November 23, 2020

Tips for Avoiding Employee Burnout

by Guest Blogger


Labor has been challenging for years, but never more so than in 2020. Everyone has been affected by the pandemic differently, whether directly or indirectly, and businesses have had to rapidly adapt to the changing needs of both the marketplace and the workforce.

In particular, the fenestration industry went through a short down period in the spring but was fortunate to ramp back up quickly by early summer. In most cases, the demand was there, and the demand was great.

All good news, right?

The problem was that the talent pool did not look the same as it did just months prior. Circumstances changed for most people and not everyone could easily return to the workplace for various reasons. So companies needed to do more, produce more and deliver more – but with fewer workers.

Then came the 12-hour shifts and working all weekend, every weekend. As most quickly learned, that was not a sustainable option. Employee burnout becomes very real very quickly. At Quanex, retaining our existing workforce became a top priority. We knew providing balance was one of the best ways to have a more engaged and happier workforce.

For those out there who are struggling with the same thing, here are a few strategies that have proven helpful to avoid employee burnout:

  1. Stay in tune with your people. Now more than ever, we need to simply listen to people. Having regular one-on-one conversations can go a long way toward understanding individual needs and helping in every way possible.
  1. Offer flexibility. We’re not in an industry where working from home is an option for many. In manufacturing, it’s next to impossible. However, we need to be understanding that some might be dealing with childcare issues, home schooling or other stressors at home. Flexibility might be as simple as shifting hours or giving someone extra time when needed to tend to their needs outside of work.
  2. Avoid excessive shifts if you can. This is not always simple to do when demand is high but alternating weekends or reducing the workday can help. It’s important to remember that working all day every day is the recipe for burnout, as well as a safety risk, and it should never be the norm.
  3. Deliver competitive compensation. To both retain and attract employees, make sure you are compensating them fairly in your market. This should always be a best practice, but it’s extraordinarily important now as other companies are likely facing the same labor challenges as you.
  4. Put safety first. And last – but not least – employees new and seasoned want to know they are going to work at a safe place. In general, workers are hesitant to enter environments where they might be at risk of contracting the virus. By implementing and enforcing pandemic guidelines for health and safety, you are showing employees that their risks will be mitigated in the workplace. They need to know that you are looking out for them and their families in everything you do – and that should be clear from the moment potential employees come in for an interview.
Employee burnout is real, and many experts expect that the mental impacts of the pandemic will be evident in the workforce for years to come. As employers, it’s important for us to look out for employees’ health, both mental and physical – and try to keep the risk of burnout down. The measures we take will yield higher engagement and higher retention now and into the future.
What’s your strategy for avoiding burnout? Email me directly at

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Posted: November 23, 2020 by Guest Blogger Filed under: