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Pest Control Business Burnout (Signs + Preventive Strategies)

Joanne Bratton
Jun 26, 2024
5 min read
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Anyone in the pest control business for any length of time knows about burnout.

As a pest control business owner, you're constantly on the go, performing daily duties and managing critical situations. It’s not often you have time to take a break, much less plan for business growth.

If you're short-handed, it only makes matters worse. Your team feels overworked, and performance begins to slide.

The good news? You can prevent burnout. Use this guide to recognize burnout warning signs and implement management strategies to create a positive work environment and a strong team.

Recognize Signs of Burnout

The pest control industry isn’t a stranger to burnout or chronic workplace stress. According to a Pest Control Technology poll, more than 60% of responders cited employee burnout and employee work-life balance as top workforce concerns.

We all know what burnout feels like, but how do you know if your pest control technicians or office staff feel stressed or overwhelmed? Here’s what you need to know about recognizing the signs of burnout in your pest management business.

Decreased Performance and Increased Absenteeism

Employee burnout often results in a decline in productivity and increased absenteeism. The American Institute of Stress estimates that 1 million workers are absent daily due to stress.

You may see a decrease in performance from pest control service techs loaded with a hefty work schedule. They may not have the time to perform a quality job or communicate thoroughly with customers.

The problem: Decreased productivity. Overworked techs struggle to keep up with the job's demands on top of drive time. As a result, they may not show up for work on time – or at all.

The fix: Consider reworking schedules to reduce the time technicians spend behind the wheel so they can focus on each job.

Lack of Engagement

Burnout can manifest in unmotivated, disinterested, or detached employees. The American Psychological Association’s 2021 work and well-being survey showed three in five employees report negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, or energy.

The problem: Techs or office staff show little interest in work and don’t communicate well with their team.

The fix: Communicate regularly with your employees to find out how you can improve the work environment. Find out what motivates them. Consider offering incentives, such as cash, prizes, and awards, to promote engagement and friendly team competition.

Irritability and Conflict

When you or your employees feel stressed and don’t correctly resolve problems, it can lead to irritability and conflict in the workplace. According to The American Institute of Stress, 42% of workers reported workplace stress resulted in yelling and verbal abuse at work, and 10% reported the occurrence of physical violence.

The problem: Your team isn’t getting along, and you notice increasing customer conflicts.

The fix: Find out the source of the issue. Is it a lack of time off or inadequate training? Work with employees and provide what they need before they get to the point of lashing out.

Physical Symptoms

According to the American Osteopathic Association, the physical symptoms of burnout include fatigue, insomnia, heart palpitations, headache, and increased illness. In the APA’s 2021 work and well-being survey, 44% of workers reported physical fatigue from work-related stress.

The problem: The feeling of constant fatigue and other stress-related symptoms. This could result in increased illness and sick days.

The fix: Promote a work-life balance to maintain physical and mental health for yourself and your employees. This may include modifying schedules, implementing efficient processes, or hiring more employees.

Isolation

People with certain personality types may be more prone to isolation due to burnout. You may notice employees withdrawing from social interactions or reducing participation in work-related activities.

The problem: Employees stop communicating with team members and withdraw from co-worker interactions.

The fix: Encourage communication with employees to find ways to reduce stress. Consider ways to bring your team together, such as participating in an office potluck or a business-sponsored community event.

Prevent Burnout in Your Pest Control Business

Your pest control company stays busy delivering termite, cockroach, bedbug, and rodent control solutions to customers. If burnout leads to reduced performance and profitability, your business suffers. Implement these tips to build a better work environment and exterminate potential burnout in your business.

Promote Work-Life Balance

You and your employees need to maintain a work-life balance to avoid burnout.

Your employees’ personal and work lives become affected if they can’t take time off when needed. The Mental Health America organization reports that 75% of people feel afraid of punishment for taking a day off to attend to their mental health.

Allow time off for your pest control exterminators and office staff. Consider flexible work arrangements and provide sufficient vacation and sick days. For a healthy work-life balance, implement software to manage operations efficiently. FieldRoutes® pest control software automates daily tasks, enabling you and your employees to do more in less time.

Ensuring a healthy work-life balance also attracts new employees to your business.

According to the online job search site Zippia, 72% of workers believe a work-life balance is a very important when choosing a job, and 57% considering a new job say a poor work-life balance is a deal-breaker.

Encourage Open Communication

Regularly communicate with employees to hear their ideas and needs. Open communication shows you value employees and increases morale, collaboration, and productivity.

Find the best communication methods for your team, such as in-person daily or weekly team meetings, one-on-one check-ins in person or by phone, and other digital methods.

Establish mechanisms for feedback, whether on paper or with website tools. Anonymous feedback elicits honest answers, as employees won’t fear retaliation.

Provide Support

Provide resources to support employees. Designate an employee to provide human resource management to oversee training and development, provide physical and mental health resources, and connect with employees personally.

Find practical methods to support your pest control employees. This could be as simple as implementing reasonable truck idling policies, allowing techs a few minutes to cool off in their trucks when working in the heat of summer, as The Pestgeek Podcast host and integrated pest control management specialist Franklin Hernandez in Miami suggested. The podcast also shares how to prevent burnout in a full video with Christian Allen from Tailor Made Pest Control.

Listen to pest control training podcasts, such as the Pest In Class podcast from FieldRoutes, join industry Facebook groups, and connect with business owners on other social media platforms for ideas to effectively support employees.

Lead by Example

Business owners and managers should demonstrate the attitudes and behaviors they want to see in their employees. This includes inspiring employees through positivity, integrity, empathy, a strong work ethic, and self-care practices to prevent burnout.

If you don’t set personal boundaries and take steps to prevent burnout, your employees likely won’t either. Practice good time management and healthy work habits, taking breaks and time off when needed.

Recognize and Appreciate

Take time to recognize and appreciate your pest control techs and office staff. Their hard work contributes to business success.

Recognize and appreciate employees by:

  • Providing personalized feedback

  • Starting employee recognition programs, such as naming an employee of the month or celebrating work anniversaries

  • Encouraging peer-to-peer recognition

  • Incentivizing employee goals and milestones

Show gratitude to your employees to create a happy and productive team.

Monitor Workload

An overloaded schedule eventually burns out your technicians. A 2019 Pest Control Technology (PCT)/National Pest Management Association (NPMA) Workplace Survey states less than half of employees were satisfied with the amount of stress they experienced working in the industry.

Monitor workload and establish feasible work schedules to avoid work-related stress and burnout. Use scheduling tools to manage the needs of your large or small business, customers, and technicians.

FieldRoutes scheduling and routing software enables businesses to schedule smarter and optimize routes, saving drive time and fuel costs. FieldRoutes enables pest control entrepreneurs to reduce overhead, improve productivity, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Learn More About How to Run Your Pest Control Business

FieldRoutes simplifies your life with tools to streamline business. Powerful, time-saving features explicitly designed for the pest control industry automate and improve pest control business operations.

Fieldroutes’ intelligent technician routing and integrated pest inspection, renewal, and reporting tools help your team work more accurately and efficiently. FieldRoutes frees up your time and reduces the chances of burnout, allowing you to scale and grow your business correctly.

Ready to get your time back? Schedule a demo to see how FieldRoutes helps you efficiently manage your business.

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