Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) made headlines when it officially classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon. This came as part of a recent drive to improve mental health in the workplace. Though specifying that burnout alone wasn’t a health condition, the entry makes clear that burnout is a significant factor that influences health status.
According to the WHO report, ”burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” And while many organizations are still slow to recognize the dangers of employee burnout, the phenomenon is more widely understood now than ever before. It’s vital that the best workplace managers and HR workers take the time to understand how to prevent burnout in the workplace.
As with many workplace problems, Nintex believes technology can provide vital tools to help prevent burnout. While no application or solution can replace good management or an effective work-life balance, technology that streamlines processes and minimizes unnecessary work can certainly help. In this blog, we discuss how to prevent burnout in the workplace with the help of process automation.
What is employee burnout?
It’s easy to assume that employee burnout is simply what happens when workers have too much on their plates. But the definition is more complicated; the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) defines the phenomenon in far broader terms, defined by three main symptoms:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from, or cynicism/negativity towards one’s job,
- Reduced professional efficacy
Of course, burnout can occur as a result of having too much work. But there are numerous other reasons why it might take place. These could include:
- Spending too much time on mundane work
- An unsupportive or inefficient HR department
- Inefficiency in the workplace, such as from poor quality tools or processes
Anything that leads to employees becoming demotivated, tired, or frustrated can be considered a factor that leads to burnout. Managers seeking to protect employees should identify where problems might arise, and take the steps required to prevent them. This is where process automation technology can help.
Improving HR processes
HR is crucial to any good company. If you want motivated employees, ensuring responsive and efficient HR processes is an important way of achieving this. This includes:
- Hiring, recruitment, and onboarding
- Performance reviews
- Expense payments
- Compensation and benefits payments
Admittedly, it’s unlikely that an employee will suddenly become demotivated or burned out if their review is a few days late or their expense payments delayed. But if a culture develops that doesn’t value or prioritize employee support, they almost certainly will.
When HR processes run smoothly, a clear message is sent that the organization cares about employees’ well-being, personal development, and their role within the company. This is vital to increasing motivation and engagement — and thus reducing burnout. With workflow automation technology, organizations can build automated workflows which automatically assign and delegate tasks for common HR workplace processes such as those listed above. This allows these processes to automatically progress to the next stage, and tasks such as ”review CVs,” “send contract” or “approve leave” to be assigned and completed at the click of a button. And with the addition of e-signature technology, contracts and sign-offs can be electronically completed at the touch of a button.
Reducing mundane work
Low-value work is part of workplace life for almost all knowledge workers. This is characterised by repetitive tasks that, though necessary, provide limited value to either the worker or the organization. Data entry is one of the most common instances of mundane work.
Reducing mundane work like data entry is vital for both the worker and the company. It allows the company to create efficiencies and focus employees on more challenging, higher-value work that makes better use of their skills. For the employee, this allows for greater satisfaction, creating a feeling that their work is important and valued.
With robotic process automation (RPA) and document generation technology, many data entry tasks can be automated. Bots can be trained to accurately and rapidly move data across organizational lines based on a range of highly customizable parameters. In practice, this means documents can be created, contracts can be filled, and CRM systems can be populated automatically, reducing the unnecessary strain of manual, mundane work.
This helps to eliminate burnout by reducing the quantity of work on employees’ schedules and improving the quality of what remains.
How to prevent burnout in the workplace
Technology alone can’t solve the problem of employee burnout. But together with a responsive HR department, and good management practices, it can make a real difference. Whether it’s workflow automation, e-Signatures, document generation, or robotic process automation, organizations should be regularly seeking ways to improve the value of the work their employees produce, and their efficiency when doing it.
With the Nintex Platform, technology like can be deployed without writing any software code. Nintex’s drag-and-drop functionality makes it easier than ever to configure workflows and automation that accelerate and improve common tasks throughout your organization.
Improving the value of work and decreasing mundane tasks within your business is a vital part of supporting workers and helping them lead satisfying work lives. If you want to find out more about how you can achieve this, get in touch with the team at Nintex today.