10 Signs to Identify Exhausted Employees and Reduce Employee Churns

From the significant shift from on-site work transitioning to fully remote workforces to hybrid workers, the changes in the workforce model can take their toll on an organization’s employees. 

Recent research conducted by Microsoft on 20,000 individuals across 11 countries discovered that 53% of managers and 50% of workers reported that they are experiencing burnout at work. Even with an estimated 90% of workers reporting high productivity at work, the tech company found that working hours are rising. Moreover, the number of meetings conducted on a weekly basis increased as well. 

It seems that fully remote or hybrid workforce models have been yielding productive but emotionally exhausted employees. 

Let’s take one account from an employee in the UK as an example. In an article from Hello Hybrid, she explained that the introduction of a permanent hybrid set-up initially came as a relief back in September 2021. Her relief stemmed from the thought that after all the years she had been working for the company onsite.

However, as months went by, she started to consider the hybrid work setup such a hassle. She now feels the need to maintain two workplaces. Though it seems not too complex to keep up with two workplaces, she expounds that there is much planning involved when one goes from one set-up to the other.

Apart from this anecdotal evidence, firms have been observing this trend. McKinsey even goes as far as to term it the Great Exhaustion.

Bryan Robinson, the ComfortZones Digital, Inc. founder, also recognizes the evidence of an extremely exhausted workforce in a hybrid world. He believes that the prevalence of hybrid work has caused job stress that has ultimately led employees to have unmanageable lifestyles, family disintegrations, and even serious health issues. 

Robinson enumerated the signs to help people organizers such as HR staff and global mobility professionals identify exhausted employees and reduce the likeliness of employee churns. Here are the 10 signs:

  1. Rushing. With remote work an option, many have reduced or eliminated travel time and for some, even dressing up for work. This has given remote workers more time to do more tasks at work. But this extra time also leaves employees more susceptible to having tasks unfinished which will result in work-related anxiety. Robinson suggests engaging in two to three activities at a time in an attempt to curb this anxiety. Moreover, he recommends making sure that meetings cover most of their intended goal to avoid back-to-back meetings without leaving ample time for people to fulfill their tasks.
  1. Controlling. More common with managers, difficulty in delegating authority can be a sign an employee is likely burned out. For whatever reason, an employee doesn’t want to lose control over a project or task, it can lead to mental and physical exhaustion as they carry the burden of juggling multiple tasks without any help from their colleagues.
  1. Strained relationships. When employees begin to forget important events of family members, one can hypothesize that they are experiencing job stress. It would help organizations to tap global mobility professionals and HR employees by intentionally asking employees about their personal and work relationships. If they observe any symptoms of strained relationships at work or home, it would be best to converse with these workers and find ways to alleviate their emotional burdens.
  1. Perfectionism. Employees who set unrealistic standards for themselves and their coworkers are extremely difficult to work with. It will not only lead to failure but also take an emotional toll on coworkers and team members. It’s important to maintain high team morale to produce better results for the organizations.
  1. Overworked. If employees aren’t mindful of how they manage their time, they can overload their calendars with a lot of tasks nearing their deadlines. This often leads to workers rendering more hours at work. Data proves that longer working hours have an adverse effect on employees’ occupational health. 
  1. Restlessness. Employees who are starting to lose their ability to enjoy the short pauses at work might be experiencing restlessness. This quality will negatively impact work and personal relationships. It’s important to be on the lookout for restless employees so that people organizers can intervene and improve their working situations.
  1. Brownouts. Robinson defines brownouts similarly to alcoholic blackouts. He explains that employees who experience brownouts are in work trances where memory lapses occur when their minds are too focused on work even outside working hours. These individuals tend to tune out the here and now and forget previous conversations from meetings since their minds run around work-related problems.
  1. Impatience. When employees become impulsive decision-makers because they are unwilling to process work-related decisions properly, it might be a sign of impatience. Other signs can include pounding on the workspace when things don’t go their way or even demonstrating uneasiness while waiting for a meeting. 
  1. Self-inadequacy. Employees who constantly pressure themselves and define their worth through performance and achievement will tire themselves out. The urge to impress through productivity at the expense of mental state won’t sustain. It is important to foster an environment where people can learn from their mistakes.
  1.  Self-neglect. Self-care has been a newfound priority for many since the pandemic. When employees begin to abandon their efforts to live healthy lifestyles, they are more susceptible to experiencing health issues – both mental and physical. Global mobility staff and HR personnel need to be on the lookout for these signs.