Workplace burnout is an idea that has been affecting employees for a very long time. Chances are you’ve met someone experiencing burnout at work before. Maybe you’ve experienced it yourself, but never knew how common it was among employees. Deloitte’s external marketplace survey of 1,000 full-time US professionals show that 77% of respondents say they have experienced burnout at their current job, with more than half citing more than one occurrence.
It can be a cancer in the workplace, making once highly-engaged and motivated employees feel irritable, unmotivated, and demoralized. To be able to prevent this, it’s important to first understand what it is and how it is presented.
What is burnout?
“Burnout” is described as a result of prolonged work-related stress, leading to decreased productivity, detachment from work and absenteeism. Likewise, chronic feelings of physical and emotional exhaustion, crippling stress, and extreme dissatisfaction with work are also common in employees experiencing burnout.
What causes workplace burnout?
There are many causes of workplace burnout. The most common causes include:
- Work overload
- Too much pressure to perform at work
- Lack of support from managers
- Poor work environment
- Lack of autonomy at work
A number of other work-related issues, especially when combined with personal issues outside of work, can contribute to the immense effects burnout can have on an employee if left unchecked.
Effects of workplace burnout
Burnout can have effects that go beyond a single employee. It can also have serious effects on one’s physical and mental health, such as:
- Chronic fatigue
- Other mental health issues
The impacts of workplace burnout are not to be ignored. They can have serious and long-term results on your best employees.
How to prevent workplace burnout
Although burnout is a common issue among employees today, it is not inevitable. There are measures you can take as a manager to prevent and manage the consequences of workplace burnout and even put a stop to the issue before it begins.
- Pay attention to the well-being of your employees. Many organizations offer some kind of wellness program for employees, such as company-sponsored exercise activities and mental health days. If you notice your employees are struggling with their overall mental health, consider implementing a wellness program.
- Create an open and safe work environment. Make sure your employees know that, as their manager, you are there to help them work through any work-related issue they may have. When your employees feel a sense of trust and security in the workplace, they will be much more willing to discuss their concerns with you. This provides the opportunity to solve problems before they lead to burnout.
- Provide employees with a comfortable level of autonomy. Of course, you want to make sure not to allow for too much autonomy, which can lead to ambiguity and can have the opposite effect. On the other end of the spectrum, micromanaging your employees can make them feel as though they have no freedom in their job.
- Reduce workplace stress. Too much stress is the number one contributor to burnout, and one of the top reasons employees eventually quit their jobs. You can create a low-stress work environment by setting reasonable and attainable goals for employees. Also, give employees a reasonable workload–not too much and not too little. Finally, allow employees time to recharge. Allow them to take breaks periodically during the work day to prevent motivation loss and maintain engagement.
Unfortunately, workplace burnout is a very common issue. Many employees will experience over the course of their career. Luckily, there are relatively easy-to-implement solutions which can help reduce the effects of burnout. Likewise, talking about burnout and its wide-spread ramifications will help to destigmatize it and prevent it all together.
If you are experiencing burnout at work, it is important to remember to take care of yourself inside and outside of work. Voicing your concerns to a manager about your work environment is the first step to resolving workplace burnout for good.