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Burnout at Work

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Although burnout is not recognised as a mental health disorder, it is a form of chronic workplace stress. It is often described as a state of physical or emotional exhaustion. It is often accompanied by a loss of personal identity and reduced achievement. Burnout can diminish an employee’s desire to grow and learn. During a state of burnout, a person’s energy and mental focus can be severely affected. Burnout is much easier to manage in prevention as opposed to its cure.


Symptoms of Burnout

Exhaustion

Mentally disconnected from the job

Negative feelings towards the job

Reduced amount of professional efficiency


What causes burnout?

Many workplaces are built on fast-paced work ethics and they generally operate under demanding circumstances. It is often these high-pressure situations that relate highly to employee burnout.


Common causes of burnout can include:

  • Unmanageable workloads

  • Unclear communication from management

  • Lack of manager support

  • Unreasonable time frames

  • Unfair treatment

Statistics

  • Employees who experience burnout are more likely to take a sick day and are 50% less likely to discuss their performance with their management.

  • Employees with burnout are more than twice as likely to be actively seeking a new job and are 13% less likely to be confident in their performance.

  • Employees’ who are given the opportunity to strive in what they are good at are 57% less likely to experience burnout

How can I prevent my employee’s from burning out?

Managers and employers are largely responsible for the prevention of burnout amongst employees. A key pillar is to understand employees’ most relevant values in the workplace. Whilst it is not a one-man job there are components of a company’s wellbeing strategy that can help holistically deal with burnout.

Businesses that focus on wellbeing create healthy and happy workplaces and also contribute to the employee’s personal life too.


What is a successful wellbeing strategy?

A wellbeing strategy should include the following 5 key elements:

  • Career – Do your employees like what they do each day?

  • Environmental – Is the workplace warm, well-lit, and comfortable enough for the desired productivity?

  • Community – Do your employees feel safe in their community?

  • Financial – Does the salary meet the individual’s needs?

  • Social – Do your employees have solid working relationships

Why management matters

An employee’s experience of a workplace is generally gained through their manager. This comes down to expectations, barriers, and collaboration. Employees will turn to their managers for support and overall influence on how employees feel about their job.

It is important to ensure that managers take the time to understand the causes of burnout and how they can go about making the relevant changes to prevent it.


It is important to make managers aware of the right questions to ask their employees that help to build trust, rapport, and create opportunities for employees. This will improve wellbeing and reduce the chances of burnout.





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