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How your workplace can banish burnout and keep employees happy

Learn three ways you can reduce employee burnout by harnessing the power of the physical workplace.

Amy Kirkham
By Amy Kirkham Content Marketing Manager

Employee burnout affects roughly three quarters of employees at some point in their careers. A number of factors can cause burnout: high workloads, demanding hours, and an unsupportive work environment to name a few. Over time, employee burnout can also generate a hefty price tag for businesses. A Stanford study suggests that burnout can cost organizations up to $190 billion annually. 

So what can you do to prevent employee burnout before it’s too late? In this post, we’ll look at how the physical workplace can help you banish burnout, foster a collaborative community, and ultimately create a happier workforce.

What is employee burnout?


Employee burnout is a type of stress caused by someone’s role and responsibilities at work. It includes physical and emotional exhaustion. This can lead to feeling negative towards your job and a lack of accomplishment and identity in your role. 

Burnout takes a toll on mental health and was the leading reason why people quit their job in the Great Resignation last year. Eventually, employee burnout drives your talent away. It could also deter future talent from joining due to reputation and online reviews such as Glassdoor.

3 ways your workplace can banish burnout

Retaining your best employees and keeping them feeling fresh and energized for work is important for business performance, employee happiness, and company culture. But how do you do it? You can avoid employee burnout by using your physical workplace to:

1 – Improve the onboarding process

To create a powerful hiring journey, you must engage your new hires, set clear expectations, and welcome them into your organization. One of the first steps in this process is onboarding. 

Only 12% believe their onboarding experience has been effective in their current company. As workplace leaders, it’s important you use every tool at your disposal to wow your new hires during their onboarding process and beyond. An effective onboarding process not only helps you get ahead of burnout, it also:

  • Provides an opportunity to meet and bond with new teammates in person. New hires want to make friends and meet their teammates in person. While onboarding should be a professional and structured process, it’s important to build in time for folks to get to know each other.
  • Drives belonging and commitment. According to a Glassdoor survey, employees who rated their onboarding process as effective were 18 times more likely to feel committed to their organization. Being together in-person drives connection, fosters inclusivity, and helps to build loyalty to their new company.
  • Allows for impromptu questions. As you train up your new hires, they’ll undoubtedly have questions. Slack and Zoom can offer effective ways of firing questions over in a remote setting. However, in-person communication (especially for quieter or more introverted folks) is most effective.

2 – Close your skills gap

As HR managers, you know that the more skilled a person is for their role, the more capable they are to handle stress and avoid burnout. But it’s a challenging market: according to a study from Gartner, 58% of the workforce needs new skills to get their job done. 

Leaders especially must be supported to upskill and reskill. Good leadership is a crucial way to retain your talent, and with 82% of people leaving their job due to a bad manager, it’s a worthy investment. Providing in-person training is a great way to use your workplace to engage with your leaders. Leaders who are on-site together are able to create a community of development, share tips and best practices with other leaders, and build confidence. They are then in a better position to develop and upskill their teams and notice signs of burnout before it’s too late.

But it’s not just leaders who need opportunities to learn. Skills training is one of the top perks younger workers look for in a new job. In fact, according to a 2021 Gallup survey, 66% of workers ranked learning new skills as the third-most important perk when evaluating new job opportunities. Provide in-person learning and development (L&D) opportunities to help younger talent understand your organization better, gain new skills, and encourage them to be more involved with their coworkers.

3 – Encourage connection and engagement

Companies worldwide are taking different approaches to get their folks back on-site. While some companies are going overboard—think Lizzo concerts, beer and wine tastings, and group fitness classes—others are trying more accessible methods. 

In-person social events can have a huge impact on promoting connection and balance in the workplace. As HR managers, promoting time for team lunches, happy hours, and movie nights will not only entice people to the office, but also reinforce the need for your employees to take a break. 

You can also design your workplace to help draw the line between work and play. Furniture and amenities, like standing desks, quiet pods, and collaboration areas will help folks get in the zone for their work. Increased productivity and engagement results in less burnout. Thinking about how your workspace can dilute stress is helpful–think soft music, social space, and having games in the office.

A happy workplace that promotes balance, connection, and opportunity will be somewhere that your employees won’t want to leave. And the more you can create a physical environment where people can excel without feeling burned out or overwhelmed, the longer your talent will choose to stay, grow, and contribute to your organization. 

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Amy Kirkham
Author Bio Amy Kirkham

Amy is a content guru at Envoy, where she helps workplace leaders build a workplace their people love. Outside of work, you can usually find Amy drinking coffee, exploring new places, or planning her next trip.