5 Easy Ways to Give Your Employees Emotional Support (and Avoid Burnout)

Laurie Minott

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Stress affects us all differently, and emotionally we’re all in different stages of dealing with crises.

How do we help each other, our employees and our company culture during a difficult and overwhelming time?

How to support employee well-being right now

1. Give each other a pass

An executive at a company I work with said, “We have to give ourselves, and each other, a ‘pass.’”

The “pass” they were referring to? It’s another way of saying we need to practice forgiveness in a variety of ways:

Work

  • Ask yourself this: do all of your tasks need to be completed right now? Or can it wait till the start of next year, when employees and clients will be in a better frame of mind?

Emotions

  • Give your colleagues and employees the benefit of the doubt
  • Internalize that everyone you interact with is struggling to work and live in this difficult time, and in ways we may never fully know or understand
  • Assume that everyone is acting from a place of good intentions; when someone acts in an atypical way toward you, avoid taking it personally
  • Show patience and compassion toward ourselves and others

2. Check in

My people leader kicked off a recent one-on-one conversation by just asking me how I was doing in the midst of all this.

It seems like such a small thing, but it was surprisingly helpful. As I started to talk with her, it became clear how much was occupying my thinking and my emotions. After just naming what was on my mind, I felt calmer, clearer and better able to focus on other things.

My manager didn’t try to fix anything – she just listened.

This is an easy gift all leaders can give their people, and it only takes a few minutes.

A more formal way to check-in is to send a pulse survey. Not only can an employee survey take the guesswork out of what is causing burnout, but it can also be less confrontational for employees who aren’t comfortable speaking up one-to-one.

3. Practice mindfulness and deep breathing

Before COVID-19, I went to New Jersey to meet with a client.

She had been running from meeting to meeting all day. When we sat down, she suggested we take 2 minutes before we started:

  • Close our eyes
  • Clear our minds
  • Take a few deep breaths

Research has shown that relaxation techniques like deep breathing counter our bodies’ response to stress, including work-related stress.

Starting or ending meetings with a few minutes of quiet time and deep breathing not only encourages self-care with your staff, it can also bring tangible relief to the stress we are all carrying right now.

4. Encourage gratitude

We live in a world where pain and tragedy dominate our news media. This is particularly true during times of crisis.

While we can’t control our colleagues’ media consumption habits, we can take small steps to try to positively influence everyone’s outlook.

Ending meetings by asking employees to share one thing they feel grateful for helps us pause our minds briefly to be present and appreciative. This temporary shift in focus can provide a well-needed infusion of positive vibes.

5. Remind employees to practice self-care

Under stress and nearing the end of the year, it’s natural to feel like we should be doing more, whether:

  • As a distraction from personal problems outside of work
  • Over stress of meeting end-of-year goals and targets
  • Out of fear that we’ll join the jobless ranks if we don’t do more than ever to show that we’re indispensable

Under the best of circumstances, many of us struggle to take care of ourselves, opting instead to worry and care for everyone else. These are not the best of circumstances, and it’s more important than ever to be sure we are taking time to care for ourselves.

When leaders encourage and model self-care, it gives employees permission to do the same. Let employees know:

In these circumstances, we are all going to be less productive
You want them to take breaks to exercise, give time and attention to their children and loved ones and get more rest
Ways you are practicing self-care
Your encouragement will go a long way to supporting this important need.

It’s time to check in on your employees’ well-being

Healthy workplaces keep track of their employees’ well-being through regular employee surveys. Ask us how our Trust Index™ survey can help you today.

Laurie Minott

Author

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

To determine the 2022 Vietnam Best Workplaces™, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 20,000 employees across different industries in Vietnam. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️.

85% of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry. The remaining 15% of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified™ standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. 

Companies with 10-99 people were considered for the Small category, companies with 100-999 people were considered for the Medium category and companies with 1000+ people were considered for the Large category.