A few quiet minutes in the morning can help with burnout, research suggests
- Workers who mentally reconnect to work each morning are more engaged on the job, according to a new study published in the Journal of Management, Science Daily reports. Charlotte Fritz, co-author and associate professor at Portland State University, told the publication that just as disconnecting from work helps people have greater satisfaction with life and avoid burnout, reconnecting with work helps employees plan for the tasks to be completed or challenges they might face. The study included 151 participants from several industries, Science Daily said.
- Fritz told Science Daily that employees can think about specific tasks that need to be done in the shower or during breakfast, mentally rehearse a talk with a supervisor while commuting or go over their to-do list while waiting in line for a coffee. Reconnecting depends on the person and can vary from day today, she said.
- The researchers recommended that employers help workers reconnect by developing routines to help them transition into the workday, allowing them some quiet minutes at the start of the day, initiating a short planning discussion about the workday, encouraging them to prioritize goals, and allowing them more autonomy to complete tasks.
Employment specialists recommend that employers encourage workers to take their allotted vacation time and digitally disconnect — mentally and physically — from the workplace. The goal, of course, is to help workers get relaxed and reinvigorated, reduce stress and avoid burnout so that they return to work focused and productive. Results from a 2018 study support this theory; workers who took sufficient time off were reportedly more engaged at work.
Although employers focus largely on helping workers disconnect from their jobs during non-work hours, helping them reconnect when they start their day can have just as positive an effect. Workers who are prepared for the workday have a greater chance of being engaged and productive on the job, the study showed. In the long-term, employers can use similar strategies to help employees returning from long leaves, such as taking time for caregiving duties or returning from medical leave.
The study also notes what other employers have been noticing for some time; giving workers more autonomy and control over their work tends to result in improved engagement.