April 19, 2021

The Big Burnout Problem

The Big Burnout Problem

With 9 out of 10 workers reporting feelings of burnout, what should businesses be doing differently?


There's no silver bullet solution to workplace burnout, but some strategies are more effective than others. Office hours, yoga zooms, and meditation apps all have a role to play in addressing the Big Burnout Problem, but foundational elements like fair pay and a healthy workplace culture must come first.

In this episode, we discuss the causes and effects of burnout and how different organizations are approaching this massive global problem.

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Transcript

Unknown Speaker  0:00  
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines, the problems they face and how they solve them. The years they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took, they will help you to get to grips with the digital workspace inner workings.

Heather Bicknell  0:32  
How's the new location?

Unknown Speaker  0:37  
progress by, I'm still waiting for my father to install. So I'm suffering through a 4g connection that decides every so often to turn itself off. will lose connection. So if I lose you, that's why it's good to be in our own place again. You know, we've kitted up food basically, because we weren't going to be a full but kids space, which is helpful, and we're feeling normal at this stage, which is good.

Heather Bicknell  1:13  
That's all all we can kind of ask for right now. A little bit of normalcy. Yeah. Good. It's actually unseasonally warm here right now. I was thinking I should look up. The Celsius conversion. I think it sells you in the weather app. Maybe it doesn't. I suppose the high of 81 today, which I do a quick.

Unknown Speaker  1:41  
That's about 20. Something.

Heather Bicknell  1:45  
It's very warm.

Unknown Speaker  1:48  
Yeah, I wish the world would get up to one one scale for things.

Heather Bicknell  1:53  
Well, it's usually our fault.

Unknown Speaker  1:54  
Yeah. Yeah. Usually, usually. I mean, I always I always laugh when I go to Canada, because I always think it cannot be like the British America. Because it's the metric system with Americans. Well, very good sounding.

Heather Bicknell  2:08  
Some of our there, they kind of are in between that I think they use some environment. And yeah, the measurements, but

Unknown Speaker  2:14  
yeah, they still did turn drive. Yeah, the left hand drive, they use the metric system. thing was they speak English in French. And then the UK is right hand drive with the payroll system for driving. And English and French is your second language. So that's pretty sweet. UK, I believe was when Thatcher was Prime Minister, she started the program to switch completely to, to metric. Can't remember why but that's the best.

Heather Bicknell  2:53  
Yeah, I'm often jealous. I mean, even just going through school, and like, you know, the metric system. The order of 10s. Things Make sense? So I'm learning both and yeah, it's very confusing for me. I know.

Unknown Speaker  3:10  
Yeah. Just listen to that podcast episode. You said reserve or listen to the depression.

Heather Bicknell  3:18  
Yeah, Depeche Mode. Yeah, it's a new, a new podcast. I'd seen that episode recommended. So I listened to it. It's on burnout. And I thought it was pretty interesting and made some some good points. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  3:38  
The burnout be 90%, I thought was quite quite a thing. Because, you know, if you look at two things. One was one was the high rate of burnout. But also the sort of response from businesses typically to give you an app. And so you know, sort of yourself going to use the clicker combat or something like that, and not actually change the parameters of what's causing the burnout, because burnout is, you know, obviously could have many factors to it. And that's, that's typically picked up on personally.

Heather Bicknell  4:17  
Yeah, I thought that the researchers mentioned that, yeah, the 92% rate burnout is exceptionally high, especially considering that they surveyed pretty widely and globally so that's kind of alarming, but maybe not surprising from people's lived experiences. I think it's not just it's just every aspect of life, maybe not just work that's just, you know, become harder because of the pandemic. But on the on the sort of approach that businesses have to take to reduce and avoid employees burning out, I thought, just like you mentioned, you know, their points around how you really have to make sure your basic hygiene is in place when it comes to HR policies, fair pay and sort of the structural aspects. Before you tack on the things like the free yoga classes, or the ice cream machines or, and I think this was a problem before, you know, a lot of these, like a lot of the a lot of offices have introduced sort of more fun perks. I think in the last, you know, decade or two, that's really become a thing to have the office snacks and different classes and meditations and whatnot. But if you don't have if people fundamentally have conflict with how you're running your business, or how you're treating them, those things are pretty poor bandaid, I think.

Unknown Speaker  6:02  
Yeah, the phrase lipstick on a pig is what I think about, when I see this sort of try this apple, you haven't solved this problem that you so you just you just coloring over and hoping that you might retain the people that are unhappy. Actually, now that you mentioned the third thing, which was the cost of of keeping staff and retaining them, versus having to having to leave after a year, and having to re hire, and retrain and all that kind of stuff. And I think one of the other challenges because we're all remote and now is if someone joins new, the experience that I have with companies we've joined and you haven't actually met the people you're working with, until you do a trip to wherever they are. We don't wait for planners module. The first time maybe was two months after I've been working with a company. And the next time I've met them was three, four months later. You can't build a culture very easily that way. You constantly Personally, I've always felt that you be trying to overcompensate because you're so remote, that you work longer hours, you tend to say yes to everything to get involved. Meanwhile, you don't know what your workflow is going to be like an 11 been burning. Ironically.

Heather Bicknell  7:30  
Definitely, I thought what they were saying around you know, we've, and I'm guilty of this too, but treating the shift remote work because of the pandemic as, as if it was sort of normal remote work, or as if the two things were different as if you know, remote work under normal circumstances or remote work because you're you have to do it, and you can't leave your house and you know, all the other things that are like messing us up psychologically, right now just having to like live through a crisis, that those things are very much not the same. And that having, you know, other family members at home and kids at home and all the other things that are going on are not standard things that you have to deal with when you're remote working, you know, pre COVID and hopefully post COVID So

Unknown Speaker  8:22  
yeah, we sort of almost forgotten some of that stuff. Because we've been here for so long, we've been fairly normal, use a sled to deal with you know, having to hold the baby you are going to call my son's home today because he's sick so back in here riding his motorbike in the garden. First thing I think the biggest problem still is regardless of whether you're working from home, quote unquote in the pandemic or or not, is having boundaries between when you actually work in and it's something that is coming up more and more in our conversations and where I'm at now when you've got people in different time zones, how do you overlay them? And also do you do want to enforce a factory mindset of saying work nine till six in your timezone? And, you know, outside of those times that you can start to do or do you go to the mall, results orientated, whoever working which says, Look, this is why we have this the objectives for the quarter. These are the things that need to happen, you know, go do it. And you know, raise your hand if you're any trouble, we need help etc. But we're not going to manage you know, micromanaging your time. You know, it's up to you if you want to go and take the kids out for for your one hour exercise. And you know, we had some guys taking their laptops, with family to hospitals and stuff like that to go work there. So really conducive either be doing the work, you know, or you should be going to see the family hospital one time Did you guys think those are tricky things to address? Yeah, it's

Heather Bicknell  10:09  
just a big cultural mindset shift that a lot of companies have to make and, you know, addressed a lot of the situations, I think, with nuance and individually, and that also set like a corporate culture, but I think you're so right, you can't, you know, no one's going to be doing effective work there. And, you know, trying to take care of their life and work at the same time, sometimes it's just, you know, you need to put the work aside, but not all companies kind of have, offer that flexibility or make that feel welcome. And, or sometimes, you know, it might be okay, but it's just not communicated.

Unknown Speaker  10:57  
I think there's a level of trusting the person, but then the person also be accountable. So and I've seen this in various things. So, so one piece is you you agree what the results are going to be that you're looking for, when the person goes off and does it and they they're open the people that need to help them and, and work out. The other one is, is that they take it on, but then they are, they they have too much family stuff, or too much personal stuff. And they don't balance it out by catching up the work that they were doing, as opposed to doing so, you know, working week or 40 hours, they spending every day doing house stuff and lock up guilty, and we just moved into a house. But thankfully, we moved into a house over last weekend. So my last weekend was spent doing stuff and then running around and doing the rest of it. But if I got a document to get up before I go online tomorrow for a couple days, doesn't change my you paid more or less for them, I'm just managing my time because I'm gonna be at the office for four days. Plus a weekend. So these are these are the things that you as a professional ethic manager, because the technology exists that you can do. Anywhere you are, you know, now hopefully, get up with all the tools and things to do your job. You know, you've you've saved the commute every day, you don't have to commute. So you should have time to do the normal six, eight hour day, depending on how you look at those things.

Heather Bicknell  12:36  
Then does the UK have a minimum weeks of vacation kind of policy like Denmark and other countries.

Unknown Speaker  12:50  
It's a very complicated system. complicated. There's various types of employments and different various types of contracts. And they have these what they call a zero rated contract, which basically means you can pay cash, I don't have to explain it. But I guess it's on the lines of there's no commitment to pay you every day to work better, but you can get paid based on you being pulled into work. So if you think about like an MP or a Member of Parliament is or you think about a grocery store, or a supermarket, both of those are on demand. So an MP can be pulled in like a piece pulled it every day. pecker might be pulled in a couple days a week, not every day necessarily. When they come in, they get paid. Whatever that amount is. Yeah, no full time employment, which which I think that minimum where you can have part time employment, obviously that's going to be dependent on the need. But I think the minimum is also average is 35 hours a week for an average roll up to a maximum of 47 hours a week, 48 hours a week over a 17 week period. That's basically cost over time. And those sort of jobs to get paid overtime. And why it's it's complicated. You got to look at these, the UK, four countries, sick of Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, they all have their own nuances around that stuff as well. So you just have to be aware of we're working in any sort of changes in those rules. So Africa works on a slightly different structure. You obviously today rates and all that as well. But typically you're looking at 40 hours of being the expected working working week. And that's pretty much pretty much it at this certain amount of time allocated To, to sick leave. There's quite a lot of holidays here. So, you know, your actual leave allocation is quite small, I think it's 15 days and with UK is 25 days. So there's always different things. But most of them is nothing nowadays because everyone's been working from home for last year. So guys are literally going on holiday, because they've got to use the leave. So I'm going on holiday, but I was going to do a week of holiday week stay shows next week is worth an extra week then. Exactly, what's the difference? I'm still working. It's really interesting, because instead of all the schools go back here full time, some of the schools aren't getting back part time, so one or two days a week, and the rest of the week that we're working on, which I think is a really good way to approach it. I think that takes a lot of local teachers, which means they can focus more on the pupils. Teach the pupils have to self manage, which is one of the key things you need to learn in school. And I think the technology will get better and the solution will be better because of that approach. In fact, I spoke to one guy in Sun City, and he said my kids are digital kids. They they go to school more. And they can play sports in the afternoon. And that's a big difference. So as the recycled channels the best education you have anybody.

Unknown Speaker  16:40  
You good lots about yourself and what you don't know when you see other people and their cultures?

Heather Bicknell  16:47  
Definitely, yeah, bring up the sort of vacation time question because I've seen, there seems to be a trend of companies trying to throw vacation at the problem burnout. So I think it's linked, I think it was LinkedIn who announced this week that they would be giving all of their staff except for like a group of like essential employees just to keep things running the same week off, like the whole company would be taking the same week off, which is a very interesting, novel kind of concept. Because, you know, usually stagger those things to keep the business going, and I have disruptions. But they, you know, explicitly said, you know, we're trying to give people a break, so they're not burning out. And a lot of people I saw, you know, just comments on, on the posts, I thought, you know, this is nice, but this isn't really, you know, one week of vacation doesn't solve the problem of burnout.

Unknown Speaker  17:47  
Yeah, I didn't see that. But the problem was with with burnout and and that sort of stuff is usually the, it's more than one thing, and you can't give everyone the same solution. So I'm not going to say what the LinkedIn thing didn't work, or people were upset about it. It's the same as many years ago, we looked at getting people excited about paying more money. If our method work, because it works initially, but then you actually don't get any results. Often, there was a study that actually came up with that as well. You got to really understand the behaviors that drive people. And some people is giving, having taught to have a hobby, but not feeling like uncool all the time. And that's the problem is that this homework is that even even, you know, even though it's in a different room for me, I still walk past my study a couple of times in a night to go, well maybe I should just check my email, or maybe I should send something or maybe I should just work one more hour on that document that I'm working on. So you never really breaking whereas when you were creating, you can leave your laptop in the office, when you get home, you get home when you can do about it. It's good to get away from tomorrow. So I can see where there's a lot of simple solution.

Heather Bicknell  19:03  
Definitely. Well, yeah, I think we can tie it up there. Good discussion on burnout and definitely an area I think we'll keep seeing companies take different approaches to try to solve this. This, you know, 90% problem.

Unknown Speaker  19:21  
Yeah, no, definitely just me. Thanks. Okay,

Heather Bicknell  19:26  
nice time, your own time.

Unknown Speaker  19:33  
Thank you for listening today's episode. Hey, the big nose our producer editor. Thank you, Heather. for your hard work for this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW w podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website WWW dot digital workspace works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this Episode useful please share with your friends or colleagues

Transcribed by https://otter.ai