While everyone was worried about employee productivity and quiet quitting, a tidal wave of HR burnout was brewing. In fact, 98% of HR professionals report feeling burned out.
Oof, that’s a worrying number.
Burnout isn’t one of those things that goes away on its own.
And, without making permanent changes to how we do things, it will come back, too.
When I interviewed burnout expert Becca Syme a couple of years ago, she said that the people who burned out more than once were the people who tried to go back to their old ways of doing things when they started feeling better. Despite those habits being the reasons they burned out in the first place.
So, how can you take care of yourself and recover from HR burnout? And prevent it in the future?
Is there some technology you’re resistant to that could make your life easier? Is there anything you could automate? Or streamline?
Could you workshop ideas with a generative AI tool, to help you explain your thoughts more clearly? (But make sure you edit it to sound like you after!)
Could you use a tool like Workrowd to save you time by taking over the admin side of managing and measuring your employee initiatives?
Technology can help with so many tasks to stave off HR burnout. The more we embrace it, the more time we have for genuine human interaction (which also benefits our mental health).
If you feel you have too much work and not enough time, what could you outsource? Either to a colleague or a freelancer?
Your colleagues are there to support you.
And freelancers are there to assist you when you want to stay consistent but don’t need the help of another full-time employee. Sometimes offloading tasks is the shortest route to relieving HR burnout.
Get some movement in
Exercise gives us a physical outlet for stress, and therefore makes it easier for us to deal with it.
The more stressed we are, the more exercise we need to counteract it, according to Dr. John Ratey and Eric Hagerman in their book, Spark.
But something is better than nothing.
Even if all you do is walk to the end of the street, it’s still gotten you away from your desk and monitor, and stretched your legs.
Find what helps you disconnect
Time in nature is great for calming our minds.
Is there somewhere outdoors where you could take a walk on your lunch break?
Maybe you live/work near a beach and could walk there?
Or could you take a soothing bath—without your phone—to calm your mind and muscles? Disconnection can be key when you start to feel the strain of HR burnout.
Use your vacation days
Extended breaks are one of the most important elements of HR burnout recovery.
At the start of this year, I felt creatively burned out. I couldn’t even think about book writing, even though I’ve been doing it my whole life.
Taking a break from it (even though I loved it), and going on vacation somewhere totally disconnected, played a huge part in my recovery.
You don’t have to travel far, but a change of scenery and a week or two away from your desk can do wonders to help you recharge. (Just make sure everyone knows not to bother you about work-related matters while you’re gone!)
Mindfulness is all about focusing on being in the moment. What are you doing now? How can you do that to the best of your ability?
Techniques like circular breathing, moving meditations, or even fire breathing can help refocus your mind in just a few minutes. When you feel the HR burnout creeping in, try taking a few moments to decompress.
Make sure you have a well-organized to-do list. Everything should be listed in order of priority.
Also accept that, no matter how much you want to, you may never complete everything on your list. Using something like an Eisenhower Matrix may help you work out what you need to focus on and what you can outsource or abandon.
I write down all my tasks on my tablet every day, then I number the top three and make sure I check those off.
If something has been on my to-do list for more than a week, I consider how important it really is and if it’s something I should drop.
If it’s something that needs to be done but isn’t urgent, I’ll put some time in the calendar for it or outsource it.
Leave your work at work
If you work in an office and need to disconnect, leave your work devices at your desk or switch them off at the end of the day.
This is a lot harder if you work remotely, but it isn’t impossible.
Consider having a hard cut-off time so that you have a few hours where you can fully disconnect from work. Draw that boundary and reinforce it, even if colleagues try to lure you back into work outside of your specified hours.
Take regular breaks
Throughout the day, make sure you take some time away. This gives your eyes a break from the screen and your mind a break from thinking about work (in theory, anyway).
These don’t have to be long breaks. It could be to make a drink, get some food, or pick the kids up from school.
Taking frequent, small breaks is just as important as longer breaks.
They’re particularly important if you feel restless and can’t concentrate.
Sometimes the solution to a problem is simple, but you’ve been working too hard for too long.
You may well find that solution faster if you take a break now instead of forcing yourself to keep going when you can’t think straight thanks to HR burnout.
Talk to your colleagues
If you’re the type of person to put on a brave face, your colleagues may have no idea you feel burned out.
That’s why it’s important to talk to them about how you feel. They may have solutions you hadn’t considered.
And, as the old phrase goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. Sometimes just talking about your feelings can lower your stress levels and stave off HR burnout.
Burnout, regardless of the cause, can affect every area of our lives. It’s important to look at what caused it and take steps to ease the burden now and reduce the risk of it happening again.
It can feel overwhelming, but there are systems and people out there that can help. While HR burnout may be different in that people are often looking to you to also solve employee burnout, you still deserve the same amount of care to help you recover.
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your workload while simultaneously connecting employees to more and better resources to fend off burnout, you’ve come to the right place. Workrowd has the tools you need to make everyone’s lives easier.
With one-click info and event sharing to all your important channels, streamlined processes for both you and employees, and automated data collection and analytics, you have more time to focus on the work that really matters. Or on yourself!