- Burnout is acute stress and exhaustion caused by external pressures, feeling overwhelmed, and emotional instability.
- Employers have a duty of responsibility to look out for their team’s health and wellbeing. There are some simple steps we can all take to protect our teams.
- Statista indicates that two of the top reasons for burnout are work-related struggles or our own high self-expectations.
- Three core tips for avoiding burnout are: Improving your sleep pattern, implementing a strong work/life balance, and keeping active.
- To protect their employees, employers should: Ensure there are proper resource and time management plans in place, set the expectations of the working day, try not to reach out to employees outside of this working time, promote team activity and ensure workers take time to switch-off.
Digital is the driving force of our modern world, and although this is fantastic for business growth and success it also means that organisations are expecting high-performance levels from their digital marketing teams. However, constantly putting in longer-hours and increasing our workloads cannot always be sustained.
Protecting yourself, your colleagues and your employees from becoming exhausted, disconnected or sick is a must for people working within the digital marketing industry. Our industry is so fast-paced and exciting it’s easy to get caught up in it all, but this can be more detrimental in the long run.
After 12 years of working in digital marketing, I’ve experienced moments of burnout and had to work to develop a healthy working balance that focuses on productivity, outcome, and results. So, how can digital marketers avoid burning themselves out? And, what are the steps that employers can take to ensure they are protecting their team? Here are my top tips:
What Is Burnout?
Firstly, let’s define what it is we’re actually speaking about. Burnout is a feeling of acute exhaustion caused by excessive or prolonged stress or when someone is overwhelmed and emotionally drained.
So, why is burnout so common in digital marketing? Well, the stakes are high, the workload tends to be thick and fast and with emails, notifications, phone calls, and client demands coming thick and fast, we can quite easily begin to feel overwhelmed.
Plus, research by Statista indicates that two of the top reasons for burnout are work-related struggles or our own high self-expectations. Digital marketers are often their own worst critics and we tend to give ourselves high-expectations for results. Although aiming high is a fantastic motivator, we also have to be realistic and measure our workload and expectations accordingly. Otherwise, overburdening ourselves and burning out can lead to a decline in creativity and results.
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How To Avoid Burnout
For digital marketers and creatives to survive in this industry and see long term results for their work, we all need to shift our focus towards resource management and quality work time. It’s no good giving yourself a 14-hour day with no clear plan of what your priorities are and how you’ll ensure you’re giving each task your all. Remember, you’ve got to work smart.
1. More Sleep
“Early to bed early to rise” is a routine all digital marketers should try to foster to ensure a greater sense of clarity and creativity is achieved in the day.
Getting a good 8 hours of sleep each night will help you feel refreshed and focused throughout the day as your body isn’t running on empty.
A top tip for helping reset a good sleeping pattern is to set your alarm half an hour earlier each morning until you reach your ideal rising time.
2. Better Work/Life Balance for More Productivity
We’re all guilty of responding to a late-night email or continuing to work on a pressing project into the night, and although sometimes late finishes are necessary, this shouldn’t be the norm. Setting yourself a clear end of your workday, getting up and walking away from your computer is crucial for avoiding burnout.
Giving yourself downtime and a chance to rest and recuperate is vital, especially for digital marketers who’s focus needs to maintain a fresh creative, and strategical approach. This creative energy is maintained by giving yourself a chance to unwind and re-process. Often, the best time to refresh is when completing everyday life tasks like loading the dishwasher or pottering around the house. This is valuable brain re-fresh time, and will help you be more focused and productive during your working day.
3. Get Moving
The smallest of physical changes can revolutionise your productivity output, and no you don’t have to block off 3 hours to run a marathon to get the endorphin hit that comes with exercise. Simply scheduling moments throughout your day to stretch, move around and go for a walk outside is enough to help keep your body and mind engaged throughout the day.
Try starting your day with a 10-20-minute full-body stretch to prepare you for the day. Then, throughout your day, make sure you’re actively getting up from your desk to move your body to avoid falling into a slump.
Adding a 20-minute walk outside into your lunch break would do wonders for both your body and mind as you take the time to re-engage your body, breathe in the fresh air, and give your brain the oxygen it needs to be productive.
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How To Prevent Employee Burnout?
If you’re an employer looking to help maintain the health, wellbeing, and productivity of your staff, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure they avoid burnout. Firstly, helping them follow the above three steps to promote a healthy work-life balance, for example, trying to avoid emailing or messaging outside of work hours.
Here are some top tips that have helped the A-team and allow each member of the team to flourish:
Time & Resource Management
At Absolute Digital Media, we are now a fully remote working agency and this can be difficult for maintaining a healthy work balance and ensuring a productive outcome. However, with an emphasis on effective resource management, we have managed to increase our productivity output and maintain a strong sense of wellness within the agency.
To help your employees channel their productivity and avoid feeling overwhelmed, try investing in a time management tool, such as Wrike. A management tool will help identify which tasks are a priority, the time and effort required for each task and what each employees’ workload is like, therefore helping managers to not overload their colleagues. We also implemented a set 8 hour a day system, whereby employees are notified if their workload is over 8 hours and encouraged to reassign tasks to another day.
We’re big on team connectivity and bringing everyone together for ‘Feel Good Fridays’, team games, team training and more. Scheduling in regular opportunities for team discussion, group learning, and honest feedback is a great way of grounding everyone in the team and reminding them that we all share the goals and pressures of the industry – a problem shared is a problem halved, right?
We are also committed to promoting an active lifestyle and have recently started ‘Absolute Sweat’ Wednesdays, where we all participate in a Zoom workout for 30 mins at the start of the workday. I know that investing in your teams’ health and wellbeing is a worthy cause and will help promote productive working throughout the week. That’s why giving everyone the opportunity to actively move within the working day seemed like a no brainer and a fantastic way to reduce stress and boost clarity.
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Reduced Screen Time
Alongside actively encouraging employees to clock-off at the end of the day, we have also implemented a library system to help everyone take some time away from their screens at the end of the day but still be actively learning about the industry.
The digital marketing industry is constantly buzzing with learning and updates, from email newsletters to blog posts (hello!), social media updates and articles, there are countless ways to consume information, but most of these involve staring at a screen and this can cause fatigue. Our library system helps give our employees an opportunity to feed their drive for industry learning but also switch off from the computer for a moment and delve into the pages of a real-life book.
— Sophie Brannon (@SophieBrannon) January 16, 2021
Plus, research has shown that learners are more likely to retain information read from a text on paper rather than a screen, proving that taking time away from the buzz of technology will in fact benefit your employee learning and output.
Finally, remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup. So, employers and employees alike need to take time to ensure they have the resources, energy, and creativity to channel into their work to produce outstanding results.
How do you combat digital marketing burnout?
For more information, or to find out how we can help with your digital marketing, call the Absolute Digital Media team on 0800 088 6000, today.