How to Avoid Employee Burnout in Warehouse Work

A lone warehouse worker pulls a stacker trolley behind him.

For warehouse managers, burnt out employees can have a dramatic effect on your workplace’s productivity, and may send a ripple effect throughout your organization. This common occurrence affects much more than productivity in today’s warehouses.

Gallup reports 23% of full-time workers reported being always or very often burned out at their job, according to a 2018 study. It also said another 44% were sometimes burned out. In all, about two-thirds of full-time workers are burned out. Despite awareness and changing policies in today’s workplaces, employee burnout is still on the rise. Find out how to keep employees from burning out, even when working with longer hours and tight deadlines.

What Are the Consequences of Employee Burnout?

Gallup says a worker burnout crisis is engulfing organizations. Although many consider stress an expected part of working, employee burnout can trigger a ripple effect that impacts both workers and businesses.

For Employees

Burnout can affect many aspects of an employees’ livelihood. Common consequences of burnout include a desire to give up the profession, abandonment of job, and an increase of fatigue and stress. Healthwise, workers experiencing burnout may also see an increase in coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

It’s important for employees to communicate burnout to their employers so they can assist in minimizing these symptoms. We recommend employers open a doorway for workers to talk about these issues, should they arise.

Stanford University Graduate School of Business reported that 120,000 deaths a year can be attributed to work-related stress.

For Businesses

All this stress felt by workers can impact the workplace negatively. Business.com says there are three main consequences for workplaces that don’t solve employee burnout:

  1. Decreased productivityA study by IZA World of Labor indicates that happy workers are more productive, which confirms that stressed workers drag down productivity.
  2. High turnover rate – The Center for American Progress says companies spend up to 213% of an employee’s salary to cover the costs of finding a replacement.
  3. Low employee engagement – Unhappy employees will generally hide their dissatisfaction from colleagues and bosses, according to the Houston Chronicle. This can manifest itself in a refusal to participate in company activities, lack of concern for quality of work, among other employee burnout signs, as shown below.

What Are the Signs & Causes of Employee Burnout?

It’s important for employers to recognize some common signs of worker burnout. Being easily upset or angered, recurring sickness, cynicism towards people and their job, and an inability to concentrate are some red flags for managers to look out for. If a manager sees signs of burnout across employees or has been directly told of burnout, they should be aware of the common causes so they can assist in decreasing it. A Gallup study identified these five major causes of burnout:

1. Unclear Definition of Roles

Workers can be given roles or tasks that are ill-defined or for which they have insufficient training. Up to 40% of workers say they don’t have a strong sense of what is expected of them at work, according to the State of the American Workplace report.

2. Uncommunicative or Unsupportive Managers

A 2019 survey by Dynamic Signal indicates that 80% of U.S. workers say they’re stressed because of ineffective company communication. Also, 7% say they feel overwhelmed because of broken communication methods and fragmented information.

3. Unfair Treatment at Work

Perceived favoritism, or unfair attacks, contribute to stress of workers. When employees feel they are treated unfairly, they are 2.3 times more likely to experience a high level of burnout, according to Gallup. Unfair treatment can come from a coworker exhibiting bias, favoritism and mistreatment or a workplace employing unfair compensation or policies.

4. Unmanageable Workload

When their workload is out of control, employees look for help from fellow employees and managers, which may or may not be coming. Even top employees can quickly shift from optimistic to hopeless as they sink deeper into an unmanageable workload.

5. Unreasonable Time Pressure

Long warehouse shifts, including overnight shifts, can cause stress and fatigue. Add the repetitive nature of warehouse work and the perfect environment for burnout is created. Unworkable deadlines and pressure can cause workers to fall behind, increasing the stress.

Download our eBook: How to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

Productivity matters for your business and its employees because profit increases can lead to increased wages, innovation, improved morale, and beyond. Download our eBook, “How to Increase Productivity in the Workplace” for proven strategies for driving productivity.

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How to Combat Employee Burnout

Workers in all fields, including warehouse workers, can benefit from a focus on combating burnout. Here are ways employers can decrease burnout:

  • Encourage social support and respect among team members through video chats.
  • Enforce reasonable work hours, including encouraging breaks.
  • Ensure employees have the resources they need.
  • Help assess workloads for those who may feel pressured to work beyond normal business hours.
  • Offer ongoing training.
  • Provide clear, realistic expectations and make sure those expectations are understood.
  • Show employees their value and contributions to the organization’s goals.

In short, the key is to foster a healthy work culture. Although this can be difficult to do with the additional pressures of running an active warehouse, employees see when companies and leaders in the organization try their best and can feel better about their work.

How Terra Staffing Can Help Meet Your Employment Needs

TERRA Staffing Group helps employers find high quality workers. For staffing solutions that work for organizations like yours, contact us today. For more information about keeping employees engaged and improving company culture, view our webinar, “Minding the Middle: The Key to Engagement and Culture Change,” for proven strategies.

 

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