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Helpful tips to tackle burnout in the healthcare industry

Employee burnout in the healthcare industry is not a new phenomenon. There are many steps you can take as a leader to help - take a look at our helpful tips on how to tackle burnout in the healthcare industry!

Employee burnout is a type of stress that is related directly to a person’s job which can cause physical and emotional exhaustion. Burnout isn’t just detrimental to the overall health of an employee; it also has major negative impacts on the employer. Read on to find out some helpful things you can do to help avoid burnout and keep your teams healthy.

Burnout can affect employees from any industry for several reasons. However, we all know that the healthcare industry has been hit hard in recent times due to the global pandemic.

Even despite the global pandemic, health care workers are at greater risk of burnout than in other industries. Healthcare workers have had to face a large number of challenges in the workplace. For example, emotionally demanding issues, exposure to illness and death, time pressure, and work overload. Burnout occurs when an employee’s life becomes limited to work and the other aspects of their personal life suffer. Burnout can cause a series of negative implications for your employees and your organization. Absenteeism, staff shortages, high turnover, and low staff morale are examples of such. If your team is being affected then keep reading as we share some helpful tips to tackle burnout.

First, what causes employee burnout?

Let’s take a look at some of the things that can cause burnout. A key player of late is of course, the COVID-19 pandemic which has placed healthcare workers on the frontline. Healthcare works are stressed out and are being stretched too thin with 93% of healthcare workers experiencing stress, 86% reported experiencing anxiety and 76% reported exhaustion and burnout (Mental Health America). The pandemic will not be disappearing anytime soon. Managers need to be able to recognize the signs of employee burnout and have organizational strategies to deal with it.

The work environment

A stressful work environment and the healthcare industry often go hand in hand. Healthcare workers face emotionally demanding and sensitive issues that can be hard to leave at work. As a result, workers bring their stresses home and can end up neglecting their own personal needs which will, in turn, lead to burnout.

Time Pressure

Long shifts of over 12 hours are often the norm in the healthcare industry. However, they can be detrimental to the well-being of its workers. In a study done by HealthAffairs.org, nurses who worked shifts of ten hours or longer were up to two and half times more likely to experience burnout and job dissatisfaction, than workers who worked shorter shifts. They were also more likely to end their employment due to these factors.

Work-life balance

Work-life balance is something we hear a lot about and is a popular topic amongst employees and organizations. Employees are expecting more flexibility from their workplaces to allow them to have a positive work-life balance. The move to the working from home lifestyle has resulted in improved work-life balance for many employees; however, this may not be applicable to the healthcare industry. The majority of healthcare workers are required to work on-site so working from home isn’t an option. Why not offer them another solution? Flexible scheduling can be key for providing workers flexibility so they can self-schedule and bid for the shifts they want. This allows workers to build a work-life balance that works for them.

So, what can you do to avoid burnout?

Flexibility to prevent burnout

You can give your employees freedom with their schedules so they can maintain a positive work-life balance. Allow them to self-schedule, whatever scheduling software you are using you should ensure it has this capability for your team. With Celayix you can offer your employees shift-bidding as well self-scheduling so your teams decide which shifts to take. Allowing your employees flexibility with their work schedule can lead to reduced stress, burnout and improved morale. Check out our previous blog post here on how to incorporate flexibility into your scheduling.

Have support practises in place

Burnout in heathcare industry

Having organizational support practices to support struggling employees is a great way to ensure they feel valued and cared for. From time to time it is normal to experience stress in work, especially in the health care industry. It is when these stresses are constant that will lead to employee burnout. There needs to be a series of organizational steps to assist the employee if stress progresses to burnout. Wellness programs where workers can seek psychological help for emotional distress from a professional is a good way to do this.

Fair Scheduling

It is important to track employee shifts so no one is biting off more than they can chew. Long shifts will eventually take a toll on a person’s wellbeing. This can contribute to higher job turnover and affect care of patients. You should be respecting your worker’s right to time off, encouraging your team to take a vacation, and avoid unnecessary overtime. Try setting alerts if a worker is going into overtime so you can offer the shift to someone else. Employee scheduling software like Celayix has overtime trackers that let you know when an employee is going into overtime. It also offers a Find a Replacement option that allows you to offer the shift to someone else.

Burnout in the healthcare industry isn’t an issue that can be tackled easily. However, there are steps that you can take to support your employees. As workloads increase and shifts get longer, allowing your employees flexibility in their schedule will improve their work-life balance. This, in turn, will boost morale within the team and help you reduce high staff turnover and absenteeism. Learn how you can implement flexibility in your scheduling today by getting in touch with a Celayix solutions advisor here.

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