By Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer of Employment Hero
What are the signs of HR burnout?
Burnout can look different for everyone. For many, it will present in ways that make you feel exhausted and overworked. This could be increased irritability, anxiety, mood swings, a decrease in the quality of work produced, retracting from social events and encounters, fatigue, sensitivity and overall disengagement in work.
As we continue to see out the end of Covid-19, it’s time to put your own oxygen mask on first. Here are six ways to handle HR burnout as an HR professional in 2022.
Have meaningful one on ones (1:1s)
One on ones are a scheduled weekly or fortnightly catch up that an employee has with their direct manager. This is time dedicated for the employee to talk through how their past week or fortnight has gone, as well as commit to things for the future.
While they’re a great tool at allowing communication to flow more easily, they’re an even better tool for sharing how you’re really feeling. It’s likely that your one on one is with an HR leader. This creates an open and safe environment to discuss any challenges and communicate how you’re really feeling. It gives both you and your direct line the ability to identify any signs of HR burnout as it’s likely everyone in your team is feeling the same way.
Be aware of your own mental health
Mental health in the workplace has never been more important – and for a good reason. The pandemic and ongoing lockdowns were a stressful time for everyone, and now it’s time to focus on yourself.
As we outlined above, make sure to be aware of the signs of burnout to look out for. This should make it easier to identify the onset, and if you do, know that it is completely normal to ask for help. If you feel any of these feelings for a period of one week or more, a good starting point is making an appointment with your GP, reaching out to your EAP, or talking to a trusted friend or family member.
Reach out to your employee assistance program (EAP) and encourage your fellow HR professionals to use it
Prior to 2020, research showed that approximately one in five workers suffered from a mental health condition at any one time. Throw in a pandemic, increased feelings of financial insecurity, social isolation, and uncertainty around the future, it’s expected that this statistic has risen exponentially.
An EAP will allow you to talk to an external qualified professional, with the aim of supporting your mental health and wellbeing. Calls and messages are confidential and can help you navigate feelings of burnout and stress management in 2022 and beyond.
Looking for an EAP provider? Get in touch to learn more about how Employment Hero can support your team.
Look out for your fellow HR professionals
The last two years were tough, and like many HR professionals, you would have put your co-workers’ wellbeing above your own. If you’re still working remotely, make an effort to stay in touch with your team and regularly lock in time to catch up. This could be a quick call in the morning over coffee or an afternoon team-bonding session. Take a look at our 39 free online team building games for remote teams for some inspiration.
If you notice one of your team members experiencing some signs of burnout, let them know how to access the EAP.
Take time off and actually switch off
We know this one is easier said than done, and we know that many HR professionals haven’t taken any time off over the last two years. If you’re looking for a sign to switch off and take some time out for yourself, this is it. Put in that leave, book that vacay, and get ready to relax with some much needed self care (without your laptop).
If you can’t resist the temptation of looking or thinking about work, try packing down your desk completely (if it’s in your living room or bedroom) and putting your laptop in a case and away in your drawer. Give a co-worker your mobile number, but let them know it’s for emergencies only.
Take advantage of flexible and remote working environments
Do you live to work or work to live? If you’re experiencing signs of burnout, you might get the feeling that you’re confined to your desk for the full workday. Don’t let this be your reality.
The pandemic showed us that we can operate just as effectively when working remotely. Now’s the time to embrace it. Break up your days by going for a walk, grabbing a coffee or heading to the gym. Work will always be there, and coming back to it after a short break is not a bad thing! Use the flexibility that comes with remote work to your advantage – your mental and physical health will thank you for it.
And if the office is available, pencil in a few days a month to head in with your co-workers.