Reducing Engineer Burnout
CEO at Clockwise
Employee burnout is a problem many organizations face. Sometimes people are conscious enough of it to come to you and bring it up straight away. However, often what happens is that an employee will be lagging and they'll overestimate what they can actually get done.
"I once had an employee come to me and tell me that he only had time to do his engineering work if he worked after hours."
I asked him to talk more about the issue, because I didn't want him to have to do that. He explained that he felt like he had time in the day, but he wasn't getting anything done.
Together, we looked at his calendar and while there were pockets of time, they were spaced between numerous meetings, which meant it was difficult for him to focus on engineering. Because he was nice and wanted to be helpful he was being pulled into a number of different projects and was having numerous one-on-ones with different people.
We sat down and worked out what I could do to help. One step was me talking to recruiting to ensure they knew who they could use other than that engineer. We also discussed what he could do, and agreed that he needed to tell some of the people he was having one-on-ones with that he was willing to give advice but that he needed to do it on a more ad-hoc basis, as he didn't have time. Lastly, we put blocks of time on his calendar of time specifically for getting his engineering work done.
I also started to look at my team's calendar at the start of each week, to see what they were working on and to ensure they had the capacity to get their work done.
When faced with this sort of situation, it's really helpful to go through your reports obligations with them, to identify what they can do to improve the situation, and what you can do. It's also important to take time as a manager to look at what your reports are spending their time on, so you understand their obligations and can help to prevent burnout.
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CEO at Clockwise
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