One of the principal motives of the human resources (HR) function is to look after the employees of the organisation. However, what happens when the HR personnel suffer from intense stress and burnout and begin to lose their motivation for work?
It is common knowledge that stress at work leads to low performance levels and can directly or indirectly affect a person’s health. It also interferes with attention, emotional alertness and a person’s general ability to act in complex situations. If left unchecked and untreated, prolonged stress can lead to burnout —total emotional, physical and mental exhaustion.
Clearly, in the past two years, the relentless demand for continuity of work amidst the fluctuations in the modes of operation has created a sense of uneasiness in people. The pressure of work increased because of the restrictions introduced by the pandemic. Even as employees worked from home, they were expected to maintain their pre-pandemic performance. This expectation to continue the pace of work and achieve results was obviously more than what many people could endure.
“HR guys are no supermen. In fact, dealing with people’s sentiments, depression, emotions and other organisational challenges in the people space, makes them slightly more fragile than the others”
Adil Malia, CEO, The Firm
Human resource professionals had the challenging job of ensuring that their employees were safe, while also being careful of not contracting the infection themselves. This responsibility obviously weighed heavy on their shoulders resulting in high stress levels. With so much uncertainty and ever-shifting work modes, these demands show no sign of reducing anytime soon.
So what should the HR personnel do to keep themselves motivated amidst the highly stressful work environment, and successfully cope with the resulting burnout?
Maintain work-life balance
Ravi Kumar, senior leader, people and culture, Roche Diabetes Care & Roche Solutions Information Solutions India, says, “Work-life balance is very important, and everyone should always maintain it. It is essential for HR professionals to practise what they preach. They should be clear about their priorities and be careful not to take full burden of the work.”
“Setting boundaries, and avoiding being overwhelmed by work, by compartmentalising, can also do wonders,” elaborates Kumar.
“People should talk to their seniors or even mental health professionals about their problems, if they feel the need to do so,” Kumar says.
There is no shame in approaching people who may be better equipped to understand one’s troubles, and seek help to get oneself out of a worried state of mind. Organisations can help their employees here by conducting counselling sessions and regularly checking up with them.
Adil Malia, CEO, The Firm, says, “HR guys are no supermen. In fact, dealing with people’s sentiments, depression, emotions and other organisational challenges in the people space, makes them slightly more fragile than the others.”
“Post hectic handling of wellness and motivational challenges for the employees and their families during the pandemic, the HR managers may find themselves exhausted, frustrated, fatigued and maybe even depressed,” he asserts.
“During one’s ‘Me Time’ one should revisit, refresh and rework one’s personal vision in the new context. Redefine purpose, review directions”
Ravi Kumar, senior leader, people and culture, Roche Diabetes Care & Roche Solutions Information Solutions India
Take a break
The right thing to do in this scenario is to take a break. However, taking a break doesn’t mean that one should be just stuck at home. Malia suggests going for a small holiday, booking a resort and enjoying the activities that one indulged in before the infamous virus took over the world.
If going on a trip is not possible, for a variety of reasons, people can also choose to meditate, go for long walks and indulge in some serious existential discussions with their spouses and friends to show them a way to let their feelings out in the open.
Introspect, contemplate, learn
Many a time, contemplation can prove very beneficial, as Malia explains, “During one’s ‘Me Time’ one should revisit, refresh and rework one’s personal vision in the new context. Redefine purpose, review directions.”
Of course, not everybody flourishes while being on a break, per se. Some people want to try new things, and find themselves rejuvenated in the process. Signing up for serious capability courses — some of which are even available online — and developing new hobbies to enhance one’s creative skills, are some suggestions. While these are fun, they can be very helpful in reducing stress levels and offer a chance to learn something new.
Adopt healthier lifestyle
One of the most effective ways to understand what may be going wrong with one is to submit oneself to a health checkup. Malia suggests that people should follow up with their doctors, if possible, and embrace good habits, such as low alcohol consumption, abstaining from smoking, drinking lots of water, and following a healthy diet with diverse fruits.
The HR can only help employees when its own team members are healthy. Ignoring one’s health, and succumbing to the crushing demands of work can only bring trouble in the end. After all, personal suffering not only affects individuals themselves but also holds them back from performing well professionally.
To be successful at work, one must have a healthy mind that is clear of stress and worries. All these things can only be possible if people make attempts to be more alert to themselves, and learn to treat themselves better.