How to prevent job burnout in remote employees



Updated 6/18/2020 4:09 PM

Thanks to COVID-19, many small businesses have now enabled their employees to work remotely. For many managers, it's been a steep learning curve in learning new technologies, but also in helping their teams stay productive outside of the office setting. Managers who could once easily interact with their team members with a quick standup meeting or an impromptu check-in over coffee in the office kitchen may now struggle about the best way to best keep employees connected and motivated through this time.

As a business consultant, I tell my clients the key is to set up processes that will keep employees operating from a place of faith, rather than fear, even though they're working in a new environment.


How do we do this?

1. Create daily KPIs with weekly themes:

Hopefully, your business already has a system called KPIs, or key performance indicators, in place for your employees. These are the expectations, like a scorecard, for what an employee should achieve in a specific amount of time. Most businesses set monthly or quarterly KPIs for their team.

Now is the time to create daily KPIs, or replace your monthly or quarterly ones. Every morning, have a daily KPI call to help your team stay laser-focused on their goals for the day. Every week, create a business "theme," such as "customer outreach" or "new lead prospecting." The KPIs can then be structured around these themes. For example, during the "customer outreach" week, KPIs can be set for how many texts, phone calls, etc. were made to current customers. Without KPIs, employees can quickly fall into the mindset of the entrepreneur, without a set schedule or design for the day. This can create productivity failure, but also failure to create the best opportunity for success. KPIs keep teams focused and productive.

2. Recommend a specific audio file every week:

Every week, suggest that your team listen to the same inspirational audiobook or podcast to aid in their personal development. For example, Think and Grow Rich or Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill, or Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim..

The selection should be relevant for each team member and will give him or her all something new in common.

3. Keep peer-to-peer communication open:

Encourage team members to reach out to each other on a daily basis and provide the tools to make that happen. A call from a manager, meant to motivate, has a different vibe than a call from a peer.

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A "motivational" call from a superior is different from an "inspirational" call from a peer. The peer's call can pull employees to success, make them see the bigger overall picture of the company's mission, and keep them focused in purpose and path.

4. Take a break every few hours:

I encourage employees to shut down for regular breaks and even take a walk outside. Getting away from the computer screen allows a new sense of light and energy into our minds, which can become a game changer for idea generation and work productivity.

5. 10 before 10:

I believe in building success timelines. Every night before leaders retire, they should make a list of 10 things they should achieve before 10 a.m. the next day. These would include things to delegate, information to be shared, etc. as well as specific tasks to accomplish.

With the "10 before 10" in place, the leader can hit the ground running the next morning, While the KPIs are score cards for success each day, "10 before 10" is a tool to build good habits, and good habits equal good results!

The most important thing to remember about this time is to help your team build good habits that will function just as well for them when they return to your office. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

•Bill Walsh is a venture capitalist and the CEO/Founder of the success/education/business coaching firm, Powerteam International, and the author of The Obvious. For a free copy of the book, text OBVIOUS to 26786.

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