It’s a typical work week at the office. A commute that is longer than appreciated, working hours from 9 to 5 (or 8 to 6), followed by another commute and the day still isn’t over. After a long day at work, the children need to be picked up, maybe they have after school activities or need help with their homework. What’s for dinner? Yes, dinner, for the whole family. If you’re fortunate, you have a partner with a compatible schedule, or a friend or a family member to help you out. Within a blink of an eye your average 45 hour work week, has almost doubled and it dictates the rest of your week, even your days off. When this type of schedule reoccurs week after week, with little flexibility…as an employee, you get burnt out.
Two-Thirds of parents suffer from Parental Burnout
Parental Burnout, also known as PBO, is becoming a rising issue, especially in corporate America. Over the year, more and more parents are becoming overworked and worn out. The Business Performance Innovation (BPI) undertook a study recently on parental burnout contributors, symptoms and impacts it has at home and work. With two thousand participants, the study shows that almost two-thirds of parents suffer from Parental Burnout, which is a mayor risks for employers.
When people experience burnout symptoms, it’s typically a result of over-working, not allowing yourself needed rest, and not having flexibility within your schedule. Experiencing Parental Burnout leads to constant exhaustion, and also the inability to perform daily functions and commitments. Just under half of the parents who experience Parental Burnout say that the severity of the burnout affected their livelihood. With inflexible schedules and consistent pressure, employees tend to feel unable to take a vacation or a personal day to rest. As the weeks go by, parents keep pushing themselves and burnout occurs resulting in reduced productivity, irregular sleep schedules, high levels of anxiety. All of which directly impacts and interferes with their ability to perform at work.
Parental Burnout and the Organization
So how can parents (and caretakers) actively take proactive steps toward reducing Parental Burnout? The realistic solution to this isn’t to spend less time with the family. Ideally, it should be addressed to the founders and management of organizations.
Once the appropriate leaders have been informed on this issue, a decision to work towards preventing Parental Burnout (for themselves and employees) has been made. But, what is the next step? First thing, take a look at your company culture. Does the culture promote freedom, flexibility, and well-being? If the company culture is more flexible and understanding, parents won’t feel as guilty taking that deserved a personal day to refresh. However, if your company culture is opposite, and emphasizes working hard (instead of smart), long hours and structured days, employees will not take time off. There will be a sense of fear behind taking off an additional day, as it might be seen as ‘unnecessary’ or they won’t receive pay.
The BPI’s study showed that the top factors causing parental burnout include the pressure and exhaustion from both work and home and financial pressures. Both factors directly relate to work. Having higher costs while also overworking will lead only to stress.
Increase flexibility in working hours and remote work options
As founders and managers, you rely on your employees to help carry out the business, to ensure the day-to-day responsibilities are completed. If your company culture already emphasizes the importance of self-care, what else can you do? Think outside of the box, even ask your employees what they would value the most. Maybe all they need is a one day a week with reduced hours? Even if you ask, employees might be a little hesitant to tell you what they truly need. In that case, try exploring and implementing a ‘minimum’ or ‘unlimited’ vacation policy. The minimum vacation days to be taken are aligned with local labor laws, and give your employees the freedom to take the days off THEY feel they truly need.
What if your employees NEED time out of the office, but feel like they won’t meet their responsibilities? Have you considered allowing employees the option to work remotely? Allowing employees to work remotely will ensure responsibilities are met while alleviating some of the other stress factors. If they choose to work from home, they are able to attend to home stresses and return to work with reduced stress (hopefully). Don’t worry, companies who allow their employees to work remotely have actually seen an increase in ownership and responsibility overwork, and increased productivity.
Create a healthy company culture
Whether you are a parent or a fur-mom, flexibility within the office and an understanding of the importance of people’s well-being is crucial to a healthy company culture. With everyday stressors increasing outside, and inside of work, it’s time that organizations start to proactively take positive steps towards improving employee well-being.
Is your organization ready for a transition? Contact Hello Monday by scheduling an appointment here. During this discovery call, we’ll analyze what options could work best for your organization and employees.
Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash