Mathew J Maniyamkott
When you have your own startup, you would want your employees to work with their full potential. Burning the midnight oil when there is an emergency is all right unless it becomes a daily affair. But business owners need to understand that there is a wafer thin line between working to the highest potential and burnout. You do not want your employees to burnout because of overwork, stress, or any extraneous factors.
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When your employees believe that working longer hours every day is the norm, then you have already crossed a line. No amount of monetary benefit can trump the effects of mental stress. Here’s how managers/startup owners can create an environment where employees don’t have to overwork:
Set clear goals to employees because in some of the cases, employees are not really sure what they have to accomplish. When there’s uncertainty, people will not be able to understand how much is necessary. This is how employees will begin to start sitting in the office for long hours because it can be shown as time spent working while it may not be the case. Have a discussion with your employees as to what is necessary and what is expected of them. Tell them putting in extra work hours is necessary only when there is an emergency. Tell them progress will only be tracked based on the performance and not on the number of hours at the office.
Tell your employees that work will always be there and that it is important to take care of family matters as well. If you see an employee who looks completely burnt out, encourage them to spend time outside of work along with their families. As long as they are able to produce quality output, do not cringe every time they say they have to leave a little early for a family emergency or even to go to the gym. You, as an employer, should also have a work-life balance. You should act as a role model for your employee in this case.
Imagine this, your employees are working hard for your startup, putting their effort day in and day out and you don’t have a nice word to tell them. Forget about being overworked, they would lose the minimum motivation required to do their daily tasks. Even if it is a mundane task that required some sort of effort, take the time to appreciate it. If you find a well written email, appreciate it. Think of nice things to say and do it genuinely.
Consider having ‘employee of the month’ award or any nicely worded award that employees would love to have their name on. Plan an impromptu celebration if a project is finished – nothing flashy, anything that shows you care is enough. Also, take the time to acknowledge everyone on the team by celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, and take the time out of your day to talk to them personally. It never hurts to tell your employees that you appreciate everything they do for the company.
Making sure your employees are in the pink of health is the prerogative of each employer. If they are not well, it takes a beating on the company’s productivity and this is why you should genuinely care. Take them out on small trips, meet their families, have a nice little chat with their children. There are positives and negatives of an employee, focus on the positive side and ignore the negative side unless it is a big problem. Unless employers are getting extra pay as a motivating factor for working late, try to reduce overtime as much as possible. Follow these steps and you are golden!