Collaborative Burnout and Mental Health

Do you ever find yourself leaving the office at the end of the day with the feeling that you got nothing done? Does the passing of time in the workplace surprise you? Do you feel that your workday is full of obligations like meetings and other communications that prevent you from getting your work done?

These are very common feelings, especially over the past few years and especially for those in managerial positions. Currently, 90-95% of managers' time is spent on communications like phone calls, emails or in meetings. Ten years ago, these activities took up 60-65% of the time (check out this article from the Globe and Mail for more information), what an increase!

Collaborative burnout is a term that refers to our over-reliance on collaborative office tools like emails and meetings. These tools were designed with efficiency in mind but actually often reduce our productivity. I'm sure some of you can relate!

Feeling that you don't have control of your time, being unproductive and not accomplishing tasks can take a toll on our mental health and greatly increase stress. Here are some tips for reducing the collaborative burnout that is building up in the corporate world:

 

Tips for Meetings

1. Schedule regular weekly check ins to review specific processes or projects, instead of booking meetings "on the fly" or the day before. Keeping set times to review certain topics can help meetings be focused, and gives workers uninterrupted time to get their work done.

2. Keep meetings short and ensure you are staying on topic - set an agenda before each meeting and stick to it. If topics come up that aren't relevant to that meeting, keep topics recorded on a "parking lot" to come back to later.

 

Tips for Emails

1. When possible and appropriate, talk to someone in person instead of sending an email. This may help you get an answer immediately and can often be a faster means of communication, rather than sending an email. Be mindful of the other person's time when doing this and make sure you are approaching them when they aren't in the middle of something.

2. Make actions items in emails explicit - what is everyone responsible for? What are the timelines to adhere to? 

3. Schedule specific times to check your email, rather than keeping it on at all times. Try setting specific times to check your email throughout the day,  and then dedicate non-email times to completing other work tasks. 

What other strategies do you use to reduce collaborative burnout? Let us know!

 

 

Image credit: http://www.middlemarketcenter.org/