By Anna Pajor
I hear it all the time in whispers under breaths: I’m done with HR. 😲
It’s the elephant in the room, but the room seems to keep getting smaller and smaller.
The walls seem to be perpetually closing in, so it’s not surprising that people in human resources are voicing their frustrations in conversations, HR message boards, and even social media during these turbulent times. After two years of helping manage workforces during a global pandemic the likes of which we haven’t seen in 100-plus years, it’s easy to see why people are feeling discouraged.
Back in 2020, EPAY Systems wrote about the pros and cons of mandatory vaccines, and in many ways HR people–and, of course legal teams–are not out of the woods when it comes to figuring out compliance with such a hot-button topic.
Add the Great Resignation conundrum into the mix, and it’s no wonder why the Burnout Blues is rhythmically bringing people in HR down. The American Psychological Association’s latest burnout survey found that 79% of employees experienced stress in the month before the survey was conducted. Additionally, according to the results, “nearly 3 in 5 employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation or energy (26%) and lack of effort at work (19%). Meanwhile, 36% reported cognitive weariness, 32% reported emotional exhaustion, and an astounding 44% reported physical fatigue—a 38% increase since 2019.”
Sound like anyone you know?
You’re probably thinking: When will things go back to normal? Unfortunately, I’m here to tell you that’s not the right question to ask. The question should be: How do I deal with the new normal?
If you’re experiencing burnout, the Mayo Clinic has some great tips on how to cope, such as seeking support, getting some Z’s and evaluating your options. Additionally, here are my tips to help HR practitioners avoid burnout.
7 Ways HR Can Take Out Burnout
- Bring on the Boundaries: Technology makes it really easy to connect with our colleagues whenever we need to, but it also blurs the line between personal time and business time. I’m not saying you should cut off all communication in case of an emergency, but you shouldn’t be answering “quick questions” at 10 o’clock at night either. Communication programs like Slack and Teams offer status settings to let your co-workers know you’re off the clock and pause notifications. Make it a habit not to read these messages, they will shift your focus and energy. Instead, focus on the now and respond the next business day.
- Make Sure You’re Connected: Remember those message boards I was talking about earlier in this blog? Well, they truly are a great place to vent, connect and learn from people going through similar challenges. There are Reddits and Subreddits for just about any HR category you can imagine.
- Treat Yourself: At least once a day, offer yourself a treat for a job well done. Maybe that means splurging on a fancy cup of coffee or perhaps enjoying a walk around your local park. Reward yourself; you’ve earned it!
- Stretch, Exercise & Remember to Breathe: Mindfulness is by no means a new concept, but it is a great way to help calm your nerves by focusing on yourself. Mindful.org explains that mindfulness is designed to “wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional and physical processes.” Taking some time each day to practice yoga, spend time on an elliptical machine or partake in any exercise-related activity you prefer, can not only help you burn calories but also help you alleviate stress and the effects of burnout. Additionally, consider downloading an app that will regularly remind you to work on your breathing or meditating to help you reduce stress.
- Right This Way to Vacay: You can’t afford to take a vacation because there’s too much on your plate? That’s just not true. That mentality is exactly why you should plan some time off. Whether it’s taking a long weekend or planning a cross-country roadtrip, it’s essential to decompress. And no daily peeking at those continuous emails!
- Help Is on the Way: If you’re concerned that work won’t get done while you’re away, partner with someone who can help you aleve the burden while you’re out–and you can offer to do the same for them. Set up an Out of Office message for your email directing people to someone who can help if a request can’t wait till you return. It might take a little time to train your colleagues or for them to train you, but you’ll both thank each other when you are enjoying your hedonistic endeavors.
- Make Your Life Easier: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest compliance regulations? What are your onboarding and hiring pain points? I’m here to tell you that the better processes and systems you have in place, the less you’ll stress and feel burned out.