The Great Exhaustion

Over the last couple of weeks we have been focusing on “The Great Resignation” from the perspective of Employers. There has been discussion around useful tips for managing and minimising the impact that this can have on your business. But what about the inverse of that?

How are Employees feeling?

The juxtaposed position is “The Great Exhaustion” whereby people are more then just tired, they’re starting to burn out or they are already burnt out.

It is now February, the majority of businesses are back after their summer break with the intent of being recharged and ready to go for the new year ahead. But is this really the case?

If you needed to evaluate your Employees well-being, how would you rate them?

Have you recently had a conversation around how they are feeling?

Have their behaviours adjusted or changed?

If they have, then that’s ok. It is more a situation of, be alert not alarmed. Together we can manage this.

It’s been two years of change, upheaval, and uncertainty. The novelty of working from home or within a high stress environment is starting to wear thin. Daily case numbers, press conferences, the official lockdowns, the unofficial lockdowns, and the quest to find the ever-elusive RAT are now ingrained in our behaviours.

You can see that some Employees are depleted, fatigued and in some cases, on auto pilot.

How are you managing your expectations as an Employer around this?

Are you leading with empathy?

Are you being considerate?

Are your own feelings impacting on the way you lead?

It’s certainly hard to gather the enthusiasm when those around you are in a slump. Quite simply, we’re not meant to operate like this for so long. So, how do you lead an effective team and gain their mojo back?

It’s been said that boundaries and balance are one way to support this. But again, this comes with further questions; are those boundaries in place, is there a balance? Perhaps they’ve been knocked around a little, is it time to refresh and evaluate what’s working and what’s not? Are your current communication practices effective? Does that strategy need to be reconsidered? Do you need to do some goal setting with your Employees for the next 3, 6, 12 months? Do you need to look at conducting a 360 survey for holistic feedback?

Managing Employees is never easy at the best of times, and it’s even harder now that we’re starting to see signs of burnout. You need to be able to actively identify what these signs look like and then have a solution for managing them. To simply rest is not enough; if nothing changes, nothing changes. Having a few days off to only come back to play catch up won’t change the problem. We’re in a pandemic, but the systemic nature of our living situation more then ever has the ability to affect our performance.

Let’s hope now, that 2022 will give us the opportunity to get out of our slump and move forward.

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