Over the past year, many companies have faced a lack of motivation among employees. However, often the root of the problem is not lack of motivation, but fatigue. Due to the pandemic, stress and lack of energy have become our constant companions, so we need to find ways to overcome this situation for ourselves and our teams.

In this article, we go on to discuss the main approach to improving the condition of employees and the appropriateness of using a time tracker in this case.

Prerequisites for stress

Long online meeting hours, and the lack of the usual opportunities for recovery (such as vacations and travel) cause suboptimal, and sometimes even harmful behavior. For example, we may break down with relatives or colleagues, work too long, or force subordinates to do so. The result is low productivity: both personal and team.

More than 80 percent of the 1,265 American employees surveyed by Lyra Health in June 2020 said they were experiencing negative emotions, and a third of them reported clinical anxiety or depression. The same survey showed that 65% of respondents believe that psychological problems affect their ability to work, and 40% said they are close to burnout.

In such conditions, the ability to think logically is lost. It becomes more difficult for people to deal with their own mistakes, and their creativity disappears.

Before the pandemic, some companies rewarded those who worked the most. But over the past year, most of us have begun to spend part of our free time at work, so we are more tired and under constant stress. It is more difficult to take a quality break at home: you do not need to go to and from the office, there is no lunch when you can go for a walk. It seems that we should have more space and time to relax, but this has not happened. If the house has become an office, then when you are at home, you are in the office. Many people felt that they could not “disconnect” from work.

How to fix this situation?

You can start by researching your patterns of behavior to understand – how your actions increase the fatigue of your subordinates. Are your demands on employees (and yourself) justified? Do they increase excessive workload and stress, while not providing great benefits?

Many studies examining the best athletes come to the common conclusion that the secret to long-term high performance is to combine periods of stress with periods of recovery. Recovery is any activity that lowers the heart rate and reduces stress hormones.

For most people, sleep (optimally for eight hours) is a crucial part of recovery. But that's not enough to cure burnout – you also need to create recovery periods throughout the day. Of course, this may not be easy to organize, but the result is worth it.

What activities help to improve the condition of employees?

A 1,600 study by KRC Research and the University of Southern California found that a real lunch break improved people's engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity. When we dream, read something enjoyable, listen to music, or take a leisurely walk, our productivity increases. Alternation of hard work with breaks – the optimal mode of functioning of our brain.

Breaks can be shorter – and also give good results. For example, one manager found that cups of coffee and reading an interesting book for 15 minutes at the end of the day was enough for him to get enough energy to take care of his young children in the evening.

Each employee can make their to-do list that will allow them to recover in 15-minute breaks. For example, reading a magazine, eating lunch anywhere but at your table (and doing nothing at the same time), drinking coffee without a phone in hand, taking a walk or just being on the street, and so on.

The leader can encourage subordinates to try this method: make a list and do something from it every day for a week. And then invite employees to share their impressions. People are more likely to feel better than before this little experiment.

What role does a time tracker play in overcoming stress?

  1. Employees can monitor their productivity without stress because the time tracker works autonomously and does not require effort and time from employees.
  2. A leader can prevent the accumulation of fatigue and stress. Time tracker reports will show whether the employee takes breaks during the working day and whether he/she stays late after work
  3. The software captures factors that can lead to increased levels of fatigue (for example, surfing social media pages)
  4. The time tracker diagram will show the manager how efficiently the employee uses working time. If the reporting of the program shows a lack of concentration, managers should promote rest to the employee. Otherwise, it may lead to employee burnout or the desire to quit.
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