With people getting back into travel, our ‘busyness’ is set to increase. To maintain productivity, it’s crucial to implement effective strategies to ensure your teams aren’t reaching burnout.

During the first ten months of 2021, workers in the US handed in nearly 39 million resignations, the highest number recorded since 2000. Although chronic overworking was rampant well before COVID struck, the pandemic certainly exacerbated it, ultimately leading to high levels of stress and burnout across the globe – not least within the travel and tourism industry.

We all felt it. And after nearly two years of managing crisis after crisis, it’s easy to see why most of us are well and truly burnt out.

Having only just entered the recovery phase of our sector, we still have a long way to go. If you’re seeking solutions to beating burnout and exhaustion in 2022, fortunately, there are preventative measures to ensure nobody hits a wall this year.

What is burnout?

As it turns out, burnout isn’t just about the number of hours worked, or emails responded to. It refers to a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress and anxiety. This condition can generally be characterised by the following:

  • mental energy depletion or complete exhaustion
  • increased feelings of negativity related to one’s job
  • reduced efficacy and ability to perform basic tasks

Although Millennials have been referred to as the ‘burnout generation’, it isn’t a uniquely Millennial condition. Burnout has long been an issue across the globe affecting multiple generations and industries. No, it’s not just reserved for high-powered brokers, lawyers, and doctors.

How to prevent future burnout

Research suggests the greatest determinant of worker burnout is a persistent unmanageable workload, unclear communication from management, and lack of leadership and support.

That said, the thing about burnout is that you can’t just holiday or meditate your way out of it. In fact, heightening pressure on staff members to ‘fix themselves’ only just perpetuates the cycles of stress.

Worried about reaching burnout in 2022? The following measures can be taken to help prevent it within the workplace and at home:

Set boundaries with social media

  • Set a goal to reduce the time you spend on social media.
  • Or, allocate certain time slots of the day or week.
  • Set a timer on your phone to help you manage how much time you invest in scrolling.

Quit switch-tasking and doing too much at once

  • Reduce the density of the workday and the habit of bouncing from one task to the next.
  • To prevent burnout, try batch-tasking (batching similar tasks together and doing them all at once), or implement the Pomodoro Technique.

Take regular work breaks

  • Consider implementing companywide mental-health days.
  • If you’re currently office-based, start exploring solutions that allow employees to work from a location of their choice with more flexible hours.

Set up systems to enable efficiency

  • Having the right support structures, software systems, and tools in place can help make workflow easier, reducing pressure on yourself and your staff.

Tap into your emotional intelligence

  • Research suggests that emotional intelligence (EI) supports our coping abilities and helps us deal with chronic stress.
  • Nurturing a greater level of self-awareness can help us to better understand the sources of our frustration and improve our ability to consider different responses to high-stress situations.

Creating a culture of empathy

  • Treat your staff with respect and proactively make sure they don’t burn out.
  • Check in with them regularly and actively involve them in the decision-making processes when it comes to taking on more work as a company.

If you’ve not heard of Dan Price, this modern-day Robin Hood and CEO of Gravity Payments took a pay cut back in 2020 to ensure his employees received a $70k minimum wage per year.

Since this change, six years ago:

  • 10x more employees at the company had children
  • 10x more employees bought new homes
  • The retention rate at Gravity Payments doubled
  • 401(k) contributions grew by 155%
  • 70% of employees paid off their outstanding debt
  • The company revenue tripled

Now we can’t all offer our staff $70k P/A, but chances are you might find that investing a little bit more in the wellbeing of your team pays for itself in the long run. Compassion, as with most positive emotions, can help counter the physiological effects of stress leading to burnout.

The bottom line…

Companies that are scaling quickly are particularly susceptible to burnout from employees who feel overworked. With the travel and tourism industry set to gain momentum in 2022, it’s never been more important to pay attention to your mental health and that of your staff.

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