoid irreparable harm to employees.
1- Return control
Small flexibilities in the workload and offer autonomy to the worker on how to manage it can increase their levels of well-being and sense of control over their tasks. For the mental health of employees, this flexibility is extremely important, therefore, let them have more freedom as to schedules, without so many demands. Trust the tasks and skills each one has.
2- Allow people to recharge
Help your employees to disconnect from work after the end of the day. Messages on whatsapp outside working hours, last-minute demands at the end of the day, among other actions that prevent rest, should be avoided. Help them to connect with their families and their leisure time, as this will certainly have a positive impact on their work and personal lives, not to mention that it will be very important for them to realize the value each one has as a person for the institution.
3- Create a culture of emotional care
Rather than waiting for people to burn out, it is better to encourage them to self-care and provide channels for them to seek help early, before they reach the exhaustion stage. Talking with employees, understanding the problems, even personal and professional, is very important to identify the first signs of burnout and depression, for example.
4- Provide sustainable resources for psychological support
Corporate mental health programs can bring numerous benefits to people and the organization, including reducing costs for leaves and increasing engagement and productivity. Isolated actions are not enough.
5- Promote a positive emotional culture
Environments with higher levels of anxiety and stress make people take more negative perspectives and hinder problem solving. Therefore, it is important to maintain a culture of “psychological safety”. Sometimes exaggerated charges cause employees to have a high level of stress and start producing less than they can.
* Ana Carolina Peuker, CEO of Bee Touch, is co-creator of AVAX PSI, the pioneering psychological assessment platform in Brazil
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