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Burnt-out staff? Here’s how you can get them back on track


23 September 2019 at 8:20 am
Maggie Coggan
Unexplained time off, a sudden drop in performance and disengagement are all warning signs of staff burnout. Burnout isn’t good for your staff or your organisation, so how do you manage it? We talked to Bush Heritage’ people and safety manager, Michelle Jacobs, to find out.


Maggie Coggan | 23 September 2019 at 8:20 am


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Burnt-out staff? Here’s how you can get them back on track
23 September 2019 at 8:20 am

Unexplained time off, a sudden drop in performance and disengagement are all warning signs of staff burnout. Burnout isn’t good for your staff or your organisation, so how do you manage it? We talked to Bush Heritage’ people and safety manager, Michelle Jacobs, to find out.    

Don’t overload your staff 

It’s widely accepted that NFPs do a lot with very little, but if that means driving your staff into the ground, it’s probably time to reshuffle and re-evaluate workloads. 

“Make sure the work you’re giving your staff is basically achievable within their working hours,” Jacobs says.  

“During your performance reviews and evaluations, you’re checking up on what these expectations are and what they’re actually achieving.”  

If you’re looking for ways to lighten the load, ask yourself, do they really need to be doing that? Review the day to day and possibly unnecessary admin tasks to ease the workload of your staff.    

“In a person’s role, there will be certain tasks they have to complete. But then the head office could be making too many demands on what they need to report on and provide data on,” she says. 

“It’s really important to make sure that you’re attuned and looking for continuous opportunities to decrease administration and email fatigue.” 

Flexible work 

If a staff member is starting to show signs of burnout, offering flexible working hours or giving them a chance to work from home can make all the difference.   

“Flexible working options are an opportunity for people to work within what works for them and their family but also gives staff time to recharge,” she explains. 

Prevention is key 

Having a mental health and wellness plan in place for staff is a great way to prevent your staff reaching a crisis point in their jobs. Jacobs says this can be anything from having a counsellor on call, planned wellness days, or making sure all team leaders have undertaken mental health first aid training.  

“At Bush Heritage, we have a counsellor who is always available and will reach out to staff once or twice a year,” she says. 


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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