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4 common causes of burnout among warehouse workers (And what to do about it)

12/15/2021

4 common causes of burnout among warehouse workers (And what to do about it)

Maintaining the productivity of your warehouse workforce is essential to your business's success, but employee burnout can be a huge barrier to this. Chronic workplace stress can lead to physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted employees who are more prone to accidents and mishaps. Common signs and symptoms of employee burnout include:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Trouble focusing
  • Decreased productivity

A recent survey by Indeed found that 52% of respondents reported feeling burned out at work, and 67% said the pandemic has only exasperated this feeling. Identifying the causes of burnout and addressing these issues is crucial to the health of your business and its employees.

1. Leadership is lacking
Poor management can overwhelm your employees and leave them feeling anxious and confused about their duties. Especially in the warehouse industry, this confusion can lead to mistakes that cost time and money and cause serious injury.

To avoid this, managers should regularly discuss role responsibilities and performance goals with their employees and work with them to meet company expectations. Quality leadership requires managers to closely monitor employee schedules and workloads and effectively communicate with their team members to ensure an efficient, productive workflow.

2. Workloads are unmanageable
When managers consistently overload their employees, it causes excessive stress that quickly leads to burnout. As a result, even highly skilled employees can quickly become discouraged, leading to poor performance and dissatisfaction.

According to a 2021 study published in the Kansas Journal of Medicine, "higher stress scores [are] significantly associated with lower productivity scores." This means that when employees are overburdened with immense workloads, their stress directly affects your bottom line. As a warehouse manager, it is your job to ensure each employee is not being overworked.

3. Expectations are too high
Setting performance goals is a normal part of any business; it promotes hard work and allows you to gage workflow efficiency. However, unreasonably high expectations often have the opposite effect. When employees cannot feasibly meet their deadlines, they begin to feel demotivated and lose satisfaction in their work.

To prevent your employees from experiencing chronic fatigue and panicking about deadlines and performance goals, be sure to check in with them from time to time and ask about their workload. Don't put all your high-priority tasks on your most skilled workers. Instead, try spreading the work out across your team and encourage collaboration.

4. Employees lack a work-life balance
When employees spend all of their time and effort fulfilling quotas, it leaves little room for activities outside of work, increasing dissatisfaction and stress. It should go without saying, but your employees are people too; they have friends, family and other commitments outside of their job, which requires their attention.

As their manager, it's your responsibility to enforce reasonable work hours and regular breaks. Encourage your employees to engage in activities outside of work and ensure that they have the time and energy to do so. Consider setting up informal gatherings outside of work hours to help your employees relax and take their minds off the job.