How to Avoid Employee Burnout and Increase Productivity: Top Tips


How to Avoid Employee Burnout and Increase Productivity: Top Tips

Posted on 21 January 2022

​Your employees are your most precious asset. By taking preventative measures to curtail burnout, you’ll safeguard their overall health and ensure that they’re engaged and productive in the long run.

A major cause of lost productivity in the office is due to employee “burnout”—a term recently added to the World Health Organisation’s international classification of diseases.

The WHO defines employee burnout as a syndrome developing from unmanaged chronic workplace stress, characterized by feelings of exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job and reduced professional performance.

If you’re concerned about the productivity of your staff or simply looking to improve, here are eight methods you can incorporate to stop employee burnout while ensuring productivity remains at a maximum.

1. Invest in Your Office Space Where Possible.

Plants have been known to improve people’s moods and improve indoor air quality. One study made a direct link between plants and productivity, suggesting as much as a 15% productivity increase.

If you have resources, create flexible work space such as a sofa seating area (“breakout space“), or standing desks. Allowing employees to get away from their desk can break up monotony, and therefore get productivity flowing.

Moreover, simply providing quality tea, coffee and the odd sweet treat can go a long way to keeping employees happy and productive—at minimal expense to yourself.

2. Consider a Shorter Working Day or Early Finishes on a Friday

Enforcing a working week longer than the national average may sound like it will increase productivity (more hours, more work, right?).

But in reality, overworking employees could have the opposite effect.

Essentially, overwork leads to employee burnout.

Signs of burnout include employees getting poor sleep, being snappy and irritable and having poor concentration, which results in reduced productivity in the office, as well as resulting in more sick days being taken.

Furthermore, work produced may be of a lower quality or be riddled with errors, which will both negatively impact your brand and relationship with clients.

Sticking to a shorter working week and/or letting your employees leave early on a Friday is a simple way to combat employee burnout.

3. Offer Employee Perks

An increasingly popular perk is offering flexible working to employees.

Employees value having the chance to grab an extra half hour in bed on certain days, or leave work earlier to catch a cheap off-peak train on other days.

Allowing staff little bits of freedom like this goes a long way to improving SME productivity, as it promotes a better work-life balance and therefore can decrease the risk of employee burnout.

Ultimately, some employees simply work better relaxing on their sofa in their dressing gown so letting them work from home is a great perk to offer.

This could improve job satisfaction, productivity, and could be a deal breaker when employees are deciding whether to stay with your company or move on.

4. Outsource Properly

Outsourcing is not always the right option for a business; the struggle of finding, commissioning and paying freelancers or other companies could eat into your profit margins, and it’s sometimes easier to have things done in-house.

Yet there are certain tasks that you should consider outsourcing to make sure you’re not wasting employee time.

5. Pay Your Employees What They’re Worth

You might believe you’re saving money by paying an employee less than their rightful salary, but this can backfire.

Money can be a powerful demotivator, especially when employees compare themselves to people doing the same role yet earning more at other companies.

Moreover, financial worries can result in employee burnout, as well as an employee losing sleep and turning up to work tired, demotivated, stressed and more prone to making mistakes.

A lack of enough spending money means employees are limited to what they can do with their leisure time, again affecting that all-important work-life balance.

Paying your employees that extra money could save you thousands down the line.

6. Do Team Building Exercises

Workplace rifts waste time and result in a lack of communication, while gossip and simmering resentments can create a toxic work environment.

Toxic work environments lead to increased sick days, lack of motivation, lack of communication and high staff turnover, all of which largely impacts office productivity.

Paying for a staff lunch or putting down money for staff drinks or fun outings like mini-golf can boost team morale, cohesion, and therefore productivity.

7. Offer Positive Feedback and Reinforcement

If workers are constantly told off for making mistakes, but never recognised when they do a good job, this could make them demotivated and less likely to put in the effort to go above and beyond.

Simple behavioural psychology states that if someone does something good and you reinforce this verbally, they’re likely to repeat the action.

This is the easiest and cheapest way to boost productivity—train managers to acknowledge employees’ good work.

8. Incorporate Productivity Tools

Time is wasted when there’s not easy systems for logging and tracking the process of tasks.

Constantly look at streamlining organisational processes in your business and what technology is available to help you—anything that saves employees time and makes tasks easier to track will increase productivity.


Improving employee productivity is about looking out for employees’ well-being by ensuring they’re as happy as possible with their work patterns, environment, and work-life balance, which will in turn make them more productive.

It’s also about helping to avoid employee burnout, giving them the tools to use their time as effectively as possible, and therefore cutting out wasted time and demotivation.

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