By Makeida Antonio
Two experienced professionals have taken the time out to offer some timely coping strategies to those new to the world of work in Antigua and Barbuda.
The work environment has certainly changed due to Covid-19, resulting in some people completely working remotely, or in a blended format between home and the office, leaving employees facing increased levels of stress and uncertainty which may lead to a rise in burnout.
Burnout is a psychological term used to describe extreme exhaustion resulting from highly demanding jobs. The effects of burnout include prolonged fatigue, decline in work performance, and withdrawal from social activities.
Observer asked an entrepreneurial advocate as well as the CEO of the Nolan Hue Foundation, a non-profit organization geared towards professional development and how burnout happens here and how it can be addressed.
Local App Creator Elijah James has been a longtime champion for youth advocacy, particularly as it pertains to entrepreneurship.
James believes two major challenges facing new professionals are attempting to enter the job market by any means necessary to support themselves and their loved ones and an increased workload without compensation.
“One of the core problems behind this still remains that our education system still is chucking out the young people thinking they need to work for someone instead of entrepreneurship. Everyone is coming out the system competing many times for the exact same jobs, which leads to the desperation and settling into jobs they aren’t happy with or aren’t suited for and burnout becomes a consequence,” he said in an interview.
The CEO of Nolan Hue Foundation, Regis Burton, suggests workplaces across the country have an open mind towards the emergence of the 4-day work week, where workers provide less than the standard 40 hours a week but maintain the same pay and benefits. This has already been implemented in some European countries and US states such as California.
Additionally, Burton highlighted the importance of using vacation days to destress oneself to optimize peak performance.
He said vacations can paint a clear picture of why an employee may be experiencing burnout and provide an opportunity to implement improvements.
“Employees build up a lot of vacation days and they’re not forced or encouraged to go and take a vacation. But, when you look at the benefits of staying on the job from all different type of angles, burnout, performance, you get to have a clear mind and then you get to come back,” Burton explained.
Both James and Burton recommended that workplaces incorporate wellness activities into their organisations, including stretching, yoga, group walks and hiking as well as mandatory wellness sessions.
Here is a list of other solutions to manage or completely eliminate burnout that James created for young professionals and their managers:
1. Ensuring a clear understanding and expectations of their role in their workplace
2. Choosing a career one is passionate about to avoid eventually becoming bitter and burnt out.
3. Spreading the workload as best possible even if it means bringing in a temporary worker to help move things faster.
4. Sleeping, for employees, can better help them in their daily performance as lack of sleep affects performance.
5. Reviewing operations to ensure employees have the necessary tools or support to be productive and serve customers.
6. Work / Life balance so employees know when to leave work at work and not take it home.