You would be hard-pressed to find an American who hasn’t experienced work-related stress. In fact, in the 2021 American Psychological Association’s Work and Well-Being study, 79% of the 1,501 employees who were surveyed said that they had experienced work-related stress. The most significant work-related stressors reported by those employees were low salaries (56%), long hours (54%) and lack of opportunity for growth or advancement (52%).

Whether the stress that many Americans face is due to physical fatigue, emotional exhaustion, or cognitive distress, these stressors can affect employee productivity alongside a company’s retention rate. In fact, according to the survey, those who typically feel stressed during the workday are more than three times as likely to look for another job in the next year (71% in 2021 vs. 20% in 2019).

These numbers point to one fact: If a company fails to resolve employee burnout (resulting in high turnover), its bottom line will undoubtedly suffer in the long run.

While there may be other, unrelated factors contributing to employee stress, businesses can utilize a number of strategies to reduce employee burnout.


Flexibility in When and Where To Work

First and foremost, management must encourage a healthy work-life balance. There should be time provided for employees to take time off, spend time with their families, and practice self-care. For some companies, this can be accomplished through a workplace policy that allows employees the flexibility to choose their work hours. Oftentimes, schedules are based on meeting established goals rather than a traditional 9-5 workday. Flex time can help eliminate unplanned absences and even reduce healthcare costs for some employers.

Workplace policies that support remote and hybrid working options, where long, daily commutes are replaced with healthier, more productive morning routines, can also help reduce burnout while have substantial impact on both overall employee performance and productivity.

Post-pandemic, more and more companies are discovering that workplace flexibility can boost employee satisfaction, reduce turnover and be a major selling point for recruitment. According to Brian Elliott, Executive Leader of Future Forum, “Companies looking to build productive, successful teams need to think about how they provide flexibility not only in where but also when people work.”

However, these arrangements also pose unique challenges.

Successfully implementing these flexible workplace strategies requires clear and consistent communication, where expectations regarding work schedules and accountability are clearly defined and routine touchpoints with remote workers are maintained to keep them engaged and supported.

It also requires a number of other factors including:
• Accurate ways to measure productivity
• Equitable policies that benefit all employees rather than just one group
• Effective project management tools and online solutions, and
• Social connectivity among remote and in-office teams to promote collaboration

As mental health takes center stage in our national dialogue and employees are increasingly sounding the alarm, employers are recognizing the need for more mental health support and investing in greater well-being benefits such as digital wellness tools, flexible schedules, and resources that focus on mindfulness to promote healthy work/life balance.

Moving forward, companies should no longer view wellness as an employee perk, but a fundamental strategy for any successful business.