People Are Sharing Their Thoughts on Report About How Companies Are Tackling Worker Burnout Amid Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of going anywhere anytime soon, companies are starting to look into new ways to keep productivity up.

empty office

Image via Getty/Boston Globe

empty office

As the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of going anywhere soon, companies are starting to look into new ways to keep productivity up. In a report from the Wall Street Journal, numerous companies broke down how they're currently tackling the issue of worker burnout. Among the biggest concerns is the mental health of employees, and some companies have are interested in addressing that.

Per the report, Accenture PLC's CEO Jimmy Etheredge recently asked a couple dozen of his colleagues to attend two-and-half-hour virtual training sessions designed to help workers facing mental health issues. Etheredge added he has gotten numerous emails from employees regarding the problems they face in the COVID-19 era, and that when management staff would initially engage they'd attempt to fix the issues rather than make sure workers feel heard.

Eventbrite, meanwhile, recently re-trained leadership to go from asking how employees are doing to asking, "How are you really, really doing?" Seattle construction and engineering company McKinstry Co. LLC is instead utilizing a technique called "Good News Friday," in which the companies names eight things that happened in the past week that were positive. 

Since many are still working from home and have been since about March, a lot of bosses are looking into offering "self-care days." Public relations firm Geben Communication recently began to offer employees these bonus days off, encouraging them to get away from the computer or internet. Ryan Wuerch, CEO of cashback app Dosh, has given his employees impromptu three-day weekends now and then over the past few months. Some have also pivoted to occasional 30-hour workweeks, reducing the workload intermittently to give employees time to recharge.

The report indicated that encouraging employees to take time off, expanding counseling and mental health services, and managers checking in on their employees can do a lot to combat burnout. Offering training for managers to better deal with expressing empathy is highly recommended, as it unsurprisingly turns out people feel more comfortable when they feel they are being listened to.

While this is a start, many on Twitter reacted to the story after it went viral. Users expressed their enthusiasm for mental health support and encouraging workers to slow down every now and then, but others raised concerns. A lot, however, just expressed their frustration that they had not received similiar treatment at their own workplaces.

This is HR innovation...

"Bosses now are taught to begin 1-1 sessions with a simple phrase meant to elicit genuine emotions instead of a stock 'How are you?' before quickly moving on to business, managers might ask, 'How are you really, really doing?'"

— fed_speak (@fed_speak) November 9, 2020

“Surprise days off” feels exciting but my Inner Black Woman would also be like, “Wait — are you firing me?”

— Errin Haines 😷🧼🧴💉 (@errinhaines) November 11, 2020

Hi. Im also feeling burnout from a near-constant job search and the regular hustle of trying to freelance during the pandemic. Also depressed, fed up and wary of what’s next, esp considering the govt has refused to help unemployed with a new relief bill

— Adam Groffman (@travelsofadam) November 11, 2020

i really cannot stress how much this would be appreciated. i pretty much zombie my way through work im so burnt

— DerpyCatfish (@derpycatfish28) November 11, 2020

*Shuffles into work*

Manager: Surprise! You're actually off today!

"I have to drive an hour to get here... Why wouldn't you tell me this yesterday?"

— Padoru Poof (@PunishedPoof) November 11, 2020

How to curb burnout:

Encourage employees to take time off.

Ask managers to check in on individuals’ well-being.

Offer training for managers on supervising with empathy.

Foster dialogues where workers share genuine emotions.

— Marie Swift (@marieswift) November 8, 2020

"Pace" at which people are working is unsustainable. Asking how they are doing helps, but need to address: fear of losing jobs, lack of clarity re. priorities making hard to plan, lack of #worklifefit boundary management skills. #workflexibility

— Cali Williams Yost (@caliyost) November 9, 2020

We were burned out even before the pandemic arrived.

The pandemic has exacerbated existing issues, and created new ones.#burnout #wellness #mentalhealth #wfh

— Jen Wozny (@PutTheLightHere) November 9, 2020

Its nice to see that companies are considering creative solutions to to worker burnout. It just shows that companies care about their employees during these stressful times. #MAVORG

— Jake Pachunka (@JPachunka) November 8, 2020

I'd prefer respect, recognition and better pay tbh.

— BrainError°•💙💛•°🖐🏼😷°. (@Brain_error) November 11, 2020

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