Print this page
Thursday, 23 November 2017

How to prevent employee burn out in the care sector

Written by Lee Biggins

The demanding nature of care work is a hot topic. Many professionals within this industry have difficult day-to-day roles, and it’s hard not to get emotionally invested in patients that you spend hours with every day. However, while it is part of the job, it can be both emotionally draining and physically demanding for staff.

Coping in these circumstances can be stressful, especially with ongoing skills shortages in the sector, meaning many professionals are putting in more than their contracted hours. But, if not dealt with correctly, stress can quickly lead to burn out. Below, we’ll address some of the key tactics you can use for reducing stress and giving employees a better work-life balance.

Promote a strong work-life balance

The first step to preventing employee burnout is ensuring all workers have a good work-life balance. One of the main causes of a poor work-life balance is excessive overtime. It’s important that work commitments don’t have a negative impact on an employee’s personal time. Ensure that your staff aren’t working ridiculous hours every day. What’s more, checking emails or taking work calls outside of contracted hours can disrupt the work-life balance. So it’s best to encourage employees not to do this.

You should also consider different ways of showing your employees you care about their wellbeing. This may include letting them work flexible hours to make time for other home commitments. You might also choose to treat them to an extra afternoon off here and there. If this isn’t possible why not buy them lunch one day, offer them extra-unpaid leave or arrange a fun Christmas celebration to look forward to.

Combatting stress

When stress and emotions affect your workers, it becomes especially concerning. Research from CV-Library revealed that over half (53.8%) of professionals in this industry say that they are affected by stress. It’s essential to tackle these issues before they become a bigger problem. Appropriately, 92.3% of professions in this industry agreed with this, saying that they think their employer could be doing more to combat stress.

This is your time to shine. Firstly, think about what could be causing this stress: are they working large amounts of overtime? Have they been taking on weekend shifts? Do they complain of feeling tired all the time? If so, it’s worth having a check in and discussing how you can help them. Being a thoughtful employer can go a long way, particularly in this industry where workloads can become heavy.

Remember that when workers are heading towards burnout it can also go beyond the individual and have an effect on the wider organisation. Over half (59%) of professionals in this industry said that workplace stress could prompt them to leave their current job and look for a new one. Poor staff retention can cause of lot of problems for organisations, especially in an industry already affected by staff shortages.

Encourage your staff to get a good amount of shut-eye

Everyone is familiar with how a bad night’s sleep can have an impact on their day-to-day agendas. If this is not dealt with properly, it could have a negative effect on your employees’ health in the long term and might even cause them to reconsider their job with you. We found that, 77.8% of professionals in the industry claimed that workplace stress negatively affects their sleeping patterns so it’s definitely cause for concern.

No employer wants to think that the root cause of an employee’s health issue is work related. So it’s clear that action need to be taken. Think of proactive ways you can reduce staff stress, to increase their time away from work and improve their sleep time. This might mean offering an employee counselling service or even making a staff suggestion box to take note of their needs.

The study also looked at night shifts, which many employees in the care sector may be familiar with. It revealed that 41.2% of individuals in the care sector, who work night shifts, admitted that they suffer from excessive sleepiness during these hours. This is worrying considering the fact that the nature of this profession requires high levels of concentration.

Creating time to recover from the shift should be your first priority. Employees may benefit from a few later starts, an extended lunch break or some early finishes. Overall, it’s important you keep an eye out for your employees. Not everyone will be open about their struggles and you don’t want to neglect anyone’s needs. Approach any employee requests for wishes such as time- off, pay rises and flexible working with an open mind. In spite of everything, you need to be on the ball to maintain employee happiness and prevent burnout.

Remember that putting your employees first doesn’t have to come in the form of big gestures. Encourage a good work-life balance and address any problems straight away to avoid staff becoming stressed and burnt out. After all, it’s these little things that really make a big difference.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library.

Related items