Burnout: How to Prevent It and Keep Your Creative Team Motivated

For creatives who face the constant pressure of production deadlines, inefficient workflows, and scarce resources, burnout has become a real issue. When all you get as a creative is non-intuitive technology and ever-evolving expectations, a lack of motivation may very well permeate your work, and possibly life. This is when burnout becomes a very real problem – even in the best of times.

And in recent years? Things have only gotten worse. The threat of burnout has gotten too real.

Like so many during 2020 and 2021, creatives were asked to manage the complex personal emotions brought on by the onset of the pandemic and to quickly adjust to remote work. On top of that, they suddenly saw their workloads increase as the demand for creating assets skyrocketed. And, stripped of their daily routines, many creatives found themselves working around the clock.

Burnout is now becoming increasingly prevalent as teams reach their breaking point – a natural result of living and working under so much pressure with no clear end in sight.

Therefore, acknowledging all this and taking a moment to reflect on it is so important. As you look toward what’s next for your creative team in this post-pandemic world, we’ll show you how to create a new, better normal that will help your team members not only survive – but thrive.

Creative Team Burnout in the Age of COVID-19

Creative teams have always been expected to be flexible, nimble, and agile. These expectations are laid in front of creatives against a backdrop of rushed projects, shifting deadlines, and high expectations. According to our annual Creative Management Report, the factors that traditionally lead to burnout were worsened by the pandemic:

  • 58% of creatives were asked to do more work in 2020 than in 2019
  • 31% faced staff reductions and/or budget cuts in 2020
  • 73% reported the speed at which they were now expected to work became problematic
  • 59% said the volume of work they were expected to produce was a challenge
  • 61% said they didn’t have the creative resources to do their jobs as well as they’d like

All these factors, combined with the emotional weight of the pandemic, eventually took a toll.

That toll showed up in several ways. Disengagement. Disinterest during Zoom meetings. Lower levels of participation on Slack or email threads. Work not reflective of creative potential. High turnover. Missed deadlines. Slow time to market.

In short, creative teams have had it.

As you plan for future changes, this is something you simply must consider. What if creatives bring their burnout back to the office with them? What if it gets worse as they face yet another significant upheaval to their daily norms and routines? And how should you prepare to deal with these challenges when they occur? You see, it’s not a matter of ‘if‘ – it’s a matter of ‘when‘.

Prevent – or Lessen – Burnout with Smart, Flexible Solutions

If you’re seeing the symptoms of burnout creeping into your creative team, it’s time to address it head on. This involves offering your team a satisfying and sustainable workflow that combines the best of office and remote work. It means investing in the technology and tools that will set your people up for success in a new hybrid world.

Champion Collaboration and Connection through the In-Person Office Environment

Most of us thrive when there is structure to our days. And there can be important team building and creativity-boosting benefits to being physically present in the same space. But the five-day workweek can also feel like a grind, especially for team members who have a long commute or whose jobs require a good amount of inspiration and creativity.

Consider capitalizing on the positive aspects of office life – have your employees come into the office two or three days a week. In doing so, you can use the benefits of both work options. Your team can use in-office days for intentional collaboration. This will strengthen personal connections between team members, while remote days will offer much-needed balance and flexibility.

Foster Creativity through Remote Work Options

To complement in-office days, the opportunity to continue working remotely offers long stretches of uninterrupted work time to provide creatives a chance to execute on all the ideas they’ve brainstormed with their colleagues. And just as importantly for professionals who are balancing work with family obligations, remote days offer flexibility that enables creatives to bring their best efforts to all aspects of life.

To make these remote days as effective and productive as possible, consider putting a moratorium on Zoom meetings or other interruptions for at least part of the day. This will empower your team to tap into their creative storehouses and produce work that achieves better content outcomes.

Fight Burnout by Investing in Tools and Technologies that Enhance Creative Team Productivity

When responding to the sudden shift to fully remote work, many teams developed stop-gap creative workflows and processes to keep teams functioning. Sound familiar? If so, now is the time to take the headache out of the creative process by investing in technology to foster enhanced creativity and collaboration.

To find tools that will set your teams up for success, ask yourself:

  • Have you streamlined existing processes and workflows intuitively enough so that everyone working remotely can follow them?
  • Has my team expressed frustration about the tools they currently use? If so, what are the common complaints that need to be addressed? What’s the plan to fix them?
  • Do our tools allow for collaboration between the team and external stakeholders? Especially if stakeholders opt not to take part in in-person meetings moving forward.

When you provide intuitive tools and technologies that meet the needs of your team and stakeholders, you help foster a seamless creative process – whether you’re working from the office or remotely.

Lead Your Creative Team into a Bright, Burnout-Free Future

Creative teams have been through a lot this past year. As their champion, it’s your responsibility to meet your team members where they are while also setting an inspiring vision for what the future will hold.


By offering a flexible work environment that embraces in-person and remote work – and by investing in tools to streamline and enhance processes – you can mitigate burnout and set your team up for ever higher levels of success.


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