According to the 2021 Global Workplace Burnout Study report, burnout is a key reason for the “Great Resignation.” Although the term burnout was coined in 1974 by Herbert Freudenberger, the World Health Organization (WHO) only recently recognized it as an occupational phenomenon.
To be more specific, the WHO defines burnout as a syndrome “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” One of the major causes of workplace stress, and, consequently, burnout, is the hustle culture itself.
The Damaging Effect of Hustle Culture
According to a recent study, working around 70 hours a week increases the risk of heart disease by 42%. That risk gets even higher (up to 63%) when employees work approximately 80 hours a week.
Speaking of the perils of overwork (a staple in hustle culture), we must mention its extreme consequence — karoshi, aka death from overwork. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing issue in Japan’s intense work culture.
Aside from the fact that it leads to anxiety, a hustle culture creates toxic competitiveness among employees, affecting productivity.
In the New York Times article, a consultant for a tech company, Berni Klinder, shared his experience with the readers. Although he had tried to limit his workday to 11 hours, he still couldn’t measure up with his colleagues.
A standard 8-hour workday isn’t enough: “If your peers are competitive, working a ‘normal workweek’ will make you look like a slacker.”
Hence, it might be time for employers to step in and consider ways of combating this phenomenon by providing a better employee experience.
5 Suggestions for Battling Hustle Culture & Improving Employee Experience
Did you know that Germany has one of the largest economies in Europe, but the average worker there works only 34.2 hours a week?
Hence, longer hours do not equal more productivity.
1. Offer Help
First of all, your employees should feel like they can always turn to you for help. Therefore, make sure you foster an open door policy.
Enable your employees to reach out to you anytime they feel they need a deadline extension or have a problem.
Make sure they don’t fear a negative backlash if they ask for help.
Prioritize well-being instead of overwork.
2. Try Positive Reinforcement
We like being appreciated. It’s in our nature. Why not use this fact in your efforts to discourage hustle culture in your workplace?
For instance, reward your employees when they reject the hustle in favor of work-life balance. Give them positive feedback and praise them in front of others.
Openly commend employees who clock out for lunch and use their vacation time to show others you find their choice reasonable.
3. Lead from the Top Down
To effectively discourage hustle culture in your workplace, you should lead by example.
Don’t burn the candle on both ends — clock out at the end of your 8-hour shift and go home. Show your employees that you value their time and private life by respecting your own free time.
4. Embrace Remote Work
Remote work doesn’t equal overworking and burnout.
Namely, if you foster a work-life balance and set boundaries right, you can work from anywhere without the risk of burnout.
Still, you would have to communicate and collaborate with your employees effectively. To ensure you don’t step into their private sphere, you can use a separate business communication platform, such as Pumble.
It’s the easiest way to keep your work communication where it belongs — constrained to work hours.
5. Commit to Changing your Company’s Addiction to Busyness
Finally, be patient and persistent.
Change cannot happen overnight and changing a company’s culture takes time and effort from everyone involved. Aside from that, be realistic about your goals.
If your company celebrates workaholism, take baby steps in the process of changing your workplace culture.
Find out your optimal work mode and strive to realize it.
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