Working remotely was one of the key factors that had a positive effect on employee work-life balance and remote employees were those that tended to experience less burnout than office-based employees.
However, the unique challenges and workplace adjustments which have resulted due to COVID-19 have created a new dynamic and additional pressures, not only for the increased number of staff working remotely but also for the managers who are new to leading remote teams.
Companies, therefore, have to ensure that they provide their managers with the right tools and training to excel as remote managers and leaders. By implementing intentional strategies beyond just those that are anticipated they can help prevent burnout of their managers and employees.
The key factor when addressing the challenges associated with burnout is to understand that one size does not fit all. In other words, managers should be trained to be more skilful in listening and understanding the specific issues associated to each employee. Managers need to offer a coaching style of leadership.
Transparent communication will also ensure that employees clearly understand how they are to be accountable for their output and in what context work parameters, tasks and expectations are outlined. By being explicit managers can ensure that their employees know what their managers require – by being clear and aligned in your expectations with your employees the – who, what, where, when and how will help alleviate any uncertainty and stress which remote employees can face as a result of lacking context and clarity.
Leading remote teams can be extremely demanding and managers need guidelines on how to maximise their teams’ productivity.
Remote employees also experience isolation making them feel detached from the team and the organisation. To alleviate this pressure take steps to make employees feel trusted and heard. Engaging in regular and meaningful communication will help establish an environment of trust and accountability. Be consistent about connecting with your employees and create opportunities to engage in conversations that acknowledge any challenges being faced such as trying to keep work and home life separate because employees ‘new’ home offices may be filled with numerous distractions and challenges. Remind employees that how they get things done looks differently for everyone.
Use the opportunity of daily or weekly conversations to reinforce organisational culture, sharing ideas on how employees can support each other, positive performance, customer engagement and organisational plans. By keeping your employees informed and feeling supported it can help prevent burnout.
Managing burnout will continue to be a serious human resource issue that needs to be taken seriously. By creating a coaching style of leading teams, organisations will see employee engagement and productivity flourish.