Employee Burnout: How to Identify it and What to Do About it
Employee burnout is an actual condition that affects more people than you think. Frequently, burnout is confused with laziness, a lack of motivation, or even a personal problem. But this is generally different from the reality. The World Health Organization defines burnout in the workplace as “an occupational syndrome resulting from chronic stress that has not been successfully managed.”
According to a survey from FlexJobs, nearly 75% of working adults have experienced burnout to some extent during their professional careers. Of course, each job comes with its stressors, but the likelihood of burnout increases when employees feel as though stress is relentless, are unsupported, or their superiors mistreat them.
This article aims to explore some telltale signs of burnout in the workplace and techniques you can implement to help keep your employees from feeling burned out.
Common Signs of Employee Burnout
Employers and managers should pay attention to their employees’ habits. Being aware of tendencies among your team members makes burnout behaviors more apparent. It will also help determine how to eliminate burnout influences and improve attempts to ease burnout symptoms.
Here are some of the most common signs of employee burnout that you might notice in the office:
Mental, physical, or emotional exhaustion
Elevated stress levels
Increased absence or disengagement
Irritability or hostility
Decreased productivity or work quality
Understanding the difference between stress and burnout is important, too. Usually, stress results from the employee doing too much, whether that means too many tasks or too much pressure. It’s essentially when the demand for physical and mental capabilities strains the mind’s ability to manage and prioritize them comfortably. Alternatively, burnout is the feeling of emptiness or constant exhaustion — a total dismissal of intention or desire to operate.
It is common for employees to be familiar with the feelings of stress. However, burnout is much more severe. Stressed employees recognize that they will feel better once they manage their responsibilities. On the other hand, burned-out employees often feel there is no hope of positive change or opportunity to improve their situation.
Noticing the signs of burnout among employees typically raises more questions than answers — questions like:
Is it too late to help?
Is it my fault my employees feel burned out?
How can I help them?
The good news is that employers and managers can do a fair amount to help alleviate symptoms of burnout and, on some occasions, solve it entirely.
Business leaders are capable of a lot when it comes to offering support and making changes to discourage employees from feeling burned out. They need to notice when employees are showing signs of burnout and adjust work environments to help employees feel refreshed and comfortable. To decrease burnout, leaders should:
Allow employees to take time off: A change of scenery or a break from a constant routine can help many cases of employee burnout. Something as simple as a coffee or lunch break during a busy day can make a world of difference in employee stamina and focus. Some employees might need more time, like an occasional half-day or full-day off, so consider letting your employees decide when to take breaks (within reason).
Foster a supportive work environment: Employees who feel like they make a difference through their work are far less likely to experience burnout. Recognizing and applauding your employees for their accomplishments will make them feel valued and important. When your employees feel appreciated, they will remain engaged and passionate about the work they complete.
Encourage transparency: Open communication between leadership and employees allows both sides to express concerns related to burnout. The ability to talk about struggles or successes and what individuals need to remain fresh promotes long-term productivity and confidence in the office.
It is possible to prevent (and even reverse) employee burnout by managing your workplace accordingly. If the real causes of burnout are addressed, your employees will feel valued and perform their best. Employees should be confident and passionate about their work. Empowered employees deliver smooth and successful business operations. If you are concerned about employee burnout in your office or need more help implementing the tips above, visit our contact page with any questions. We are happy to help!