The Great Exhaustion: Don’t Let it Get Your Company Down

It is clear that the ongoing energy crisis and increasing costs of living have made work-related fatigue worse. In addition, a recent viral trend called “silent leaving” has employees quietly refusing to go above and above at work. Going beyond The Great Resignation, we are now in “The Great Exhaustion,” and many businesses are finding it difficult to find and keep talent.

The Great Exhaustion is referred to as “large numbers of the workforce experiencing an absolute, overwhelming feeling of emotional exhaustion.” Employees around the globe feel like their tanks are running dry, and they’re struggling to fill up the reservoir.


fighting great exhaustion

The Employee/Employer Relationship Has Shifted

At this stage, we’re all sick of hearing about the after-effects of the global pandemic but unfortunately, there are some issues that can’t be swept under the rug. In the last few years, there’s been a huge shift to remote work. At the same time, already demanding jobs became even more so. According to Microsoft, managers and business leaders have systematically increased the frequency of meetings, notifications, and communications. This erodes employees’ ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Workers claim that as their weekly hours spent in front of computers climb, the initial independence of working from home has quickly been overtaken by digital overload.

Additionally, companies have had to deal with the challenge of quickly upskilling staff so they could transition to remote work and maintain high productivity. Due to the pressure to succeed, upskilling has a significant cost and frequently comes at the expense of employee wellbeing.

After the pandemic, this tense employer-employee relationship has come into harsh light. Employees are now more frequently asking  questions like:

  • How important should work be?
  • How should employers behave toward them?
  • What are they really looking for in a job?

Workers are reevaluating their “psychological contract” with their employers, which is the agreement they make on what they will receive in return for their labor, time, and effort.

What Do the Effects of the Great Exhaustion Mean for the Workplace?

A workforce with a high turnover rate is less skilled. People who change occupations need to be onboarded and upskilled, which is a time-consuming and costly undertaking.

In order to alter their life goals and ambitions, many professionals are engaging in a practice known as “career downsizing,” accepting less demanding tasks and responsibilities for less money. If this pattern persists, there will be a significant skills gap that companies will need to strive to fill.

While the Great Resignation is anticipated to slow down, the culture of career-changing is anticipated to endure as employees grow less loyal to their employers. When employees don’t feel appreciated by their employers, this issue is very prevalent.

Why continue working at a job that is unfulfilling when there are other options available, especially in the UK where job openings reached a record high of 1.3 million in the three months leading up to May 2022?

Companies are finding this workforce volatility to be a real challenge, and they need to concentrate on employee retention to upskill personnel and avoid the time-consuming process of having to regularly replace job-leavers.

Businesses need to step up efforts to retain employees in order to offset the negative impacts of high turnover, which threatens to last for years to come.

How Can Companies Tackle the Issue?

Employers cannot afford to ignore this problem in the current talent war, especially when it comes to deskless workers, who account for 80% of the global workforce but are frequently overlooked. Nonetheless, it might be challenging to overcome this obstacle in the face of a challenging economic climate. To better support deskless workers and lessen the effects of The Great Exhaustion, companies can adopt five fairly straightforward steps.

1. Put an End to the “Always On” Culture

The culture of the “always on” workplace is over. Employers must end any workplace culture that promotes long hours as the norm because there is no nobility in working yourself to exhaustion.

Breaking up should be deliberately promoted. For instance, even though employees frequently have paid time off (PTO), many of them avoid using it because they worry about what will happen if they take a break. Yet, getting enough sleep is important and can boost productivity. Make sure management keep an eye on and promote PTO usage among their staff. Also, it is crucial for management and executives to set an example for their staff members so they feel empowered to disconnect and recharge.

2. Be More Open and Communicative

Employers shouldn’t presume to know what their employees are going through. To acquire a true image, active listening and empathy are necessary. Ask questions and pay attention to employee feedback before making judgments. Receiving feedback can be challenging, but it’s crucial to make sure staff members feel understood and educated. Maintain open channels of communication, be receptive to criticism, and show humility to promote a good work-life balance and ward off overwork and burnout.

This is crucial when taking into account workers who may not work in offices but rather are part of the deskless workforce. Getting deskless employees involved, such as those in manufacturing, retail, or the healthcare industry, can promote a feeling of connection among all employees. Additionally, it may guarantee that all employees have access to resources, timely communication, and a tailored experience.

Consistent contact between deskless workers, their manager, and their teams is the first step in closing the communication gap between them and the organization.

3. Foster a Real Connection

Employees who are burnt out may withdraw from their group and organization. This may have a negative effect on workers’ feelings of belonging and raise stress levels at work.

Building a link for honest communication is the first step in creating a happy team. Leadership must therefore come up with novel ways to communicate and guarantee that all employees, even those without desks, feel encouraged and involved. Managers and team leads should stay in touch with deskless workers to detect problems and recognize successes in real time, according to learning and development (L&D) leaders.

Using data to enable targeted and timely interactions, contemporary workforce communication solutions can improve employees’ workday experiences. It’s important to empower stronger interpersonal ties in a distributed workplace in addition to tracking employee hours and productivity.

4. Be More Flexible

Many office workers today have more freedom when it comes to choosing their working hours and location. The harsh reality is that not all tasks can be completed remotely or with the same degree of flexibility as others.

There are other methods for businesses to give deskless workers more control over their schedules, even while the realities of flexible work may not be viable for everyone. Just implementing computerized scheduling to facilitate shift switching can help. These skills can be made possible and employee preferences can be taken into account with the help of a contemporary workforce management solution. For deskless workers specifically, this can make all the difference in fostering a more autonomous working atmosphere.\

5. Use Data to Create Balance

Workforce management systems can assist a variety of burnout prevention strategies including enhancing employee safety, wellbeing, and work-life balance as well as supplying more L&D opportunities. Such management systems can also track the number of hours worked, the tasks completed, the breaks taken, and the PTO used to identify workers who may be at risk of burnout and provide managers real-time remedies.

The information obtained through this technology can, most crucially, offer the insights required to guarantee that all deskless workers are recognized, heard, and supported. Employers can create cultures where burnout is eradicated and replaced by an engaged staff, wherever they may be based, by attending to these fundamentals.

No matter how you look at it, the Great Exhaustion is a very real issue. Managers and team leaders today should concentrate on strategies to prevent burnout before it can impact the company’s financial performance and the mental wellness of its workforce. Learning leaders can help productive and enthusiastic deskless teams by following these five simple actions.