Unfortunately, a workplace often breeds a culture of toxic productivity. Business leaders might not even realize they're doing it, but they should know the warning signs to help protect their employees and, in turn, help their businesses succeed. Here are a few easy ways to combat toxic productivity in the workplace:
Cultivate a healthy work environment
A healthy work environment promotes work-life balance, prioritizes self-care, and boosts creativity. At the very basic level, it means your employees only work the hours they're supposed to work and can take time to themselves for chores or personal days when needed.
Your work environment should also encourage open communication and support. You may only know your employees are facing burnout once they tell you, so they should feel comfortable enough to tell you.
In addition, you should foster a positive and inclusive company culture. Team dynamics are crucial for any business, so managers must determine the best ways to make sure their employees' needs are met.
Set realistic expectations and boundaries
Employees should set realistic expectations for themselves and boundaries with the business. It's not uncommon for business owners and managers to have unrealistic expectations, but it's the employees' responsibility to speak up if they want to restore their work-life balance.
All employees should determine when work ends and personal time begins. In most cases, you work a job that ends at a certain time. From that point on, you're dedicated to your personal time. If work needs you, don't ignore them, but make sure you set clear boundaries and expectations for work.
Leaders can support these efforts by giving their team clear start and finish times, being vocal about setting boundaries and normalizing longer response times. It's common for someone to text a coworker during off-hours, but that doesn't mean that coworkers should be expected to respond until they're back at their desks. If your job is not an on-call job, you don't need to be on-call.
In addition, employees and employers should consider deadlines and workload expectations. Many times, leaders don't know how to do their employees' jobs or how long they should take, so they set unrealistic expectations. Managers should continue to check in on their employees and give them the opportunity to push back when necessary.
Encourage self-awareness and self-reflection
Leaders should encourage self-awareness and self-reflection that helps employees identify personal limits and boundaries. Every employee is different. Some can't answer calls after work because they have other responsibilities like family, while others don't want to be bothered while they're running errands or performing personal tasks.
You should recognize and challenge societal pressures. Society thinks we can do it all, and we can. That doesn't mean we don't need boundaries and time to ourselves.
Unfortunately, work has a way of creeping into your personal life. What's important is that you don't let it become your personal life. Promoting self-care and utilizing stress management techniques can prevent work from affecting your personal life.
Promoting work-life balance is increasingly important, with many employees leaving their jobs every year due to burnout or unnecessary stress. While business owners might not be able to offer their employees flexible schedules that allow them to work whenever they want, there are ways to promote a better work-life balance without upsetting the delicate balance at work.
If you can't offer flexible work arrangements or remote opportunities, you can encourage employees to take time off and recharge. Your PTO policy should extend beyond the state laws. Instead of giving your employees the minimum, increase their PTO or give them unlimited PTO to use within reason.
You can also give them more opportunities for breaks and rest. For instance, you can let them listen to music while they work or give them a break room where they can spend some time recharging throughout the day.
Lead by example and fostering a supportive management style
The right leadership style shows employees that they can balance work with life. Managers should model healthy work habits and boundaries while acknowledging employees' efforts and offering resources for support or professional development.
Create a culture of healthy productivity
Healthy productivity can support your overall business by ensuring your employees are accomplishing all their tasks. Unfortunately, there's a fine line between healthy and toxic productivity. Knowing that line and identifying toxic productivity can help you address what makes employees burn out or increase their stress.
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