Employees spend 60 percent of their working time on peripheral matters: this is how you stop to tackle a possible burnout

  • Search email, attend meetings, switch between many different work apps, decide which tasks to do first. Employees spend 60% of their time every day on ‘work over work’, making it more difficult to find time for work with impact.
  • All these fringe issues leave only 40% of the time to do concrete, strategic work, according to research from work management platform Asana, dubbed the Anatomy of Work Index 2021.
  • Constant switching between systems and ambiguity about tasks not only takes time, it is also demotivating for employees and can eventually lead to burnout.
  • Simon O’Kane, Head of International at Asana gives tips to leaders and organizations to reduce ‘work over work’ and thus prevent burnouts.

Research shows that the average employee spends 157 hours a year in unnecessary meetings. E-mailing and other communication methods also consume a lot of employees’ time every day. Why is it that we spend so much time on ‘work over work’ these days? And what can you as a leader do to reduce it and help your team focus?

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According to Simon O’Kane, these questions are not easy to answer: “Of course it differs per person and per organization, but a common cause is a lack of clarity about who does what in the team and when that person will do it. That is why it is so important that managers and leaders use tools that give everyone clarity about roles, responsibilities, deadlines and goals.”

Employees often schedule a meeting to discuss the status of a project, but that’s typically something you don’t need a meeting for, O’Kane believes. With good project management systems you always have an idea of ​​the status. Encourage your team to prefer using meetings for problem solving or creative brainstorming. This frees up time for the real work. “At Asana we have a ‘meeting-free Wednesday’. That helps employees get into a deep focus,” he says.

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Frustrations lead to burnout

No leader wants his or her team’s time to be wasted. Not just because it affects the profit margin. But also because it is very annoying for employees to spend a lot of time every day on peripheral matters. No one likes to discover that all the hard work wasn’t necessary. It is also frustrating not to have enough time for the work you are passionate about.

Not having enough time for that can even lead to burnouts. “Our research shows that 71% of employees experience burnout complaints since working from home.Encourage everyone to express their needs and set clear expectations

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Be open about the challenges you face and others will follow. To tackle burnout, everyone needs to be honest about the challenges they face. This clear communication is also about setting goals as a team so that everyone knows exactly what they are doing, when, and why.

2. Reduce distractions

Multitasking makes tasks take longer and you have less energy. Empower everyone in your organization to overcome distractions by allocating time in their calendars to focus. Time without video calls or answering emails. If there’s a meeting on your calendar that you don’t think will add value, say so and politely decline. That way you can focus on other priorities.

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3. Spend Time Every Day Preventing Burnout

If you want to tackle a burnout, you want to create positive habits and set an example for your team. Take vacation on time and do not respond to non-urgent work matters outside working hours. You can also experiment with taking mini-breaks throughout the day, or avoiding meetings. Bring variety to your day with fresh air, exercise and time away from your screen. All this helps you and your team to become less overloaded.

Clarity and insight increase happiness at work

According to O’Kane, the work management platform Asana can help address the action points to combat burnout. The platform helps employees and managers to improve collaboration between teams, for example by providing insight into who is responsible for what, why and when it will be completed.

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This transparency gives employees clarity, which means that a lot of frustrations disappear and time is saved. At the same time, managers can easily see that someone from the team has a lot of tasks. He or she can then distribute the workload better.

“We also see team culture improving and employee motivation increasing as our platform connects people,” said O’Kane. “By understanding the workload, leaders can proactively adjust requirements to specific people. By providing a way to prioritize, it also helps give employees control over their workday. All of this can contribute to a culture of teamwork and support across the organization.”

He knows that no technology is, of course, a panacea.

Author: Jobly