How to Avoid Collaboration Burnout in the Workplace

Teamwork and collaboration in the workplace are nothing new, but as businesses become increasingly global, there has been more discussion, analysis and thought around how to improve and optimize collaboration.

However, as silos breakdown and collaboration increases – there’s an often overlooked negative effect: burnout.

There are certain people in the office that tend to be top collaborators due to their skills, position in the business or their ability and willingness to give their time and energy. These people are frequently called upon to collaborate or help out. However, research from HBR says that “those seen as the best sources of information and in highest demand as collaborators in their companies” tend to have the lowest employee engagement and career satisfaction scores.

Here are three ways to foster collaboration in the workplace while avoiding employee burnout.

Empower top collaborators to support a cause that’s meaningful to them. Your top collaborators are often admired and well-connected within your business. Utilize their network and skills to bring people together to collaborate on a positive impact campaign. Be mindful to ensure that this isn’t another thing that you’re putting on their plate. Make sure that someone else is leading the campaign, and that there are very clear roles laid out so that they know exactly what is expected of them.

Use them as mentors. Your top collaborators may be naturally giving people, but it can be exhausting and frustrating to frequently be called upon to help out with projects out of the blue. Rather than using these employees as ad hoc contributors, dedicate them to be mentors for specific employees so that they can pass on their skills and knowledge.  

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Foster independence. Collaboration can bring fresh perspectives and creativity, but the reality is that not everything needs multiple hands and minds involved. Identify the tasks that can be executed independently, and once the employees in charge of these tasks gain your trust, instill autonomy in them so that they don’t feel they need to have other people helping to complete the task.

How do you avoid workplace burnout?