Louise Newman: How to prevent employee burnout

Employee burnout is something that many organisations have to handle. With advancements in technology, it is all too easy or tempting to access work any time, any place and anywhere.

Far from this being something to encourage, it is the responsibility of employers to not overlook the importance of quality downtime for employees. In 2018, a survey by the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that 595,000 employees suffered from workplace stress, with workload cited as the main cause (44%), followed by lack of support from employers (14%).

At The PHA Group, we have always made it our mission to support staff to ensure burnout never becomes part of our vocabulary.

We have a team of wellbeing instigators from across the agency who meet once a month to discuss ideas. From these meetings, we have introduced an array of initiatives, ranging from massages and chair yoga to holding regular ‘mindfull suppers’, where the aim is to enjoy food with friends and colleagues, as well as promote an open, safe space to talk about mental health. We also receive recommendations about how we can improve our office space and environment.

In a staff survey, conducted in June 2018, the average score out of 10 for how happy employees are at work was eight, and 93% said they would refer someone to work at The PHA Group.

PR has a pretty bad reputation for working all hours, but we actively encourage our staff to be out of the office by 5.45pm at the latest each day, and we finish at 4pm on a Friday. We have also introduced a home-working initiative, allowing employees to cut down on commuting and the stresses that often brings. The aforementioned staff survey gave us an average score of eight out of 10 for work-life balance.

Our business is 14 years old and has grown year-on-year; we recognise the increase in work that this has created, so we hire new talent when we need it and are agile with our resources to relieve any pressure that may build. By doing this, we ensure that no one individual is over-stretched.

The culture at The PHA Group is warm, open and collaborative and we work hard to ensure we do not become complacent about wellbeing and how important it is. Keeping track of this and constantly striving to improve employees’ lives has helped us to prevent burnout among employees and improve their productivity.

Louise Newman is director of HR at public relations organisation The PHA Group

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