Burnout: How Top Employers Help Employees Deal with Overwork

burnoutAt a time when many of us feel overworked and ready to break, there are a growing number of employers that are dealing with burnout among their employees.

Here’s an overview of what some of Families and Work Institute’s Award for Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility winners are doing:

Apply today for the Award for Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility. It’s the easiest thing your business can do this month to attract top local talent. Go to WhenWorkWorks.org for more information.

1. Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education, Phoenix, AZ

Given that benefits like these only work to help the workplace run smoother when they’re used, leaders at the organization work to minimize feelings of overwork by encouraging employees to use Paid Time Off (PTO) to avoid burnout.

2. Catholic Charities, Winona, MN

Employees are encouraged to use their vacation time to avoid burnout, and a wellness challenge encourages more employees to exercise.

3. DesignHammer, Durham, NC

At software development company DesignHammer, younger employees are provided mentoring in order to encourage professional development, and management emphasizes the importance of not overworking employees. When extra hours are needed to complete certain projects, the company brings in contractors or increases hours for part-time workers before boosting overtime for full-time employees.

4. First Alliance Credit Union, Rochester, MN

To combat overwork at the management level, the CEO directed managers to say “no” when their workloads were too full to take on extra tasks. Hearing it directly from the CEO has made everyone less stressed.

5. IMAGE ONE, Oak Park, MI

Leaders at print company Image One are focused on helping employees better communicate about their personal and professional lives, providing work arrangements that work based on employee needs and monitoring the work environment so that it remains effective. There are systems in place to ensure that employees and managers are talking about workflow and how individuals are handling work volume and stress. When problems arise, adjustments are made to help diminish feelings of overwork. Employees also have access to workshops to help with burnout and also to teach things such as medication and healthy eating. One unique program is “We Care Fridays.” Each Friday, one unsuspecting team member receives the day off paid.

6. Klotz Associates, Houston, TX

In order to deal with issues related to overwork, managers at this engineering consulting firm are required to limit overtime to two weeks with a minimum of one week of regular time before employees are allowed to have additional overtime. Management encourages employees to discuss overwork issues with supervisors, and those supervisors are then required to provide alternative means to meet work goals.

7. METRO Architecture, Phoenix, AZ

Feelings of overwork are occasionally reported, but management works with teams to ensure that all people take turns leading on projects to evenly and fairly distribute work.

8. PlastiCert, Inc., Lewiston, MN

PlastiCert, a manufacturing company, management strives to keep feelings of overwork down by communicating goals with employees in terms of expectations rather than time standards.

9. Public Policy Associates, Inc., Lansing, MI  

To avoid overwork, leaders review staff members’ hours each month to address uneven workload spread at this consulting firm.

10. Sability, Atlanta, GA

Managers at this workforce management company closely monitor overwork, which is a problem for the firm. To deal with the issues, leaders always try to balance workloads and shift work off of overloaded employees. Sometimes extra hours are required due to client needs, but employees who have worked extra hours are encouraged to take some shortened days to relax.

11. Aptify, Tysons Corner, VA

Unlimited Paid Time Off (PTO) at this management software company helps reduce feelings of overwork or burnout; and although turnover has increased, management is looking at ways to enhance benefits and existing flexibility to increase retention.

12. Ontraport, Santa Barbara, CA

A more efficient work environment is the goal of management at Ontraport, a software and business services firm, and that goal has been met through workplace flexibility and steps to make work more engaging. Over 90% of new employees are referrals. Company leaders believe strongly in working efficiently—not longer. All employees receive Friday afternoons off—as this time is usually less productive—and everyone goes email and chat “silent” for three hours each day to provide uninterrupted work time for “passion projects.” All employees take an internal training course on working efficiently.

13. Frost, Ruttenberg & Rothblatt, P.C., Deerfield, IL

During the busy season at this accounting firm, managers hire a number of interns from local colleges and universities on a full-time or part-time basis for the firm’s tax and healthcare consulting practices. Each team of administrative assistants is responsible for coordinating coverage for the individuals they support. This approach gives the team responsibility for planning time off, notifying those they support and making certain that all workloads are covered.

14. NPC Research, Portland, OR

At NPC Research, a human services research firm, all staff members are given the opportunity to work a flexible schedule, but managers realize it’s sometimes minor time tweaks that can really help employee balance work and their personal lives. One example is allowing an employee the option of working from home an hour earlier and an hour after the workday so the worker could be home for their child. Multiple staff receives training in specific areas so that if one staff person is unavailable, another staff person can more easily fill in. Staff is also allowed to increase/decrease their full-time schedule in order to either accommodate the intensity of their work schedule or deal with anticipated time off.

15. Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, IL

Leaders at Recruit Training Command, a Naval boot camp, believe teamwork is the most important characteristic to developing an effective and flexible work environment. When the employees work well as a team, the workload is more easily shared.

16. American Society of Addiction Medicine, Chevy Chase, MD

To combat feelings of overwork, leaders at ASAM have awarded administrative days off directly after completing major projects, increased the use of interns and temporary help to handle less strategic work and shifted workloads and priorities to provide additional staff to specific projects when needed.

17. Ryan, LLC (multiple locations)

An improved training program at this tax services firm resulted from a research study on manager concerns about flexibility, and leaders created the Culture Council to review feedback and make recommendations on flexibility program changes. As a result of this feedback, company leadership recently began requiring exempt employees to take at least 10 days off each year.

18. Wist Office Products, Tempe, AZ

Throughout all ranks of our company, it is known that once work is done, work is done. Being overworked in the office supply industry is just simply not worth it, and Wist Office Products employees understand that the company’s ownership and management fully believe that. If it’s not done by the end of the day, it’ll be there waiting for you in the morning. Family is important. Community is important. Pencils are not.

19. KPMG, Cleveland, OH

The firm’s PML (People Management Leaders) Alert system will immediately notify an individual’s PML (manager/supervisor) when they are putting in too many hours or not using enough of their personal time. KPMG leadership believes this system is unique to their firm and is invaluable in helping their employees maintain a sensible work-life balance with the complete support and assistance of their PML.

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