What Small Business Owners Can Do When Workers Get Worn Down

The unfortunate reality of working for a small business is that the job often comes with long hours and can sometimes grow quite stressful. For this reason, it's important for many entrepreneurs to do more to make sure their workers aren't getting burned out, and this may be a relatively easy task to accomplish.

Most small business owners with just a handful of employees have probably seen the signs of a worker being ground down by their jobs during some trying times, and this is certainly something that can become problematic if it's not addressed in a timely fashion, according to a report from financial news and advice site TheStreet. This is particularly true for companies with a smaller number of workers, as tasks may not be as compartmentalized, and thus the fewer employees would in turn have to keep a number of plates spinning at any one time. It's easy for these workers to become frustrated with or simply worn out by the daily demands of their multi-faceted jobs, so owners will have to act fast when they see signs of trouble.

Often, these efforts don't have to be all that big, the report said.

"People want to know their contributions are noticed and valued," Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, executive creative director and chief executive officer for the startup Tribe, told the site. "This can be as simple as recognizing their 'above and beyond' efforts in front of their colleagues."

One of the pitfalls that many small businesses may fall into is dealing largely in talking about pressure and stress and failure, rather than the positives that come with owning or working for an independent company, the report said. This, too, can contribute to worker burnout very quickly. Trying to make the office a little more fun every once in a while can go a long way to helping everyone relax. Strategies for doing so can be as simple and relatively inexpensive for owners as buying everyone lunch once in a while, running contests or tournaments, or even buying a ping-pong or foosball table to give workers an outlet if they need to take a 20-minute break to blow off some steam.

Establishing company awards can help too
It may sound a little cheesy in this day and age, but creating an "Employee of the Month" award can actually still do a lot of good for worker morale in many cases, the report said. It gives people something they can work toward, and including a small prize is usually incentive enough to get workers motivated to win it. Of course, if a relatively small number of people – or even one person – consistently wins the award, that could create a little bit of tension among employees, and thus it might be wise for owners to consider winners carefully.

Likewise, companies which are a little more concerned about engaging all their employees might want to think about outside activities such as joining recreational sports leagues, the report said. In these cases, it might also be wise to have the occasional company outing to a nearby area and have team-building games and exercises which could help to foster the idea that all workers are in this together.

Owners who are concerned about the potential costs of efforts like these may want to consider ways in which they can reduce their costs overall, and this may include finding more affordable small business insurance. Reducing costs for policies including general liability insurance could go a long way toward giving owners and their companies more flexibility when it comes to their bottom lines.