#userconf question: as managers, how do you handle customer support burnout or hire against it?
— Syd Fleischer (@SydFleischer) October 12, 2012
This is one that I have to carefully watch myself on. When you just answer emails all day, it’s easy to find yourself on the edge of burning out. Here’s a few things I do to make sure I don’t reach that point.
1) I use a standing desk.
It sounds weird as a way to prevent burnout, I know. But standing as I work with customer cases gives me more freedom to walk away from the desk for a quick break. Working from a chair, I tend to get lost in emails as I work to answer the next one. By standing, my body reminds me to take a break every hour or so. I walk into the kitchen, grab some coffee, and just let my brain refocus for a few minutes.
2) Take longer breaks as well.
Take a three-day weekend every now and then. Make sure to get away from everything for a week or two each year. With our team, we recognize that sometimes you just need to get away and recharge. So every three years, we give each person a thirty-day sabbatical. Regular breaks and vacations go a long way towards preventing burnout.
3) Watch out for your team members.
If you see someone stressing, work with them to cut back on their support cases. Have them shift to another project like sending customers gifts, updating the help section, or something else. That variety in their job will help prevent burnout.
With a reasonable work schedule and some variety in your routine, it’ll help keep your team away from the burnout cliff.