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Eagle’s Eye View

Eagle's Eye View
March 4, 2024

Eagle Health’s Guide to Less Stress and Greater Success

Eagle Health | Health and Wellness | OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

A certain amount of stress is natural and can even be healthy, pushing you to strive for better. The problem is that there is a fine line between stress and overstressed and overworked. At Eagle Health, we know that the best health care is whole health care, which includes physical and mental health. This month in the Eagle’s Eye View blog, we are taking a closer look at employee burnout and how to support overworked and overstressed employees. The impact of employees who feel overworked, under-rewarded, and isolated can be substantial for a company.

Signs of Overworked Employees

Employees feel overworked when they have more work than they can handle physically, mentally, or emotionally. There are essential signs that may provide insight into why an employee may feel that way, including:

Declining performance: If you suddenly see a drop in performance, it may be stress. Some employees stop caring and perform poorly.

Negative emotions: Overworked employees may become more emotional, even negative, when overworked. It is challenging to stay positive when you feel so anxious.

Absenteeism: Sometimes, going to work becomes too much to handle, and employees may start to take paid time off rather than go to work. If this does occur and there is a high absenteeism rate, it could decrease productivity. The problem then is exacerbated because as work piles up even more and employees fall further behind, their stress and anxiety continue to increase.

Increasing hours: The opposite can also be true. An overworked employee might put in longer hours to catch up on work. Spending more time at work makes them feel even more overwhelmed and stressed. They feel a loss of a work-life balance or even greater fatigue, meaning it takes them longer to complete their work than if they just stepped away for a break.

Finger-pointing: Being overworked is stressful and can make work challenging. Employees may start blaming one another for errors or missed deadlines.

Team friction: If a team member feels as though they have to handle an unfair amount of the workload, the team can suffer. That person might resent the other team members and take it out on them. If the entire team is overworked, there could still be tension, with team members taking the frustration out on each other.

Negative comments: Sometimes, individuals verbalize their work stress with comments such as, “I feel like I live here,” or, “I’ll never catch up on my to-do list.” These might seem like typical comments, but they could also be employees expressing their feelings of being stressed and overworked.

High turnover: If you have high employee turnover rates, it could be a sign of an overworked staff. Overworked employees may eventually look for another job with a company that does not expect so much from them.

 Main Causes of Being Overworked

Burnout is a multifaceted organizational problem caused by a variety of issues, including

  • Unsustainable workload
  • Perceived lack of control or autonomy
  • Insufficient recognition or rewards for effort
  • Lack of community or relationships
  • Lack of fairness or perceived injustice
  • Mismatched values and skills

Ways to Avoid Having Overworked Employees

Make a Plan

When you know that a large project is coming up or there will be a significant increase in your employees’ workload, try to plan out the work with your employees. Let them participate in the discussion so they maintain some control over the increase in workload.

Check-In

Staying in touch with your staff helps you recognize problems before they worsen. Have regular meetings with your employees to see if they have any issues with keeping up with their workload or need additional support. Look for signs of your employees being overworked, even if they do not say it directly.

Eliminate the Excess

Review processes with your employees to see where you can make efficient changes and help your staff not feel overworked by tedious, unessential work. Analyze each process to see if you can streamline anything. This lets your employees focus on the most essential parts of their jobs.

Recognition

Regular feedback and recognition encourage employees and help them understand what is expected of them. If an employee is never recognized or praised, it may make them work harder than they can or give up because they fail to meet expectations.

Exit Interviews

Conducting an exit interview whenever an employee leaves can help you identify issues that led to the departure. Include questions about the workload to determine if the employee felt overworked and had enough support to do the job efficiently. This can help you identify a problem and find ways to correct it.

What to do if you Have Overworked Employees

If you suspect your employees are overworked, immediately correct the situation. Here are some things you can do:

Talk to the employees: Sit down with them with an open attitude and listen to what they say. Ask about specific tasks and expectations that make them feel overwhelmed or overworked.

Perform a job analysis: Maybe the expectations for a job are too high. Evaluate the position and determine if changes must be made to prevent employee stress.

Increase flexibility: Give the employee a more flexible work schedule to help ease some of the stress.

Decrease the workload: If you determine the employee has too many responsibilities, find ways to decrease their workload.

Provide resources and support: When you recognize your employees need support, ensure they have what they need to do their jobs efficiently. Maybe you could add new equipment or training to help the situation. Be sensitive to how stress can affect their mental health. Many companies offer employee assistance programs to help individuals learn stress and time management skills.

Reevaluate your style: Take an honest assessment of how you speak to your employees, push for deadlines, or handle team conflicts.

Discourage excessive work: You may not require overtime, but some employees might work extra hours to catch up. Discourage them from working excess hours regularly, as this can increase burnout. Encourage employees to use their vacation time for a mental break from work.

Conclusion

At Eagle Health, we are committed to the health and well-being of our community. This includes promoting a healthy and empowering work culture for everyone. Overworking employees is a serious issue that can negatively impact your employees and your company. We hope this discussion helps you recognize the signs and gives you solutions that can work. A happy team is a successful team.

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