Solutions for Worker Burnout
Worker burnout has been a hot topic since the pandemic. All the changes the pandemic brought have taken a toll on businesses and their employees. Owners and CEOs are scrambling to find solutions to the issues that still linger, such as employee burnout.
Maybe you have heard talk about pushing for a 4-day workweek, giving employees 3-day weekends. Or you may have heard about 6-hour workdays, giving full-time employees 2 extra hours away from work every day, making 30 hours a week the new full-time work. Will either of these changes to the traditional work week solve the problem of worker burnout? Is this what workers want and need?
If the 4-day workweek involves 10-hour days, it is doubtful that burnout will be solved. Employees with children will have even less time with their families those 4 days. There would be an added expense to cover extra after-school care.
We also have to consider whether businesses can afford to lose that fifth day of work. The company could lose momentum when they give up that fifth day. Workers may find it harder to get back into the Monday routine after three days away from work.
Shortening the workday rather than the workweek may be easier for some owners and CEOs to manage since they aren't shutting down for an entire day. That could be a more viable solution, but only if workers are motivated to do everything they do in 8 hours in 6 hours instead.
On average, people tend to feel productive for closer to half the workday. So, if you shorten the workday to 6 hours, it’s possible that employees might feel they can remain productive for the entire workday. It’s also possible that some employees will maintain their work habits and get only 6 hours (or 4 hours) of work done in 6-hour days. There are no guarantees, as you well know.
Kate Morgan, in writing “The Case for a Shorter Workday” for BBC.com, makes a compelling argument for shortening the workday rather than the workweek with more pros than cons. She says that “studies show working longer does not necessarily correlate to greater productivity,” and that’s something I would agree with.
One thing I know, if you shorten the work week or workday but don't change the way you treat employees while they are at work, you aren't really improving your corporate culture. You're putting a bandage on it.
There is yet another solution to worker burnout, and that is to improve employees' work life by creating a culture where everyone feels a sense of belonging, are valued, and share in mutual commitments. Create a culture of cohesion. Team building activities and team bonding activities allow you to develop and nurture relationships among employees, revealing strengths and skill sets they can use to work together as a cohesive unit.
Take it from me, this is how you retain top talent. Then shortening the week or hours or anything else you do to improve employee work life balance is like getting a hole-in-one on a par 5.