Research Hub > Employee Burnout: How Your Company Can Use Technology to Combat It

May 04, 2022

Article
7 min

Employee Burnout: How Your Company Can Use Technology to Combat It

How can your organization use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to detect employee burnout early on ⁠— and help prevent it ⁠— all while carrying on with day-to-day operations to meet customer demand? Read on to learn more.

Employee burnout is happening now more than ever before – from startups to global enterprises, more and more workers are stretched to capacity. With a large percentage of employees now either working from home permanently or on a hybrid schedule, the line between work and personal lives can get blurred when the office happens to be a few steps from the kitchen.

How can your organization use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to detect employee burnout early on -- and help prevent it -- all while carrying on with day-to-day operations to meet customer demand? Read on to learn more.

What’s Causing Employee Burnout?

Employee burnout existed well before the pandemic, with teams dealing with a staggering workload, lack of support and poor managerial relationships. After the pandemic, virtual meetings became an all-encompassing presence in the remote workspace. As a result, virtual meeting fatigue has become commonplace, leaving many remote and hybrid employees physically and mentally drained from hours on camera in the same chair.

Another cause of employee burnout has come from the increased usage of digital tools to keep up with collaboration. Employees are always now easily reachable and feel the constant pressure to always stay connected to their devices, causing them to work outside of business hours or on weekends. When the office is everywhere, so is work – which would be great for your bottom line, if only your employees were robots and not human beings.

The Effects of Employee Burnout

Employee burnout in the workplace isn’t just a miniscule thing that employees need to figure out on their own. It is a difficult reality that can lead to many impactful, negative consequences in all areas of one’s overall well-being if not taken seriously. Workplace burnout can affect individuals physically, mentally, personally, and professionally. Employees that are dealing with workplace burnout and job-related stress can be impacted in the following ways:

  • Physical: fatigue and extreme stress that can increase one’s chances of heart disease, high blood pressure, respiratory problems, and type 2 diabetes
  • Mental: Irritability, anxiety, depression
  • Personal: Increased chance of substance or alcohol abuse, financial irresponsibility, and isolation from family and friends
  • Professional: Inability to perform the job well, dissatisfaction with their job, and isolation from colleagues

The Signs of Employee Burnout

Have you experienced a once stellar employee suddenly submitting subpar work? Detecting whether your employees are suffering from burnout in the workplace, especially when dealing with remote workers who are rarely in the office, can be challenging, but your organization can learn how spot it. Here are several signals that may indicate burnout among hybrid or remote workers:

  • They tend to have a hard time finishing tasks frequently
  • Don’t engage as often with colleagues
  • They let the quality of their work or productivity slide
  • Complains of being stressed and/or overwhelmed
  • Experiences recurrent mood swings   

How Your Organization Can Use AI to Detect Employee Burnout

There are many simpler ways to combat employee burnout such as getting up from your desk and become physically active.  But using artificial intelligence (AI) technology can help your organization to detect employee productivity and identify burnout and provide the help your staff needs before it starts to affect their health.

Communication Touchpoints

It’s no surprise that remote employees are at a higher risk of feeling isolated compared to their in-office counterparts. Their feeling of isolation can lead to them overworking themselves, leading to burnout and employee competition, because they might feel the need to compete with their in-office colleagues that they never see to compensate for being absent from the office.  In recent years, modern communication technologies have come a long way to help build a strong virtual community where remote employees can still feel included and part of the team. To help reduce burnout, your organization can keep employees engaged by utilizing AI technology to create frequent communication touchpoints, such as instant messaging (IM), employee portals, virtual assistants, and web-based meetings.

AI-based communication tools such as built-in virtual assistants within web conferencing platforms can also drastically improve employee productivity and efficiency by answering questions, scheduling meetings, booking travel, and given tasks to complete. Along with completing tasks, it doesn’t disrupt employee workflow and offloads some of the administrative parts of digital meeting tasks that would typically be done by a person.  

Mental Health Apps

Juggling work responsibilities, personal life schedules and everything in between, many people have started to feel the impact on their mental wellbeing. While most organizations are aware that mental health issues do exist, they do not really know how to address or treat it. Oftentimes, mental health is downplayed or ignored and not treated with the same urgency as chest pains or a broken bone.

Recently, mental health apps have been paving the way for organizations to better manage employee burnout. Below is a list of how your organization can use mental health apps to get a holistic picture of your employees’ overall mental health.

  • Meditation apps: Meditation apps have gained a lot of traction after the pandemic and are a simple way for your organization to help promote mental wellness through guided meditations, stretching exercises, breathing programs, daily check-ins, track mood patterns, and soothing music to help reduce stress and boost productivity. Mediation apps can be easily incorporated into your employees’ days and doesn’t require a large amount of time or money to implement.
  • Digital Phenotyping apps: Digital phenotyping apps uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to give its users the ability to detect and track their mental state based on their digital footprint with real-time, unbiased data and access to early mental health screenings. Not only does digital phenotyping apps provide the insight employees need for better overall wellbeing, but they also allow them to have complete control over how they feel every day to cope better with depression, anxiety, and stress.

 

Wearable Devices

The recent advancements in smartphone technology have opened new opportunities for the diagnosis, monitoring, and management of mental health care. Wearable devices such as fitness trackers, smartbands, and smartwatches have been able to use sensors to track user heart rates, as well as real-time gesture detection technology that can recognize not only the emotional and physical indicators of its users but also their behavioral monitoring. 

Virtual Therapy Sessions

Providing tele-behavioral healthcare opportunities through a virtual platform for hybrid and remote employees can be an effective way for your organization to have a healthy, happy, and productive workforce. Virtual therapy sessions can immensely benefit a burned-out employee. It gives them the chance to speak to a state-licensed, credentialed therapist that can help them overcome anxiety, manage their stress or depression, and build healthier habits. Virtual therapy sessions are also vital to have access to if an  employee has reached a crisis level of mental health and cannot afford to wait for help. Virtual therapy sessions are also very convenient for employees that live in areas with a shortage of mental health providers or in rural areas that they don’t have to drive long distances to get the mental care they need.

Treat Your Employees Like People

Although AI and machine learning-based technology can help tremendously with detecting and reducing employee burnout, it has its limits and can only do so much. There’s no doubt that technology will never replace how you make your employees feel and how you interact with them on a regular basis. Regardless if employees are hybrid, remote, or in-person, it is simple: People are not robots. Do not forget that your employees are human beings – they want to feel like you care about them. Implementing wellness initiatives in your organization’s culture, such as encouraging physical activity, improving work/life balance benefits, being flexible with work schedules, giving employees autonomy over their jobs, acknowledging and praising successes, respecting boundaries, and communicating often, are ways that your organization can show genuine care for the overall wellbeing of your employees and to treat them like the incredible people that they are.