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13 Ways to Reduce Employee Burnout

13 Ways to Reduce Employee Burnout


In the workplace, burnout can have a huge impact on employee engagement, leading to low productivity and high staff turnover. On the flip side, effectively preventing burnout can improve employee retention and help to attract future talent. This article outlines 13 ways Life Science employers can reduce employee burnout; from writing a descriptive and well-thought-out job description to redesigning the physical workplace.
  • Author Company: PharmiWeb
  • Author Name: Lucy Walters
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Editor: PharmiWeb Editor Last Updated: 27-Oct-2022

With the Life Science industry being put under more pressure than ever in recent years, employee burnout is on the rise.

The World Health Organization (WHO) define burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” According to WHO, symptoms include:

  • Energy depletion and exhaustion
  • Mental distance from work/feelings of negativity and cynicism towards work
  • Reduced professional efficacy

In the workplace, burnout can have a huge impact on employee engagement, leading to low productivity and high staff turnover. A 2022 report by Talkspace found that:

  • Around 53% of workers are burned out
  • 33% of people feel their happiness has been impacted by work stress
  • Nearly half of all people find work too stressful

On the flip side, effectively preventing burnout can improve employee retention and help to attract future talent.

This article outlines 13 ways Life Science employers can reduce employee burnout; from writing a descriptive and well-thought-out job description to redesigning the physical workplace…

Write clear job descriptions

Clearly define the key responsibilities/purpose of everyone on your team to ensure everyone is using their energy on the right tasks and that the team’s workload is balanced fairly. Set clear role expectations and objectives, and help employees understand their main priorities.

When advertising a new role, make sure the job description is equally as informative, even when you’re hiring a completely new role.

Be clear about opportunities for career progression

Career progression is a big motivator for employees to work hard and stay focused, as they have an end goal to work towards. However, provide clarity about career progression by providing employees with timescales and potential career paths open to them as well as how promotions etc. can be achieved.

Not being clear on this can lead to employees burning themselves out in the hopes of getting a promotion when these are awarded based on accomplishments/time spent in a role rather than how late workers log off.

Ensure adequate training is being offered

Employees’ responsibilities will change over time along with evolving business objectives, so make sure they are receiving adequate training to help them adapt to new tasks, responsibilities, and goals. Leaving staff to train themselves and ‘learn as they go’ will effectively double their workload and stress levels.

Encourage employees to have a healthy work-life balance

The ideal work-life balance will be different for every employee, so remember this when helping your staff set boundaries at work. However, there are things you can do to promote a healthy work-life balance amongst your workforce:

  • Ensure annual leave is being taken
  • Pay attention to how late people are logging off/leaving the office (this is more about noticing any trends rather than tracking every employee)
  • Allow flexible and remote working where possible
  • Regularly review workloads to ensure work is manageable
  • Offer benefits for employees to use outside of work, e.g., anything from discounted cinema tickets to holiday vouchers

Promote wellbeing as part of your company culture

Make employee wellbeing a central part of your company culture. This means re-evaluating the benefits you offer, how you advertise them to employees, and how else you encourage employees to look after their physical, mental, financial, and emotional wellbeing.

Depending on your company’s budget, you could do anything from offering mental health days and wellbeing training to sharing useful resources and making your benefits more accessible. For example, if you have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) in place, advertise them in places other than the company handbook which employees might struggle to find.

Communicate with your workforce

Regardless of how busy you are, making time for regular check-ins and reviews with your employees is essential. Create an open environment where employees can be honest about their workload and make yourself available to support them and help them achieve their goals in a healthy and realistic way.

Reward and recognise your employees

Acknowledge your employees’ hard work before they become burnt out from working harder and harder in the hopes of getting recognised. Show them that the work they’re already doing – if they’re being productive and meeting their goals – is enough and that they don’t need to compromise on their personal lives to get rewarded.

However, be mindful of why you are rewarding your employees. Don’t reward employees just based on all the extra hours they’ve put in and remember to reward those hitting their targets within the normal workday too. It’s okay to reward people for going the extra mile – but you can do this without making overworking the norm.

Find ways of connecting your employees

Finding ways of bringing your employees together can help to create a collaborative and supportive environment where people feel comfortable asking their peers for help. Read our recent article on how to connect remote employees for some ideas on how you can create stronger workplace relationships.

Don’t forget your remote workers

86% of employees who work remotely full-time experience burnout, yet only 49% feel they have support from their employers to deal with burnout-related issues. When it comes to addressing burnout, don’t neglect your remote employees, and check-in with them regularly to ensure they have all the support they need.

Redesign your physical workplace

If you’ve got employees working in an office, think about how you can improve their working environment to reduce burnout and improve wellbeing. For example, ask yourself:

  • Are there quiet places for employees to work independently as well as collaborative spaces?
  • Are there plenty of windows and natural lighting?
  • Do employees have a good space to take breaks and unwind?
  • If employees want to leave the office to take a break, are there places for them to go?

Whilst you might not be able to change the physical location of your office, there are things you can to do create a more relaxed environment.

Review the entire employee experience

Look at the entire employee experience, from the initial application and onboarding process to the moment employees leave. Think about what you can improve along the way to keep employees engaged, motivated, and productive.

Be proactive

Don’t let your employees reach breaking point, and instead be proactive about looking for signs of burnout. For example, are your employees consistently logging off hours after they should be? Addressing burnout before it becomes a long-term issue can help to reduce your turnover.

Lead by example

As a line manager, the way you work can heavily influence the way the rest of your team works. If they see you consistently staying in the office for hours after the workday has finished, or hear you talk about how you’re too busy to take a break, many will be likely to copy this behaviour to be recognised as a hard worker, just as dedicated to their job as you are.

Lead by example and set healthy boundaries for yourself as well as your employees, and create an environment where a healthy work-life balance is encouraged rather than forgotten.


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