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How to Identify Employee Burnout

According to a recent FlexJobs survey, 75% of people “have experienced burnout at work, and 40% said they’ve experienced burnout specifically during the pandemic.” This isn’t surprising, but every workplace should address it. The first step to reducing employee burnout is identifying it. There are several telltale signs that your employees may be burned out.

Listen to your employees.
One way to identify employee burnout is simply to listen to them. Although some may directly tell you that they are struggling with burnout, Rovner said, seemingly innocuous phrases may also indicate a problem. Listen for the frequent use of phrases like “I’m tired,” “I’m just trying to keep my head above water”, “thank goodness it’s Friday,” and “I wish it were Friday.”

“If you hear a lot of people in your company say things like this frequently, you may have an undiagnosed burnout issue,” Rovner said. “Even if you only hear one person or a couple of people say it a lot, there could be a deeper underlying issue. At the very least, it’s worth exploring why that individual or those people are feeling that way.”

When you hear these types of statements, Rovner suggests responding in a genuine way by saying something like, “I know you said you’re tired frequently. Do you feel like you’re burning out? What can I do to help?”

You can also listen to your employees by surveying them and addressing their responses.

Watch your employees’ behavior.
Some employees aren’t vocal about their burnout, but you may be able to recognize it through their actions. For example, Laker said, key indicators of burnout can include shorter attention spans, cranky behavior, clear fatigue, manic behavior, reduced engagement, absenteeism or longer work hours. Another key indicator to watch for is procrastination.

“[An employee] may tend to be completing their work at the final moment, as times of burnout often fuel toxic perfectionism, and therefore push for more procrastination,” Porter said. “This procrastination is not a sign of laziness; rather, it is a sign of nearing absolute burnout.”

When burnout hits, employees often become resentful, short-tempered, and overwhelmed, and a good employer will recognize these signs and jump in to assist, Porter added.

Key takeaway: Identify employee burnout by listening to your employees and watching their behavior.

How to reengage burned-out employees
If you notice an employee is reaching the point of burnout, it is important to address it right away. Laker said an effective leader can step in, help the employee focus on higher-priority items, and give them permission to slow down.

“Many employees burn themselves out through an overwhelming sense of obligation to complete their tasks, and a strong manager can help them pull back, regain energy, pace themselves, then resume work effectively before reaching the point of burnout.”

Laker recommends rebuilding company culture and reengaging burned-out employees by setting attainable, positive goals and implementing activities that can bring employees together in social ways – even if that means virtual activities.

“In 2020, many companies struggled to find ways to build their company’s culture because traditional methods went out the window,” Laker said. “Find ways to bring back the norm. Also, set short-term attainable goals that your employees and teams can achieve quickly and successfully. Having some quick wins is a great way to re-energize a company’s culture.”

Porter said one of the best ways to reengage employees is, again, by simply listening to them.

“Ask them questions, either personally or even through an anonymous response system,” he said. “By showing employees you care through listening, they will feel more trust and greater engagement with the company.”

Key takeaway: You can help reengage burned-out employees by setting attainable goals and prioritizing team-building activities.

What is Local Marketing?

For many businesses, their marketing efforts need to reach a local audience. Here are some local marketing strategies for small businesses. Local marketing refers to strategies that target regional audiences near your business. Local marketing is especially effective for businesses tied to a physical location, such as restaurants, boutique retail operations and professional advisors. Getting your small business’s local marketing strategy off the ground is quick, easy and free; these tips will help you improve your local marketing efforts immediately.

This article is for small business owners looking to implement local marketing strategies to target audiences close to their business’s location.
Local marketing is an essential element of a larger marketing strategy for small businesses, as it can get your brand in front of a broader local audience that are likely to patronize your business in the near future. But what can you do as an entrepreneur to improve your small business’s reach with a local audience? This guide includes seven quick, free tips that can immediately improve your local marketing strategy.

Local marketing targets an audience based in the same town or region as your business. It is geared toward people who are within a certain radius of your physical location – generally based on a reasonable driving distance – who might realistically purchase your product or service at any time.

For example, if you run a restaurant in Red Bank, New Jersey, driving website traffic from Sacramento, California, is not going to do you much good. Instead, you need to employ local marketing tactics to ensure that the majority of your audience is indeed located near enough that they could conceivably drive to your restaurant or order delivery.

“The biggest approach people should be taking is really understanding who they’re trying to sell to … what benefit people can get from the product or service, and then relay that information upfront,” said Travis McKnight, senior content strategist at Portent Inc.

That’s true in all marketing, but especially when it comes to a local marketing strategy, he added. Part of the key information you should relay to your audience is where your business is located.

The goal behind a local marketing strategy is to spend your marketing and advertising budget more efficiently. Digital marketing is an effective tool for businesses of all sizes. However, if you are a local business and you fail to gain traction with a local audience, your marketing expense is all for naught. Not all traffic is created equal; a local marketing strategy ensures that you are targeting an audience that might patronize your business.

Key takeaway: Local marketing targets people within a certain radius of your business. It can improve conversion rates by narrowing the focus of your digital marketing efforts to potential nearby customers.

Tips for Communicating Employee Monitoring to Employees

Video surveillance doesn’t need to be explicitly disclosed to employees and agreed to by your workforce. Visible signage stating that the premises are monitored by security cameras can be enough to cover legal and ethical grounds. The knowledge that cameras are monitoring everything is often enough to prevent internal theft by employees.

Transparency is always a good practice. Since many employees feel uncomfortable being monitored, it’s important to be forthcoming about what you hope to accomplish and how surveillance aligns with your business’s goals. According to a survey by Dtex Systems, “77% of employed Americans would be less concerned with their employer monitoring their digital activity on personal or work-issued devices they use to conduct work, as long as they are transparent about it and let them know up front.”

In fact, transparency can make employees more willing to subject themselves to different methods of monitoring and tracking. Approximately 50 of 80 employees at technology company Three Square Market voluntarily had microchips implanted in them. The chips allowed the employees to enter the building and buy lunch without keeping track of an ID card. Three Square Market’s honesty about the purpose of the microchips led to over half of its employees voluntarily participating in the program.

While Three Square Market’s technology isn’t widely used for tracking just yet, Amazon received a patent in 2018 for wristbands that vibrate when employees perform tasks incorrectly. While there is no report of these wristbands being used or even produced yet, the company believes the wristbands could speed up processes. Detractors worry about the technology’s potential to dehumanize employees. Clearly, as technology continues to develop, organizations will have opportunities to track and monitor employees in new ways. As these new options arise, business leaders need to listen to employees and review legal guidelines for employee monitoring.

Another way employers can monitor employees, as mentioned earlier, is through GPS tracking, normally as part of fleet tracking and telematics on company vehicles. With most fleet software, managers can track where a company vehicle is and where it’s been, even if the employee is off the clock. Business owners can do this, as they have the right to know where their property is. However, GPS tracking of company devices like laptops and phones is another murky area, since employers can learn more than they need to about an employee’s activity when they’re off the clock. [Looking for GPS fleet tracking software? Check out our best picks.]

With any form of employee monitoring, it’s best to err on the side of transparency and balance. For example, clear signage citing your company’s policy discouraging non-work-related computer use can cut down on undesirable behavior without the need to monitor employees overtly.

“Ultimately, a balance can be reached by thinking through legitimate business interests and weighing them against the expectation of privacy of employees while also taking into account regulatory limitations, which may differ state to state, country to country,” said Joseph Lazzarotti, a principal with Jackson Lewis who leads the law firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group.

Key takeaway: Transparency in your employee monitoring practices may make your employees feel more secure and prevent legal repercussions.

What is Employee Monitoring Laws and Regulations

Federal and most state privacy laws give discretion to employers as to how far they can go with their employee monitoring programs. In some cases, employers do not have to inform employees they are being monitored, depending on their state and local laws. Some regulations do require employee consent.

“As a general rule, employees have little expectation of privacy while on company grounds or using company equipment, including company computers or vehicles,” said Matt C. Pinsker, adjunct professor of homeland security and criminal justice at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Federal workplace privacy and employee monitoring laws
Federal workplace privacy and employee monitoring regulations stem primarily from the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. The ECPA allows business owners to monitor all employee verbal and written communication as long as the company can present a legitimate business reason for doing so. It also allows for additional monitoring if the employee gives consent. However, the ECPA consent provision can be tricky, as it might be inferred to allow monitoring of employees’ personal communications as well as business ones.

Additionally, several federal court cases have determined that employers may legally look through employees’ emails after they are sent. That’s because the ECPA defines “electronic communications” as any electronic messages currently in transmission. Upon sending, these transmissions become “electronic storage,” which courts have determined employers can monitor.

In general, monitoring must be within reason. For example, video surveillance can be conducted in common areas and entrances; however, surveillance in bathrooms or locker rooms is strictly prohibited and opens a company up to legal repercussions.

Another issue arises when you retain any recordings, especially of meetings. If you record meetings with employees, especially ones dealing with discipline or HR-related issues, you may be legally obligated to keep those recordings and turn them over to a court if litigation arises. [Interested in using a video surveillance system? Check out our best picks.]

Monitoring computer web activity is different and can fall under different legal precedent. There are different types of computer monitoring software solutions, some with the ability to show you exactly what employees are doing on their computers. You can monitor everything from what websites employees are browsing on the business’s Wi-Fi to what keystrokes they are making on their company laptop. There is practically no reasonable expectation of privacy for an employee using a company device, so a good rule of thumb is to assume that anything employees do on their company-owned computer is visible to their employer.

While it’s fine to monitor employees’ computer usage to make sure they’re not wasting time on social media and frivolous browsing, employers should know they risk acquiring too much information. Employers already have employees’ most personal data, and they can run amok of privacy laws like HIPAA if they disclose private information to anyone.

As an employer, you have the burden of protecting that information, even that which comes from an employee’s personal browsing history or private data stored on a company computer. If a data breach were to occur, for example, and certain sensitive information was exposed, it leaves the company vulnerable to litigation by the employee.

State workplace privacy and employee monitoring laws
As with any issue that states regulate, no two states have the same laws on workplace privacy and employee monitoring. The most notable laws come from the following states:

Connecticut: Any company that monitors its employees in the workplace must let employees know ahead of time in writing and detail the tracking methods used.

California, Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina: All these states’ constitutions explicitly state that residents have a right to privacy. As such, employers in these states may need to tread carefully when setting up employee monitoring systems.
To be safe, you may be best served by checking with your legal counsel that your use of this technology adheres to both federal and state regulations.

Key takeaway: The ECPA is the primary federal law governing employees’ rights under workplace monitoring. Several states have their own regulations that employers in those states must also follow.

What is monitoring in the workplace?

Employee monitoring technology is becoming more common in the workplace. Before you install it, be sure you know the laws surrounding its use. Employers can use employee monitoring technology to track their staff’s real-time locations and activities. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 is a federal law that gives employers the right to monitor their employees’ verbal and written communications under certain circumstances. There are also some state laws that regulate this activity. Transparency in your employee monitoring practices is important to make your employees feel more secure and protect your business from potential legal action.

This article is for employers who want to implement employee monitoring solutions and learn how to avoid legal issues in the process.
From eliminating distractions to adding technological automation, there are numerous ways businesses can improve workplace productivity. One method is the use of surveillance and tracking software. Workplace privacy and employee monitoring technologies have become more prevalent in recent years, especially as the rapid growth of digital technology has streamlined the use of surveillance platforms. If you plan to use this type of technology, though, it is important to understand how federal and state laws affect it and how to best implement these tools in your business.

“Employee monitoring” refers to the methods employers use to surveil their workplaces and their staff members’ whereabouts and activities. These methods include employee monitoring software, time clocks, video surveillance, GPS systems and biometric technology. Video surveillance, for example, can strengthen your business’s security and productivity. Catching a thief on camera certainly reduces shrinkage costs. Employee tracking and monitoring systems serve other important purposes. The main goals behind them are to prevent internal theft, examine employee productivity, ensure company resources are being used appropriately, and provide evidence for any potential litigation.

One category of employee monitoring technology, time and attendance software, is often seen as an entirely separate set of tools. Time and attendance systems give your business a record of when employees work and take paid time off that is valuable not only for payment calculations, but in case a dispute over hours or vacation time ever become a lawsuit. These digital systems also provide an accurate record of when employees start and end their day, which can help you determine productivity levels. [Interested in a time and attendance system? Check out our best picks.]

Beyond simple video surveillance in the workplace, you can equip company computers with employee monitoring software or, if your team’s duties revolve around driving, install GPS fleet tracking hardware in your company vehicles.

Regardless of the technology they use, some business owners may not know how far they can or should extend their authority to monitor employee activity. It’s always best to turn to federal and state employee monitoring laws and regulations to establish limits.

Key takeaway: Through employee monitoring technology, employers can surveil their workplaces and track their staff members’ real-time locations and activities when they’re on the clock.