14 December 2020

Remote working makes it can lead to an increased risk of employee burnout. Here’s how leaders can maintain a healthy, fresh and engaged workforce

2:00 Min

1 Burnout symptoms

Leaders must first recognise the signs that an employee may be at risk. Business psychologist Alan Bradshaw says that  “it’s more than just feeling stressed – it’s a state of exhaustion.” Employees who exhibit unusual behaviour, such as productivity decline, low attendance to online meetings, or noticeable shifts in mood, could be struggling with mental and physical exhaustion.

2 Practical support

Following the first lockdown measure, global companies mobilised to keep burnouts at bay – temporarily. Online team building activities helped alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation. However, as remote teams became the norm, more permanent solutions are here. Employers are integrating more management development and information-sharing opportunities into remote team working.

For example, at UniCredit Germany, an online tool titled “Better Home Office” in collaboration with BKK Mobil Oil provided access to articles, videos, and expert interviews designed to foster a stress-free new work environment. Thanks to HVB Social Counselling Service, immediate mental health services are ready and available to offer informational support about onset psychological symptoms to those in need.

3 Prioritising mental health

Many companies offer training and resilience coaching to improve employees’ mental health and wellbeing. At UniCredit, we expanded our Welfare Programs to offer additional insurance coverage and health services available for all. The “At a distance but together” program at UniCredit Italy helps leaders support their teams by offering a series of tips to help each person improve their wellbeing in their personal, family, and professional lives.

4 Adjust the load

Avoiding burnouts requires a more in-depth and holistic strategy. “If you really want to take the pressure off the team, you have the adjust the workload,” says the CEO of software company Okta. This five-step guide offers practical advice for remote leaders to manage workloads and avoid team burnouts effectively.

UniCredit and the European Works Council signed a joint declaration on work-life balance committing to promote a set of specific, concrete actions to support work-life balance across all UniCredit’s operations. This mandate sets forth UniCredit guidelines in 5 specific areas, including digitisation, space and time flexibility, time management at work, wellbeing support, and cultural inclusion, with the goal of guiding and inspiring leaders to develop new initiatives to adjust employee workloads where necessary.

5 Empathetic leadership

A new survey of employees and business leaders across 11 nations discovered that a third of employees wished their companies would act more empathetically. Harvard Business Review offers advice to leaders to step outside their comfort zones and personal biases, actively listen to others, and take necessary actions to put their teams first.

UniCredit’s Managers’ Etiquette guide offers leaders practical advice on leading teams with empathy while respecting work-life balance. The practical tips encourage managers to create dialogue on team communication strategies  such as preserving the team’s time off and efficiency in virtual meetings.

A recent UniCredit survey showed that employees are interested in giving feedback on their direct manager’s support and thoughts on future the future of a work-life balance. UniCredit will use the results to come up with new solutions fitting with all employees’ needs.

Please send your ideas to onebank@unicredit.eu about how we can further promote our colleagues’ wellbeing at work.