Chris Shurian
Classic Construction Services
Provo, Utah
Big50 2005

We throw a couple of big employee parties every year to show our appreciation for the hard work our guys do, but I don't think that doing something twice a year is enough. We buy everyone in the company lunch once a month. It's a good “thank you” to them and also allows them to relax a little bit.

Additionally, only in very unusual circumstances will any of our guys work weekends. We encourage them to use Saturday and Sunday for family time or for personal relaxation. We also give them a nice allotment of vacation days to make sure they get some time away.

Joe Billingham
Billingham Built
Erwinna, Pa.
Big50 1997

Our company is a team, and I'm very fortunate to have a team full of generous, hardworking individuals who are devoted to the general cause. When one member of the team needs a little boost, everyone else is there to pick them up.

To keep that esprit de corps, we do things like have breakfast together on a regular basis. Every summer, we have a company picnic. We talk to each other daily. One of our employees' wives has even become something of an “entertainment director” for our company, and every once in a while we'll do something like go to a show or an art museum as a company, and then have dinner together.

Neal Hendy
Neal's Design-Remodel
Big50 1993

Patience is the most important thing to have when an employee is burned out. Listen to what they're saying to you and react accordingly.

Whether it's forcing them to take some time off (which we've done on occasion) or hiring additional people to help with the workload, you need to do what it takes to help them through the tough times. Good people are far too valuable to risk losing them to burnout.

Jerry Liu
D.G. Liu Contractor
Dickerson, Md.
Big50 2002

Prevention is the best strategy to counter burnout, and to that end we promote a lot of camaraderie among our staff with parties, fishing trips … anything to break the routine. I'm a firm believer that work supports your life; you don't live to work, and this helps us keep that perspective.

Unfortunately, it is human nature to occasionally take things too seriously. Once, a project manager running a job for a particularly demanding client confessed to having trouble sleeping. I talked to the client and found that they thought the guy walked on water. Once I told my employee this, he regained his perspective and now has a better handle on the relative importance of life and work.

However, most often I've found that simply taking a half hour to sit and listen to the employee does the most good. I'll usually ask them about their hobbies or their plans for their next vacation. It gets them thinking about fun pursuits outside of work, and it's a strategy I use with myself when I'm feeling stressed.

Geoff Horen
The Lifestyle Group
Big50 2006

I've been known to tell our office manager that it's time for a day off. She's extremely busy, and her workdays can easily become hectic and overwhelming. When I sense she needs it, I try to give her a Friday or Monday off so she has a long weekend to decompress a bit.

If we can survive without them, I'll occasionally tell someone in production to take the afternoon off. It's not much, and it rarely happens, but sometimes that mental break can be all they need to get back on track.

We also encourage everyone to take and enjoy their vacation time. Taking time away from work with their families or by themselves always seems to recharge their batteries.

Jeff Troost
Troost Bros. Home Renovations
Staten Island, N.Y.
Big50 2004

We don't have a set policy, but we will occasionally hold a company barbecue. We have them on weekday afternoons so everyone can attend and get paid for it. We also will bring a few employees to an annual golf outing in our area for home improvement contractors.

Honestly, these types of days are few and far between. However, we feel that occasions like these will de-stress our employees for at least a week or so.