The American workplace is under enormous stress and burnout due to the fallout from the pandemic. Recent search conducted at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy cites burnout as “one of the main reasons local governments struggle to retain workers and operate effectively.” The study found that racialized and marginalized groups – people of color, women and members of the LGBTQ community were the most overstressed. The study further found that red tape is adding to worker stress and that if the trend is not reversed, worker exodus could threaten the government’s ability to deliver essential services. Business leaders have a responsibility to prevent and reduce burnout and stress while improving productivity at the same time, which can be a difficult task. But innovations are emerging through several modalities.
A growing solution to the burnout conundrum, especially in government jobs, is telecommuting. While some companies continue to shrug off the notion of remote and hybrid working and insist that employees return to the office, data scientists at Scales insist that the writing be on the wall. Remote work is here to stay. According to their projections, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022, and remote opportunities will continue to increase through 2023.
After initially opposing telecommuting for employees, the federal government has made a major shift toward more telecommuting opportunities, according to Jim Perry, distinguished professor emeritus at the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Washington. Indiana University. “I think we kind of learn from the recent past,” he said. Although change is not happening as quickly as some hope, local governments “are quite capable” of adapting to the expectations of today’s modern workforce.
Another innovative strategy to prevent burnout is the introduction of smart offices in the public sector that offer solutions for levels of burnout and efficiency. A smart office is a high-tech hybrid workplace with a human touch. Ensuring that employees remain productive while avoiding burnout is a top priority for many public sectors and businesses. “One way to achieve this”, according to Tom Ruthvice president of Quuppa, “is to invest in a smart office space.” Smart offices are all the rage right now and promise to deliver a previously unimaginable level of connectivity that will help people work more efficiently and productively. They achieve this through a variety of technologies, including automated processes, AI, analytical tools, indoor positioning, and time counters that allow people to work on higher-value tasks rather than on repetitive or menial tasks.
Location services, one of the connectivity technologies used in smart offices, allows employees to be tracked to identify areas where time may be wasted and safely encourage social interactions. Introducing connectivity can help employees enjoy the office environment more and improve their efficiency to reduce repeated feelings of burnout. “When fully implemented across an entire office space, these technologies can significantly reduce burnout rates by enabling a more organized work environment where staff can easily communicate with each other, delegate tasks and receive feedback. notifications when potentially overworked,” Ruth said. “This in turn leads to a more efficient workspace that benefits everyone.”
Custom Zoom Meditations
A few years ago, Carson Finkle, founder of Create a meditation, experienced an intense panic attack brought on by entrepreneurial anxiety. After using the breath to overcome her burnout, Finkle designed personalized meditations – both for individuals and large groups – to help other stressed professionals. Creative Meditation helps stressed professionals break free from the mindset of the culture of constant restlessness by guiding them through personalized meditation sessions that combine breathing, personalized music with mindfulness techniques in a distinctive and tailor-made experience. I strongly believe that any meditation or breathing you do is beneficial to your well-being,” he said. “The breath has the power to calm the nervous system and bring us back to the present moment.”
Through Zoom meditations in the comfort of their own homes, clients are invited to sessions to reduce bullying (especially for new clients). Finkle guides the breath to help calm the nervous system, ending with a slow return to normal breathing and future visualizations. What puts someone at risk of burnout? “They are great at Dobut not great for beingFinkle explained. “They are so focused on the next task – climbing one mountain after another – that they forget to think about the present moment. They forget to think about themselves. They forget to breathe.
He works one-on-one with business leaders and entrepreneurs and offers group sessions for companies, many of whom are experiencing symptoms of burnout (whether they know it or not). The restlessness mentality that led to his own burnout-induced panic attack four years ago is responsible for launching Create Meditation. “My clients come into our sessions with stressors that I know of – work stress, financial stress, feeling inadequate and worrying about current economic/global affairs,” he said. “To help them relieve stress and become more present and empowered versions of themselves, I first ask them to do something uncomfortable: put themselves first.”
It teaches clients to put themselves at the top of their to-do list, reminding them that they are not being “selfish” by doing it, and are simply choosing to “take care of themselves.” He uses the Champagne Tower analogy. “They are the top glass in the champagne tower, and when they fill their cup first, it will overflow and fill the cups below (the people closest to their lives). In other words, s “They take the time to prioritize themselves, they will come across as better versions of themselves to the people they care about. This has a cascading effect on their personal relationships, career ambitions and more.”
He also tries to make the practice of breathing less daunting and more connected to a client’s personal emotions. That’s why everyone meditates on the music of their choice. It gives them control over the session as they meditate on songs that bring out particular emotions and connect them directly to the people and places that matter to them. Songs can puff them up, soothe them, or make them cry. Sometimes customers are surprised by the emotions aroused by a certain song, but that’s important because it’s their song. Having that connection makes the sessions personal and visceral, giving them a way to access emotions after they’re gone and relive the affirming thoughts they learned in the creative meditation session, he noted.
Although nothing is a panacea against burnout, the breathing sessions allow participants to recognize their own stressors, to meet their limiting beliefs and to develop new, more stimulating ones. “Just as the techniques helped me overcome my own entrepreneurial burnout,” he said, “I am happy to help other stressed professionals confront their own stressors and become more present, transforming into the best version of themselves.”