Professional burnout is so common today that many people have accepted it as normal. We’ve all seen co-workers become less productive and less enthusiastic about their jobs. Some of us have experienced these feelings ourselves. And they’re contagious – one unmotivated worker can bring down the mood of your entire team. Here are some ways that you can minimize burnout among your lawn care company’s employees.
It can be hard to pin down what the term “burnout” means. We admire people who can work long hours without a break and take on extra responsibility, and they’re usually rewarded with professional advancement. Don’t we want our employees to go the extra mile?
Of course we do, but it turns out that doing it all day every day isn’t good for us. Burnout isn’t just fatigue. It involves a sense of futility – you’re always tired, but you can’t see the point of all that effort. Over time that exhaustion can turn into serious health problems.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The increasing prevalence of burnout has a silver lining: more attention from researchers, who have identified a variety of ways to address the problem.
1. Keep lines of communication open. One of the most effective things you can do is hold a short (5- to 15-minute) morning meeting devoted to starting the day on a positive note. When people understand what’s expected of them and feel like they’re part of a team, their attitudes toward their jobs improve.
To cover the bigger picture, some employers hold longer meetings periodically. Topics might include company goals for the medium and long terms; recognition for top performers; and customer feedback, both positive, to share best practices, and negative, to brainstorm ways to prevent problems in the future. Employees place a high value on coaching that helps them avoid mistakes.
2. Establish sustainable workloads. The single best way to retain employees with families is to establish a definite quitting time and enforce it. Flexible schedules and the ability to take time off for health-related reasons are also highly valued. In a perfect world, you could maintain just a bit more staffing than you need to allow for days off even during busier periods, because those times are when people are most likely to need a break. Obviously, this isn’t always an option, but it’s a goal that’s worth keeping in mind.
3) Encourage positive habits. Everyone knows we should watch our diets and get enough sleep, and lawn care provides us with at least some exercise. It’s also important to exercise your brain, with variety. If you don’t already have a hobby, consider joining a local sports team or learning to play an instrument. Encourage your employees to do the same.
The bad news is your work will never end. That’s also the good news, because your company will continue to operate. We’d all be better of remembering that a career is a marathon, not a sprint, so there’s no shame in pacing yourself. Graham Spray Equipment is committed to helping you achieve long-term success.