Digital burnout: supporting employee wellbeing in the digital age

Professionals who work primarily on computers will often find themselves constantly looking at screens, which can be harmful to their mental and physical health. In this article, we explore practical actions employers can take to support their employees and prevent digital burnout.

4 mins read
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28 May, 2024

​Digital technology has revolutionised the way we work, communicate, and live. 

While advancements in digital tools have undoubtedly enhanced productivity and efficiency, the constant presence of the ‘black mirror’ has caused many to become burnt out.  

Managers have a responsibility to support their employees’ wellbeing, which can have a twofold impact: affecting performance as well as how people feel about their work. If left unchecked, the pressure of overwork can lead to long-term sickness or cause people to look for a new job.  

Understanding digital burnout

Digital burnout refers to the mental and emotional exhaustion occurring from prolonged exposure to digital devices and online activities. It manifests as feelings of fatigue, anxiety, apathy, and disengagement, ultimately impairing cognitive function and diminishing overall wellbeing. Burnout in general is an extreme form of stress – stress is when your battery is running low; burnout is when it’s gone completely flat. 

As employees are flooded with incessant notifications, overwhelming workloads, and blurred boundaries between their professional and personal lives, employers must implement strategies to support their workforce. 

Zoom fatigue

Remote workers are at even greater risk of digital burnout, with no opportunity to unplug for coffee breaks with colleagues or in-person meetings that hybrid or office-based workers have.  

Research published in 2023’s Nature journal, suggests that face-to-face communication is more beneficial than video conferencing because it provides more nuanced personal and social information (body language, voice pitch, gaze, head position etc.) promoting trust between participants.  

The authors of the report speculated that video calls can cause mental tiredness and anxiety, due to “a focus on appearance, prolonged eye contact, larger faces due to screen size, and the perceived dominance of a communication partner due to low camera position; and a cognitive burden due to a slight technological asynchrony of video calls”.  

Traditional phone calling can eliminate a lot of these elements, reducing eye strain and anxiety and increasing the focus on the content of the conversation, but face-to-face communication is still the healthiest option. 

Supporting employees experiencing digital burnout

Despite more than 78% of employers adopting hybrid working, for desk-based roles post pandemic, a recent KPMG CEO Outlook survey found 63% of UK leaders predicted a full return to full-time office working by 2026. Already, many employers, such as Boots, have mandated a full return to the office. But is that the answer? Remote working offers too many benefits to rule it out completely.  

Employers play a pivotal role in mitigating digital burnout and fostering employee wellbeing while employees work from home. Here are some practical strategies to support your workforce, whether they work remotely, hybridly, or five days a week in an office:  

Promote work-life balance

Encourage employees to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Implement policies such as designated 'unplugged' hours or days, where employees are discouraged from checking work-related communications outside of allotted times. 

Demonstrate healthy digital habits and boundaries as leaders within the organisation. Encourage managers and executives to model balanced work practices, such as setting clear communication expectations and respecting employees' time off.  

Digital detox initiatives

Organise digital detox challenges or workshops aimed at promoting mindfulness, stress reduction, and digital wellbeing. Encourage employees to disconnect from digital devices periodically and engage in offline activities to recharge and rejuvenate.  

The 20-20-20 rule is widely advised to prevent eye strain – looking away from a screen for 20 seconds, 20 feet away, every 20 minutes. Although, some suggest those who work an eight-hour shift should get up from their desks for 5-10 minutes per hour.  

Communication and education

Provide training and education on digital literacy, time management, and stress management techniques. Equip employees with strategies to effectively manage digital distractions, prioritise tasks, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. At Reed, we host internal and external webinars and training courses as well as providing dedicated courses for our staff. 

Create a culture of open communication where employees feel comfortable discussing their challenges and seeking support. Check in regularly with team members, offering a listening ear and empathy. Offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible hours empowers employees to manage their schedules, fosters autonomy and reduces the pressure to be constantly connected. 

Conclusion

Digital burnout poses a significant challenge for today’s workforce, but with proactive support and intervention, employers can mitigate its impact and create a culture that prioritises employee wellbeing, therefore safeguarding organisational success.    

If a new employer is the answer to digital burnout, or you’re just looking for someone new to join your team, contact your nearest Reed office.

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How to become a hotel manager
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How to become a hotel manager

​When it comes to the hospitality industry, the role of a hotel manager is crucial in ensuring the smooth operation of a hotel. From overseeing day-to-day operations to managing staff and ensuring guest satisfaction, hotel managers play a key role in the success of a hotel. If you are considering a career in hotel management, it's important to understand what the role entails and whether it is the right fit for you.

What does a Hotel Manager do?

A hotel manager is responsible for overseeing the overall operations of a hotel, including managing staff, ensuring guest satisfaction, and maximizing revenue. They are typically in charge of setting and achieving financial goals, developing and implementing policies and procedures, and maintaining high standards of customer service. Hotel managers also handle issues such as staffing, budgeting, marketing, and public relations to ensure the hotel runs smoothly and efficiently.

Is a career as a Hotel Manager right for me?

A career as a hotel manager can be both rewarding and challenging. If you have a passion for hospitality, strong leadership skills, and a knack for problem-solving, a career in hotel management may be a good fit for you. It's important to be able to work well under pressure, communicate effectively with staff and guests, and adapt to changing situations in a fast-paced environment. Additionally, a willingness to work long hours, including nights and weekends, is often required in this role.

Key responsibilities of a Hotel Manager

Some key responsibilities of a hotel manager include:

  • Overseeing day-to-day operations of the hotel

  • Managing staff and ensuring they are properly trained and motivated

  • Ensuring guest satisfaction and responding to guest feedback

  • Developing and implementing strategic plans to achieve financial goals

  • Managing budgets and controlling costs

  • Marketing and promoting the hotel to attract guests

  • Maintaining high standards of cleanliness and safety

  • Handling any issues or complaints that arise

Career progression

For those interested in a career in hotel management, there are opportunities for career progression. Many hotel managers start out in entry-level positions and work their way up through the ranks. With experience and dedication, it is possible to advance to higher-level management roles such as general manager or regional manager. Continuing education and professional development can also help hotel managers advance their careers and stay current in the industry.

A career as a hotel manager can be a fulfilling and challenging path for those with a passion for hospitality and leadership. By understanding the role, responsibilities, and potential for career progression, you can determine if a career in hotel management is the right fit for you.

Search for our latest hospitality jobs.

Employee tenure: long-term relationship or short-term fling?
5 mins read

Employee tenure: long-term relationship or short-term fling?

​We all want committed employees but is length of service a true indicator of engagement? Does simply staying around in an employment relationship mean you’re all in? Of course, there are no simple answers to these questions – each situation is as individual as the parties involved – but it is worth thinking about what benefits both short and long tenure bring – and not rushing to build assumptions (or recruitment practices) on one or the other. 

So, what is employee tenure? It is generally defined as the length of time an individual spends with the same organisation or working for the same employer. According to the CIPD, the most common length of service is between two and five years (22.4%) but employees with over five years’ service make up nearly 50% of the workforce (Jan-Dec 2022).  

Is a long-term relationship better? You can certainly be forgiven for thinking so, as our corporate landscape often places value on long service and actively engages with strategies to lengthen or reward employee tenure. But why? Here are some key benefits of both short- and long-term tenures:

Long-term employee tenure

Increased productivity

Tenured employees tend to have a clear understanding of their roles and company goals due to their experience and time with the organisation. This familiarity with processes and procedures can allow them to work efficiently and contribute positively to productivity, as they are able to navigate the idiosyncrasies inherent in all companies. Quite often, they will have developed practices that enable the most efficient use of time to achieve objectives and outputs; and are then able to influence wider practices to spread the word. 

Stability and commitment 

Tenured employees will often feel more secure in their positions and so, can demonstrate greater commitment to the company. Their loyalty contributes to a stable work environment, which can positively impact team dynamics and overall organisational success. My current HR team has an average tenure of around 10 years, and this contributes to a very supportive and effective working environment – although how they’ve put up with me over the years is still a mystery! 

Skill set and knowledge base

Over time, tenured employees accumulate valuable knowledge and skills specific to their roles. This expertise can not only be passed down to new hires, benefitting the organisation as a whole, but also help with integrating new technologies and processes, ensuring they work for the business. We all have a ‘go-to’ person in our companies who is the fount of all knowledge and can help give a perspective gained from years of experience and insight. 

Company ambassadors

A company that retains its workforce builds a reputation for employee satisfaction. In a world where Employee Value Proposition (EVP) plays an important role in both retention and attraction, having employees who are aligned with the company ethos and happy to talk about why they’ve stayed so long, is a real asset. Plus, they are able to share this insight with new hires, acting as mentors and imparting knowledge and enthusiasm for the company. 

Short-term employee tenure

So, if long tenured employees are the utopia, why does an interim market exist, I hear you ask? What about those contractors who enjoy short-term assignments or project-based roles? Well, as I mentioned earlier, there are benefits to both forms of tenure and while the above benefits can be true of long-term relationships, there is also a lot to be said for a short-term fling (from an employment perspective, I hasten to add): 

Career experience 

Demonstrating experience in diverse roles can make employees more attractive to potential employers, not only for permanent positions but also where a specific skill set or experience is needed. Working in various short-terms roles can help to provide this and organisations then benefit from someone who can bring real-life examples from different workplaces. 

Versatility

Working across different organisations and/or industries means employees will have experience of adapting to new environments or taking on responsibilities they haven't had before. This can encourage a mindset that is open to new ideas, as well as sharing them, and so means organisations benefit from having a versatile employee who excels in new environments. 

Openness

By accepting that an individual is not planning on bedding down within the organisation, employers may find a level of openness and challenge that is not there in others. The short-termer will be happy to challenge the status quo and focus on meeting the objectives in hand, even if that means coming up with new ways of working or unsettling the cart. While this might not be comfortable for all involved, it will foster an environment where ‘this is how it’s always been done’ is no longer a mantra. 

Ambition and drive 

Employees who are prepared to leave a company to seek new challenges or career development that is not available to them if they stay, show a level of ambition that is likely to have benefitted the company during their employment. In addition, they could well be the individuals who return to the organisation as future leaders, and so allowing them the opportunity to gain new experiences, while leaving on good terms, is a no brainer. 

Final thoughts 

With benefits of both types of tenure, where does this leave you? Should you be looking for a serial monogamist or a more open relationship? Well, as with most things in life, there isn’t a simple answer. It’s primarily about striking the right balance within your workforce and accepting that people have different preferences and needs.

Of course, you should be looking to encourage retention and reward those who show loyalty to the company, but you should also embrace those who leave sooner than hoped as they may one day wish to return. Many people, having gained certain skills and experience elsewhere, will fondly remember their experience at an organisation and consider rejoining. Therefore, the main thing to remember is how all employees are treated and valued during their time with you. Who knows, you may rekindle a relationship with an old flame further down the line! 

Looking for your next great hire in the HR space, or looking for pastures new? Contact our specialist consultants to start the journey.

Hospitality resume template
2 mins read

Hospitality resume template

​Build the perfect hospitality resume with our free template

[Full Name]
[Home address]
[Contact Number] • [Email Address]

Personal Statement

Stick to no more than four sentences in this section of your CV.

“I am a professionally qualified chef with over 15 years’ experience. During this time I have worked in fine dining restaurants up to a 2 rosette standard and spent two years working for high society event caterers across Europe. I hold an up to date Level 3 Certificate in Food Hygiene, and am now looking for my first Head Chef role.”

Education

This is your chance to talk about your qualifications, academic and vocational. This is a particularly important section for those with little experience. You should give detail about what you studied, where and when, and list them in chronological order.

If you have many of one qualification, such as GCSEs or professional qualification e.g. HND in Hotel Management/NVQ Level 3 Professional Cookery etc. you might find it useful to group them together.

[University Name]
[Date M/Y– Date M/Y]

[Degree Class]
[Degree Name]

[College/School Name]
[Date M/Y– Date M/Y]

A-levels:

  • [Subject] – [Grade]

  • [Subject] – [Grade]

  • [Subject] – [Grade]

GCSEs:

  • [Number] GCSEs, grades [range], including Maths and English

Work Experience

Try not to repeat yourself when you are bullet pointing each job. Mix it up, and try to think of different skills/styles of environment you’ve worked in. This should be brief and, as a general rule of thumb, focus on the last five years of your career, or last three roles, in chronological order with the most recent at the top. You should highlight your key achievements and use bullet points rather than lengthy descriptions.

October 2010 – Present

Senior Sous Chef, REED Restaurant, London, 3 rosettes

  • Brief overview: [state any promotions you’ve had and your responsibilities e.g. staff training, recruitment, stock/cost control P&L, marketing strategy, managing suppliers etc.]

  • Environment worked within: I worked in a [size of brigade/team] to produce [style of food] in a [establishment e.g. hotel/bar/restaurant] with [status e.g. Rosette, Michelin etc.]. Or I worked on [event/contract catering/food retail/production/New Product Development] with [result].

  • Worked/managed [different sections/departments/teams e.g. F&B, events, reception, general/kitchen, corporate or leisure sales, revenue management etc.]

  • Received a [include achievements e.g. Bib Gourmand/Rosette/Michelin/Trip Advisor score, increase in revenue etc.] for [reason]

Hobbies and Interests

If you are a chef, clients would expect to see that at least one of your hobbies relates to cooking or eating out.

If you work front of house it would be advised to include interests in different styles of restaurants or bars, give examples of your knowledge.

“I have a keen interest in craft beer and whisky, and have recently discovered The East London Liquor Company.”

Make it relevant.

References

References are available upon request.