Jacinda Ardern cited “burnout” as the main reason for her recent resignation as Prime Minister of New Zealand. It’s not a new phenomenon, but an increase in open dialogue in workplaces has seen it widely discussed once again.

Burnout leads to increased absenteeism, resignations and poor productivity. So, what can business leaders and HR departments do to combat it in the workplace?

A key trigger of burnout is a lack of balance, argues Lisa MacLaren, Senior Vice President – Client Services, in her new article for People Management. Businesses can help through training, supporting and listening to employees.

From the article:

“Connection and communication are vital for building effective and long-lasting work relationships. Remote working has either reduced or completely removed these opportunities for a lot of people. Conversely, some have been forced back into the office, having been hired on the promise of remote work.

We need to listen, train and support. It’s important to provide employees with a platform, vehicle and time to share their feelings in a non-threatening, non-judgmental, safe space, and ensure all people managers have some level of mental health awareness training.

We can also combat employee burnout at the source – by implementing and promoting flexible working. This has proved to reduce burnout and improve retention levels by providing employees with greater control to balance their lives. Promoting flexible working also attracts candidates; a flexible work environment is now the main criterion people look for in a new job.

This may seem counterintuitive with the drive to encourage people back to the office, which does aid culture and collaboration, but there are solutions to help achieve balance for all. For example, anchor days – where teams commit to being in the office one or more days a week on the same days – deliver maximum collaborative working time and connection with each other in person.”

To read more, visit People Management.