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What's your employer doing to help avoid worker burnout?

  • Posted by Alison Brody
  • on October 7, 2010 10:27 AM

Marketplace is working on a story about actions companies are taking to improve worker morale.

Although the recession didn’t create worker burnout, it certainly didn’t help matters, either. Over the last few years, people have been asked to do the same job for less money or the job of two people for the same money.

Given the discouraging environment many workers are facing, what can an employer do to keep their employees happy (and productive)?

If your employer has bright ideas about improving your workday (or if you’re an employer with bright ideas), click here to share them with Marketplace.

Discussion: 11 Comments

  • Posted by Linda Monilaws on November 11, 2010 2:41 PM

    My newest book is a humerous account of the days I spent as “A Temporary Person” working for a variety of oddballs and celebrities in Hollywood between reguar writing jobs. Household names will ring bells with readers. But the book also serves as motivation to those who have been laid off or fired. Don’t put yourself in a box. Don’t have tunnel vision about your “career”. Just get out there and work. Temporary assignments not only bring in money to pay the bills but they often lead to a permanent job and a better offer than you had before you left your last job. The extra bonus to working temp is the knowledge that you won’t be there long if you don’t like it. People I’ve met working temp: Lawrence Shiller famous writer/photographer: Don Arden, father of Sharon Arden Ozbourne (Mrs. Ozzie Ozbourne), Eli Landau, deceased but once very famous movie producer, Robert Maheu, who served as Howard Hughes alter ego for a decade, arranging business deals and land purchases for the reclusive billionaire. Maheu, now deceased, was also in on the CIA plan to assassinate Fidel Castro in 1959. I worked for him and his son Peter in Las Vegas in 1998 for a short time.

  • Posted by Philip on November 30, 2010 7:45 PM

    Well, I suppose I am in a relatively unusual position, since the company I currently work for is in an expansion mode, but some of the things they do to keep morale up are things that they did even when things weren’t so great. the company I work for is one of the few semiconductor manufacturers who still offer sabbaticals - I believe it is ten weeks of paid time off after ten years of service (the time must be taken within five years of the award date, I think). That is in addition to an already very generous 250 hours of vacation time that can be accrued over the course of the year for factory workers like myself.

    Also, my company recently participated in a “Corporate Olympics” in which various companies in the area fielded teams to compete in such events as softball, soccer, poker, tennis, darts, - it was a ridiculously long list of events, but it was a lot of fun for the people involved, and even the people who did not participate enjoyed the camaraderie of following the standings of the various teams.

  • Posted by A. Anderson on December 20, 2010 11:48 AM

    As part of our wellness program, we were offered a free “stress reduction kit.” It included fitness DVDs, a stress diary, a relationship workbook, etc. in a mini tote bag. We can earn points toward discounted health insurance if we actually use the items in the kit.

    My kit arrived the same week as our first major corporate layoffs. A stress ball did nothing to relieve the pain of losing two-thirds of my closest coworkers.

  • Posted by Molly on January 24, 2011 6:55 AM

    My employer offers a 9/80 work cycle, which means that I work 80 hours over a period of 9 week-days, and then get the 10th day (Friday) off. That gives me a free week-day to run errands, have doctor appointments, take 3-day weekend trips or just lounge around for a day. It also benefits the company that I am not wasting otherwise productive time by doing these things during normal work hours.

    I definitely think that this results in improved morale & focus. I am certainly more motivated to complete my work when I know I have a three-day weekend coming up. Also, on the Fridays that we do have to work, the management provides bagels & donuts. Yum.

    This schedule has been an option for many years, but I have been very pleased that it has not been adjusted / scrapped due to the recession.

  • Posted by susie karsky on February 19, 2011 2:59 PM

    My employer actually contributes to burnout. last year, my government contractor employer took away our sick leave. I’m an air traffic controller!! I cannot have an “off day” at work or people could die. I cannot come in with a sore throat and do my job well, as I talk ALL 8 hrs of my day. I have recently been counciled because I wanted to use both (just 2) weeks of vacation for actual vacations to rejuvenate! My manager told me that I should really be saving my vacation time for the times that I may need sick leave as “leave without pay” is not authorized either. Next time you are flying in an airliner, you can wonder if your air traffic controller is having an “off day” but couldn’t call in sick and might forget to check the landing gear, or might forget to give you an altitude restriction or…..? That is what “privatizing” the air traffic control system is all about. less money, less benefits, and less about safety. good luck with that! I just quit!

  • Posted by Chip on February 22, 2011 2:23 PM

    I’m the employer and everyone is on salary. If they get through with what I need done that day they can go home and still get payed for 8 hours. If we have to work late or on the weekends no problem, they work. They typicaly work 32 hrs. a week. This can only work in a small bussines.

  • Posted by Diane on March 6, 2011 7:04 AM

    Nurses; Hello, if you know of any workplace friendly hospitals. Where the preceptor does not bully, or try to power control, and intimidate you. Please e-mail me at My nurse friends have reported unprofessional conduct, at their facilities. The best hospital had a very supportive enviroment, and welcomed new nurses, and the nurses ran the critical care unit. The hospital had employee activity days, and helped nurses with continuing education, plus had a cafe, that was open at night for the nurses. But, there human resources dept was very weak, and just fired people, without doing an investigation first. Thank you!

  • Posted by Susan on April 9, 2011 8:59 PM


    I precepted at St. Josephs hospital downtoown St. Paul, MN in December 2010 and my preceptor was very kind and helpful in explaining any questions that I still had. She watched me take care of patients without intimidating me. Preceptorship was my best experience in nursing program

    Thank Susan

  • Posted by bob ruppert on April 10, 2011 9:56 AM

    As a retail manager, I found that keeping people informed and involved helped. As the manager, if you are relaxed, but have high expectations, most of your staff will reach for those expectations. If you are stressing, they see it and stress themselves. Poor employees must be dealt with in a firm manner to either reform them or get rid of them. The staff sees this, and will act accordingly.

    Raises and vacations are quickly forgotten. You must provide a sane place to work.

  • Posted by ESW on April 25, 2011 7:07 AM

    My employer does absolutely nothing.

  • Posted by RMS on June 2, 2011 7:43 PM

    Until the ecomonic conditions improve, companies will care less and less about the employees. Most managers are too concerned about the bottom line and themselves to care about their employees. Cherish those that do not follow this all too common current trend!

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