How to recognize the need for recovery in your team

February 5, 2020

The world of work is changing rapidly. In the era of the always-on digital workplace, stress and insufficient recovery are becoming a new, unsustainable norm. While the work-life balance is being re-defined, the ability to recover is essential.

“Today 53% of the global workforce report being closer to burnout than five years ago”

Counter-intuitively, the need for recovery is a rather recent concept. Fortunately, it is also a trending topic asking to be researched and addressed. By reading this blog post you will learn about a) recognizing the signs of insufficient recovery in your team and b) creating a more sustainable and recovery-friendly workplace culture.

Insufficient recovery in the workplace has a price tag

Employee stress levels are on the rise worldwide. According to a Regus Group survey of over 22,000 professionals across 100 countries, 53% of the global workforce report being closer to burnout than five years ago. The lesser-known fact about stress is that it is contagious. Fortunately enough, wellbeing has a similar effect in a team environment.

A recent study conducted by iOpener Institute found that in mid-sized companies the happiest employees felt 65% more energized and spent 46% more time focused intensely on work compared to their colleagues. According to the study a happy workplace culture is something to aspire to, with a 19% reduction in the cost of absenteeism, a 46% reduction in worker turnover, and a 12% increase in total productivity and work performance.

In Finland, about a fourth of the workforce is exhausted and at the risk of burnout. Insufficient recovery is an issue affecting not only the individual but a broader organizational challenge costing companies big time.

“It is the organization's responsibility to ensure that the employee and the position are a fit. “

The enterprise carries a social and economic responsibility for the employee wellbeing and recovery. A change towards conscious and supportive workplace culture, with sustainable working conditions, starts from within the corporate management. The good news is, no company is alone in planning or carrying out the change. Support is available.

What happens at work, should stay at work

The need for recovery is a measurable quantity that refers to a balance between efforts and recuperation that helps to map out signs of developing stress and/or fatigue. The need for recovery is characterized by temporary feelings of overload, irritability, social withdrawal, lack of energy for new effort, and reduced performance. Sufficient recovery takes a certain time. Typically, or rather, ideally, this happens in the evening and during the following night. When the employee’s needs of recovery are not met, they go to work the next morning with a residual need for recovery. This is where the cumulative process takes place and in the long run can result in severe stress symptoms, adverse health outcomes, and burnout.

Learn the tell-tale signs of insufficient recovery

It is possible, and recommended to take the time to evaluate and map out your team’s need for recovery and implement the needed measures to deal with and prevent it. You can do this for example by planning an informal and confidential moment to chat with each of your team members alone. In addressing the need for recovery in your team, it is fundamental to familiarize yourself with the basic premises and make the effort to map out the needs, neglect and opportunities in the following key areas:

  • Your team members’ ability to concentrate and to focus on work tasks. Does the feeling of tiredness prevent your team member from performing as well as they normally would during the second half of the day?

  • Sustainable pace and amount of work. How does your team member feel by the end of the working day? Do they feel really worn out or exhausted?

  • The experienced emotional workload. In general, how long does it take for your team member to start to feel relaxed after finishing work? Does your team member find it difficult to enjoy their time off, or to concentrate in their free time after work?

  • The (lack of) social participation at work, social relations and interest towards colleagues. Does your team member show interest in other people at work or rather choose to be left alone?

  • Physical exertion. Recent changes in physical health, and possible neglect of health because of work. Does your team member get involved in other activities after work, or are they feeling too tired to do so? Has your team member experienced significant changes in their health status during the last year?

Just because you might be a super achiever, empowered and inspired in your own career, it doesn’t mean that your team members are immune to stress and burning out. It really does pay off to take the time to evaluate your team’s need for recovery and implement measures to prevent and deal with insufficiencies.

“Stress is contagious. Thankfully wellbeing has a similar effect in a team environment.”

We are all individuals and each team member reacts differently to their workload and challenges. It is the organization's responsibility to ensure that the employee and the position are a good fit. Taking proper care of your own wellbeing and understanding recovery as a phenomenon, you can keep performing at your best and take good care of your team as well.

Emooter is a Virtual Guide for improving wellbeing in the workplace. It can help in reducing employee stress and creating a recovery-friendly workplace culture. Invest a few minutes to evaluate your team and implement measures to deal with and prevent the implications of insufficient recovery. Learn more about Emooter here.

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