Searches for the signs of burnout have increased by over 221% in the last three months, likely caused by more people working remotely and the lines between work and home life becoming blurred. For many CX leaders, having to manage a team with a remote or hybrid work environment has meant adapting the way they engage with team members. However, with 28% of employees reporting that they have felt burned out “very often” or “always” at work, occupational burnout is a clear issue for many, CX and operations teams included. To help CX leaders help their team members, we have created a comprehensive guide to avoiding burnout and managing stress and frustration within the workplace.
What is occupational burnout and why CX team leaders need to watch out for it
The World Health Organization describes occupational burnout as a “syndrome [...] resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Symptoms often include energy depletion or exhaustion, a mental distancing from one’s job, negative feelings or cynicism relating to one’s job and a reduction in productivity or professional efficacy. Very quickly, burnout in one CX agent can begin to affect the whole team, leading to productivity declines, targets being missed, and usually, enthusiastic team members becoming apathetic.
Burnout is a growing problem. In a survey of 1,500 American workers in 2021, over half (52%) respondents are experiencing burnout and 67% believed the feeling had only worsened over the pandemic. The pandemic has been a stressful time for many and as companies and CX teams adapt to the future of work, it’s important for CX team leaders to have the right tools to help their teams, as well as themselves, navigate and find a balance for a productive work life.
How to recognize occupational burnout within your CX team
Recognizing burnout symptoms within your team can allow CX leaders to help agents and manage workloads for those who might be suffering or beginning to feel burnout. Burnout can look a little different for everyone, but for many, low energy levels and low productivity is a key sign. Get to know your team so you can recognize symptoms of occupational burnout.
Burnout for your CX team might look like:
- Higher negativity or cynicism at or about work.
- Agents becoming irritable with co-workers or customers.
- A drop in productivity levels.
- Agents arriving or logging in late or having trouble getting started.
- A reduction in creative ideas or inputs from agents.
- Lack of concentration.
Team members may only have one symptom or many. Dips in productivity are not uncommon but be aware of long term changes in agents’ behaviors and the signs of burnout.
What are the common causes of occupational burnout?
Burnout is rarely caused by just one thing, with various factors contributing to fatigue and job burnout. Struggling with work-life balance or having a heavy workload with long hours often harming mental health within the workplace. However, factors within the workplace itself can also often lead to occupational burnout.
CX leaders should be careful to manage factors such as:
- Job expectations: What is expected of agents, especially if expectations are unclear or change as the job evolves.
- Lack of support: Either from colleagues or higher management, feeling isolated at work is likely to lead an agent to feel more stressed.
- Lack of control: Both in personal and professional life, feeling always out-of-control in your own life and inability to influence decisions within work.
- Dynamics in the workplace: Dysfunctional relationships, such as cliques or bullies can lead team members to feel isolated and contribute to job stress.
Check-in with your team as often as you think is beneficial to see if any of these issues are affecting your agents, allowing you to get on top of them before they spiral into burnout.
How to help those in your team suffering from occupational burnout
Despite measures taken, occupational burnout is not always avoidable and in those cases, managers need the tools to help their CX agents. Getting to know your team members and encouraging open communication about issues at work, as well as making well-being part of your office culture are great first steps to avoiding, and managing, workplace burnout.
To help with burnout, introduce other measures such as:
- Encouraging teamwork, even when working remotely. Teams that work together to solve issues and come up with creative solutions are less likely to feel overwhelmed and isolated within their work. It also allows your agents to learn from one another and flag any issues they may be having to other team members who may be able to help.
- Wherever possible, remind agents that what they do is valuable to the company. Being valued in one’s job is a contributing factor to job satisfaction. Wherever it feels right, remind agents that they are at the forefront of the company and that customer experience is a leading factor in a company's success; what they do makes a difference.
- Recognize that 100% productivity is not achievable. CX agents need breaks and will have off days. Pushing a team to work beyond their limits will be detrimental to productivity in the long run. If you want more information about productivity benchmarks for CX teams, download our 2021 Customer Operations Benchmark Report.
- Know your team's strengths and allow them to use them within their everyday work. Employees who have the opportunity to do what they do best are 57% less likely to experience burnout frequently. Get to know your team members working styles and strengths and wherever possible, assign work that suits their skill set.
Communication is key when it comes to helping those suffering from work burnout and inspiring your teams to work to their best without feeling overwhelmed or out of control.
How Fin can help CX leaders recognize and avoid burnout
Managing a team of people, especially remotely, is not an easy task. CX leaders need the right tools and solutions to be able to help their CX team be the best they can be, and that’s where Fin comes in. Fin is a turnkey browser plugin that reveals all the ways that agents work across SaaS applications for powerful out-of-the-box insights to continuously improve agent training, processes, and technology. We help to create happy, productive teams that are empowered to deliver better customer experiences, without sacrificing their wellbeing.
Fin has many features that can help managers avoid team burnout, such as:
- The ability to create a productivity baseline. Because Fin collects data such as true average handling times (AHT) for your team, you have a reliable baseline to work from. Now you can recognize when productivity is decreasing, even when agents are working from home or remotely and get ahead of the problem before it’s out of control.
- User annotations allow for quick fixes. Avoid frustrations within your CX team by streamlining your workflow and updating training and surface problems by enabling user annotations from agents to notify management of any technology problems allows problems to be solved quickly and helps agents get on with their work.
- Recognize and reward high performing team members. Fin allows you to get an unbiased picture of who your top talent is, allowing you to reward those who are doing well and offer support to those who need it.
If you want to know more about how you can support your CX team to avoid occupational burnout with the help of Fin’s work insights platform, get in touch with our team today.