How to Avoid Year-End Burnout

The final quarter of the year is here, and you’ve still got deadlines to meet, stuffed calendars, financial targets to achieve and team strategies to align for the next year. Even the holiday season can’t seem to make up for work-related exhaustion, stress, and anxiety. Long work hours and ever-growing to-do lists can take a toll and cause burnout for even the most hardworking and consistent employees.

Here are some tips to avoid year-end burnout, so you can peacefully enjoy the holiday season:

1. Prepare a “Priority List” – There will be several tasks to complete before the year-end but focus your attention and time on the essentials. Prepare a comprehensive “Priority list” that pushes you to complete tasks based on urgency. It’s important to understand what is crucial and time-sensitive before the year-end and what you can hold back until the new year.

2. Use Your Vacation Days – Spend time with friends and family and unplug completely on your days off. Breaks are important to energize your mind and boost productivity. A change of environment enhances creativity and sparks new energy into your work.

3. Schedule Me Time – Recharge your mind and body with a focused work out. Indulge in outdoor activities to fuel enthusiasm and build motivation. Bike rides, walks, yoga, and meditation are great stress busters. Additionally, schedule free time on your calendar and stick to it. It’s crucial to take some time out for yourself, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day.

4. It’s okay to say “NO” – Don’t take on more work than you can handle. It’s easy to say “YES” to everything and wanting to be that person to help others. Set clear boundaries on the things you can and cannot do. If you can’t physically and mentally spearhead another project, it’s better to say “NO” early on than feeling guilty for not meeting expectations.

Year-end burnout is real, but avoidable. Remember that you’re not alone. Confide in a colleague or manager. Be aware of your breaking point and take proactive measures to ensure that you don’t stretch yourself too thin.

Return to Work Anxiety: How to Help Your Employees

As governments loosen restrictions, many employers have begun developing plans to ensure that employees are brought back to an office setting safely. This includes operational and logistical considerations, setting up employee schedules, elevator usage policies and much more. But it’s important to also address and plan for how to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety around the return to work.

These uncertain times have taken a toll on the mental health of many employees, affecting future productivity and engagement levels. According to a survey conducted by KRC Research and Weber Shandwick, 45 per cent of employees are afraid that their employer will bring them back to the office before it is safe. Additionally, only 34 per cent of employees feel safe returning to work when there is a vaccine or treatment and 52 per cent of employees have growing concerns about the future of their company and their role.

Here are few tips that can help employers strategize for the new normal and address return-to work anxiety:

1. Communicate transparently and regularly
Consistent two-way communication is key to managing employee anxiety. Ensure that your teams receive regular updates about company performance, ongoing initiatives and any business-related information. Keep employees abreast of information that is critical to their role and to the success of your organization. Endorse transparency and engage teams to be a part of the growing conversation.

2. Implement Recommended Public Health Measures
Employees need to be aware of how the company is implementing, monitoring and enforcing government recommended public health measures. CDC provides a comprehensive guideline to help businesses and employers respond to COVID19 within the workplace. Provide your employees with assurance that preventive steps are being taken, closely monitor developments and update protocols as the situation evolves.

3. Provide training to leadership teams
Employees will depend on their managers and leaders to ensure a smooth back to work transition. Organize virtual training sessions that focus on managing a hybrid workforce, developing emotional intelligence and building a collaborative work culture. Arm your leaders with the necessary resources and tools to effectively address employee anxiety over return to work and provide healthy ways to cope with it.

4. Be Flexible
If your company has implemented remote work, consider surveying your employees to see how they feel about continuing that arrangement for a definitive period of time. Gauge the success of your remote work experiment by monitoring the productivity and engagement levels. Employees will expect flexibility, particularly if they are looking after children and parents. For employees that thrive better in an office setting, evaluate and plan for hybrid working arrangements.

Protecting Your Employee Rights: Understanding Workplace Standards

Knowledge is power, so being cognizant of your employee rights is a crucial measure to protect yourself against getting taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers. Understand your rights as an employee – learn more about the workplace standards employers are required to adhere to under Canadian federal and provincial regulations:

Protection Against Discrimination 

Under the Employment Equity Act, all employees in Canada have the right to not be denied employment or benefits due to discrimination against being in historically disadvantaged minorities, such as “women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.” This legislature also “requires special measures and the accommodation of differences,” so if there are barriers to employment that are out of your control due to being part of a minority group, your employer must work with you to develop reasonable solutions to overcome them. 

Protection Against Sexual Harassment

While on the job, you have the right to work in conditions free of sexual harassment. According to the Canada Labour Code, this includes: “anything likely to cause offence or humiliation or that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on any opportunity for training or promotion.” A toxic workplace that permits sexual harassment to occur without consequences or punishes victims for coming forward is violating employee rights.

Work Time

Unless you enter into an agreement electronically or in writing with your employer, you have the right to not be made to work more than the established daily shift limit (typically eight hours, but standard daily shifts may be longer in certain industries). Even if you do agree to work longer daily or weekly hours, you have the right to be paid overtime. If you are not in a federally regulated industry, work time limits are set at the provincial level, so verify your exact rights with the Ministry of Labor if you work in Ontario.

Sick Leave

You have the right as an employee to take up to three days of unpaid sick leave per calendar year, while still having your job protected under the ESA. If you only take part of the day off because of illness or injury, you still have the right to be paid for the hours you did work that day. Your employer cannot deny your right to take sick leave, regardless of how the illness or injury occurred or whether you were at fault.

Termination Notice and Pay

If you work in Ontario and are not a federal employee, if your employer ever makes the decision to terminate your employment, they have to do so under the provisions of the Employment Standards Act (ESA). You must be given appropriate notice, determined by your length of employment (see ESA termination notice chart) or if not, you must receive termination pay to make up for the lack of notice.

Never settle for working for an employer that doesn’t value your rights

If you’re interested in finding new accounting, finance, administrative or HR job opportunities, PTC Recruiting can help. For nearly 30 years, PTC’s team of experienced recruiters has been working with job seekers to match them with positions from top employers throughout GTA and southern Ontario. Search our available jobs now to get started.