Should Your Small Business Take a “Burnout Break”?

Even though we’re not quite out of the woods yet with the pandemicThanks to the vaccine, the United States is beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a wild ride to get here, especially for small businesses and the workers who kept them afloat in these truly unprecedented times.

Getting through a pandemic that is still in business is no small feat. It probably took all kinds of sacrifices and struggles from team members at all levels to make it happen. And chances are a lot of them are exhausted because of that.

To counteract this exhaustion before it evolves into a full-blown burnout that can drive people into the hills in search of another job, companies are starting to offer their employees burnout breaks.

Want to jump on the bandwagon, but don’t know where to start? Maybe the whole idea is new to you and you need a little more information. Either way, you’ve come to the right place!

What is a burnout break?

While there is no hard and fast definition, the idea that the past year has been absolutely crazy is highly stress and anxiety inducing, and has led to increased burnout among workers across the country. A burnout break is extra time off to help employees rest and recover after a demanding year, to say the least.

Plus, companies have their employees to thank for helping them through the pandemic, so doesn’t it make sense to give them at least some extra time off to relax and recover?

A burnout break is extra time off to help employees rest and recover after a demanding year.

How does a burnout break work?

There isn’t one way to handle a burnout break, the recent trend is giving employees something like an extra week of paid vacation. The key is that it’s paid – time off is great, but if it’s not paid for, it can just be another source of stress for those who can handle it and a non-starter for those who can’t.

For example, Bumble gave its employees an extra week of vacation from June 21 to June 25. Some support staff still had to work that week, but all were given an extra week of leave in the future. Other companies that have offered their employees burnout breaks include LinkedIn, Mozilla, and HubSpot. Nike also closed offices in various locations for a week to let employees de-stress.

LinkedIn’s break took place the week of April 5, and it worked similarly to Bumble’s. The core staff had to work that week while most of the other company employees were off, but those who worked could use their week at a different time.

“We wanted to make sure we could give them something really valuable, and what we find most valuable right now is that it’s time for all of us to collectively walk away,” LinkedIn Chief People Officer Teuila Hanson, told CNN Business. “I think the reality of the weight of the pandemic in those months really took its toll. That was a tough time. Then we saw, ‘Wow, there’s a definite burnout.’”

What a burnout break can mean for your company and employees

Even well before the 2018 pandemic, a survey of US workers found that burnout had become a major threat to employee retention – as many as 95% of respondents said burnout “sabotaged their staff.”

Add to that a pandemic and economic impact, and burnout is definitely on the rise these days. A big problem is that burnout goes against employee well-being and employee well-being has a major impact on a company’s growth and bottom line. Like a 2018 paper found, the well-being of the employees, in particular their mental health, is “one of the most important contributors to productivity” and it “can have an effect on not only [employees] themselves, but also on the people around them”, which has consequences for the productivity of teams and even entire organizations.

The pandemic has put a strain on everyone’s mental health, as well as the physical and financial health of many people. The more you think about it, the more a burnout break starts to sound like not only a good idea, but a necessary one, doesn’t it?


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