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How to Reduce Employee Burnout with Workflow Automation

Posted 7th February 2022

Are you feeling tired or drained most of the time? Do you find yourself feeling cynical more than you’d like to?  Maybe you’ve started procrastinating more than usual?

If so, then you could be experiencing symptoms of burnout.

Officially recognised as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ by WHO in 2019, many employers are now trying to prevent and tackle increasing burnout in their workforce. But what is burnout and how does it happen? More importantly, what can businesses do to stop their employees from becoming burnt out?

In this blog, we’ll be answering these questions and more, as well as discussing how technology can help the fight against burnout.


What Is Burnout?

A type of prolonged work-related stress, Burnout refers to a collection of symptoms such as exhaustion, low motivation, irritable feelings and feeling overwhelmed. If left ignored, burnout could further harm your physical and mental health, with unmanaged stress leading to anxiety and depression. These symptoms can affect all areas of your life and can also impact your performance at work.

Sadly, burnout seems to be on the rise. According to a YouGov survey, around 46% of workers feel ‘more prone to extreme levels of stress than they did in March 2020’. The pandemic seems to have done a number on people’s energy, motivation, and stress levels.


How Does Burnout Develop?

The modern workplace can be full of stress triggers. Tight deadlines, big to-do lists, information overload and frustrations with technology can add up to create a high-stress environment. These were no doubt only amplified by the pandemic and the pressures of balancing home/work life.

Burnout arises from prolonged or under-managed stress at work. The body responds to stress in 3 stages, known as general adaptation syndrome (GAS).

  • Alarm reaction stage

The body’s initial reaction to stress activates the ‘flight, fight or freeze’ response and releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

  • Resistance stage

After this initial response, the body remains on high alert but starts to recover itself, releasing lower amounts of hormones.

  • Exhaustion stage

If the stressful situation continues, the body eventually loses the ability to fight these stressors and energy levels become drained. This is the stage where burnout can occur.


How Can We Beat Burnout?

Stress is a part of life. Sometimes it can’t be avoided, especially in the workplace. Learning how to manage stress is therefore important. Things like lifestyle management, self-care and mindfulness are all things individuals can do to help manage their stress levels, not only in the workplace but also in everyday life.

Yet with burnout now affecting such a large proportion of the UK workforce, businesses also need to do their bit to promote employee wellbeing and create a positive working environment. Whilst this often involves workplace initiatives and policies, businesses can also utilise technology to help create better, and less stressful ways of working.


How Automating Your Workflows Can Help Prevent Burnout

Since the dawn of time, innovations and technologies have helped to make the way we work and live easier. Yet sometimes the things that are meant to help us, can become more of a hindrance. The modern office is jam-packed with business technology and admin processes that are meant to make the working day easier.

But the lack of collaboration between these disjointed workflows and manual processes can actually be a source of stress, frustration, and burnout for your employees. By adding simple automation to your daily processes, you can create efficient ways of working that empower employees, instead of stressing them out.

Here are 5 ways that automating your workflows can help avoid employee burnout.


1) Minimises Repetitive and Dull Tasks

Every office will have daily administrative tasks that need to be ticked off the to-do list. But could these low-value tasks be causing your employees to feel overworked and stressed out?

While these may seem like simple responsibilities, they can actually be time-consuming and demoralising. Before you know it, your employees are bogged down carrying out repetitive and dull tasks for a large chunk of their working hours.

Stressed and unfulfilled employees are more prone to burnout. Using automation can eliminate those repetitive actions and unnecessary steps from your workflow. This not only allows employees to work smarter, not harder, it also frees up time to better develop new or different aspects of their job.


2) Streamlines Administrative Processes

No matter what industry you’re in, it takes a lot of administration to keep a business going. Yet cluttered and siloed processes can be stressful for employees to manage. They could also have things on their to-do list that they simply struggle to get done thanks to time-consuming administration. Why waste time and money on these inefficient processes?

Adding automation improves collaboration between your software and applications, allowing you to create efficient and streamlined workflows. With cleaner processes and automated elements, you allow employees to use their time more efficiently, so they have greater control of their workload and professional life.


3) Reduces Unnecessary Equipment

Effective automation can only be implemented if your processes are entirely digital. Moving towards this ‘digital ecosystem’ can also help to reduce the day-to-day pressures on your employees. And it helps to reduce the one thing most employees hate: managing physical paperwork and having to deal with outdated technologies such as printers, scanners and even fax machines.

We all know how annoying it is when the printer or fax machine stops working during the day. Moving to a digital and automated way of working makes frustrations like these a thing of the past and means your employees can work exclusively in an efficient digital sphere.


4) Reduce Error Rates

Everyone makes mistakes, even the most focused and accurate employees. Yet mistakes can cost businesses time, money, and effort to fix that mistake. As a result, some businesses can monitor error rates. Whilst this is just a normal part of the business world, it can also put employees under stress to perform perfectly 24/7. People aren’t computers, however, and mistakes can still happen.

By automating your workflow, you immediately reduce the amount of manual intervention in your processes. As a result, the chance for human error goes down. In this respect, automation can help to reduce your business error rate, whilst also eliminating unrealistic expectations and pressure on employees.


5) Improve Communication

For any business, communicating with colleagues and clients is a part of everyday office life. Yet sometimes, keeping everyone in the loop can seem like a full-time job. Sending emails, using CRMs and posting on collaborative software can all take time out of your day. Managing all these communications can also be stressful- and if not done correctly can result in miscommunication, confusion and frustration in your team.

Harnessing automation across your business applications and software ultimately makes collaboration and communicating much simpler. With automatic updates on your CRM, instant notifications sent to colleagues and much more, you can streamline and declutter your business communications, reducing the workload and stress for employees.


Why E-Sign for Automation?

We appreciate that there are quite a few document management systems out there. Here’s why we think you should choose us to help you increase automation and reduce employee burnout:

Easy Connectors for Simple Automation

With our connectors, we’ve ensured that our document platform can collaborate with a range of popular business applications. Use pre-set ‘triggers’ and ‘actions’ to add elements of automation in your document and e-sign signature processes. View our connector partners here.

User-Friendly Document Platform

To make life easier for you and your employees, you need technology that’s easy to implement and simple to use. The E-Sign platform is cloud-based and can be accessed from an Internet browser. Simply drag and drop editable elements onto your documents and create contracts for signing with just a few clicks.

Everything You Need, in One Place

E-Sign is so much more than just an electronic signature. Offering a payment gateway, ID checker web forms and personalised emails, the E-Sign platform has everything you need to encourage productive and efficient working- without causing extra stress for your employees.

Find out how to electronically sign a PDF here.

E-Sign is a leading provider of digital transaction management solutions, supplying professional services including Electronic Signatures, Web Forms, ID Checker, Verification Tools, Personalised Emails, API and Payment Processing to businesses of all sizes across the UK.

To find out more about our E-Sign solutions and how they could transform your business, get in touch with us today.

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