Recharge before burnout

This year has forced many of us to reframe what “work/life balance” means for our lives. Whether we’re living at home with a...

December 16, 2020

This year has forced many of us to reframe what “work/life balance” means for our lives. Whether we’re living at home with a full house and young children, caretaking for an older family member, or sharing a small space with a roommate or two, we’ve adapted quickly and to the best of our abilities. We’re moving fast because we have no other choice.

With our personal and professional environments in constant evolution, it’s easy to forget the importance of pause and reflection. How’s our energy? What habits have we formed that are serving us, and what practices have we developed that stunt us? What does balance look like in our new world today?

When left unchecked, increasing demands can lead to prolonged stress, and prolonged stress can lead to burnout. Now more than ever, it’s important to champion employee recharge (and personal recharge!) before burnout takes over.

What is burnout?

The World Health Organization added burnout to its list of International Classification of Diseases as an occupational phenomenon in 2019. The term later made its way onto the Mayo Clinic’s Adult Health webpage in November 2020. There, burnout is defined as “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Burnout affects us mentally and leads to feelings of overwhelm and detachment. Feeling like we have little or no control in our work or the environment around us can contribute to causes of burnout and makes the season we’re in particularly vulnerable.

Possible causes of burnout

Professional burnout can stem from several factors. Some of the common causes include:

  • Little control or influence over your schedule, workload, projects, and resources
  • Unclear priorities, job expectations, and definitions of role success
  • Overly demanding workload and regular overtime hours
  • Limited connection and social support in the office or at home
  • Lack of recognition and reward for good work

What leaders can do for their teams to champion recharge before burnout

Two of the most critical actions leaders can take to prevent burnout on their teams are to one, normalize the conversation around mental health, employee wellbeing, stress, burnout, and two, make it a priority to check in regularly with their employees.

Put these five Cs into action:

  • Clarity: Articulate what success looks like for your team, set up regular check-ins to clarify performance criteria and metrics, outline objectives and key results for your team
  • Control: Provide employees autonomy to make decisions where possible, be transparent about why and how decisions are made
  • Context: Explain the bigger picture of why your team’s work matters, provide context when discussing new projects, directional changes, or critical findings and help your team set priorities while giving feedback along the way
  • Celebration: Highlight team wins and milestones, be deliberate about scheduling your next day off and share the date with your team, celebrate employees who demonstrate learning and growth, and recognize good work
  • Connectivity: Start meetings with informal conversation, set up virtual connectivity events, enable peer-to-peer recognition and engagement

If you’re stuck on where to start

Use one of the questions below to get the most out of your next employee check-in:

  • How are you doing this week?
  • Do you have enough understanding of what success looks like for your role?
  • Are there any blockers to getting your work done that I can help remove?
  • What part of your day feels the most energizing?
  • What part of your day feels the most draining?
  • Are you taking breaks throughout the day?
  • When was your last vacation, and when do you have your next one planned?
  • Do you feel like you get enough feedback on your work?
  • Do you think your work is recognized?
  • How do you feel about your work priorities?
  • Do you feel like you’re learning and growing?
  • Do you feel like you’re part of a team?
  • How often do you connect with your teammates?

What leaders can do for themselves to recharge before burnout

While leaders focus on uplifting their teams, they can’t overlook the value of recharging themselves.

Be intentional about recharging to prevent burnout

  • Focus on the basics: Take care of the foundational pieces of your health first — get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and eat in a healthy way that will fuel your mind and body
  • Prioritize your time: Audit how you spend your time in a given week, notice what tasks provide you with energy and deplete you of energy, list your priorities and delete or delegate what’s not a priority
  • Set boundaries: Lead by example by creating on and off-limits for yourself, schedule time for breaks and lunch, implement times during which you shut off from technology completely
  • Be authentic: Make room for small talk in meetings, share your own experiences, struggles, and relaxation practices that bring you balance, ask for help when you need it

Preventing burnout starts with awareness -- of yourself and your teams. Assembly’s recognition tool, employees can recognize their peers for their hard work, the impact they’ve made, and why it matters. They can earn badges, redeem culture awards, and collect points to be redeemed for gift cards or culture rewards, providing just-in-time engagement channels to recharge before the New Year.

About the Author: Marissa Morrison is the former Head of People at Factual, Inc. before it merged with Foursquare where she is now on the HR leadership team. Marissa is the co-host of the Let's Take This Offline podcast and also serves as Assembly's advisor where she provides guidance on narrative, product development, and much more!

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide
Employee recognition guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. These one-time services start at $5,000. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered