Burnout: How to feel less *&%$ed in the workplace

Burnout is everywhere. According to Zippia, 89% of workers have experienced burnout within the past year. Read on to learn why this happens, and how to prevent it at work.

How to feel less *&%$ed in the workplace!

Shattered, exhausted, over it and well and truly stuffed – burnout is here and according to some sources, it’s on the rise.

Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion which can be a result of prolonged periods of stress.

According to Zippia, 89% of workers have experienced burnout within the past year. With such numbers, it’s likely that some of your employees feel this way in your organisation. 40% of workers quit due to burnout which is a worrying statistic. 

Forbes recently published the four key signs of burnout being:

  • Feelings of energy depletion, exhaustion and fatigue,
  • Increased mental distance from your job,
  • Feelings of negativism or cynicism related to your job,
  • Reduced professional efficacy.

Burnout differs from stress, in that stress isn’t always a negative response in the body. When short in duration, it can help with alertness and concentration. When stress is prolonged, and leads to feeling unable to cope, this can be distress. Burnout is considered a form of prolonged distress.

There are several factors that can contribute to burnout:

Excessive Workload

When employees constantly have to handle an overwhelming amount of work and responsibilities, it can lead to burnout. Feeling constantly stretched thin and unable to keep up can be emotionally and physically draining.

Lack of Control or Autonomy

Feeling powerless or unable to influence decisions and outcomes in a job can contribute to burnout. When employees have no say in how their work is structured or executed, it can lead to a sense of helplessness.

A lack of decision-making authority or autonomy at work can lead to a feeling of disempowerment and contribute to burnout.

Lack of Recognition

If employees’ efforts and contributions go unnoticed or unappreciated, it can lead to feelings of disillusionment and demotivation, eventually leading to burnout.

Poor Work-Life Balance

An inability to disconnect from work and maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life can cause burnout. Constantly being on call or feeling pressured to work long hours can take a toll on overall well-being.

Unclear Expectations

When employees are unclear about their roles, responsibilities, or performance expectations, it can lead to stress and frustration, contributing to burnout.

Inadequate Resources

Insufficient tools, training, or resources to accomplish tasks can create a sense of frustration and hinder job performance, ultimately leading to burnout.

Lack of Social Support

Feeling isolated or unsupported by colleagues, supervisors, or the organisation as a whole can contribute to burnout. Positive workplace relationships and a sense of belonging are important for well-being and satisfaction.

Unfair Treatment

Experiencing discrimination, favouritism, or unfair treatment in the workplace can lead to feelings of resentment, anger, and eventually burnout. Not to mention the damage this does to a workplace culture.

High Pressure and Expectations

Unrealistic demands, high performance expectations, and constant pressure to meet targets or goals can create acute stress that ultimately contributes to burnout.

Job Insecurity

Concerns about job stability, layoffs, or reorganisations can create anxiety and stress that contribute to burnout and mental health deterioration.

Monotonous or Unfulfilling Work

Engaging in repetitive, monotonous tasks or feeling unfulfilled by the work being done can lead to a sense of stagnation and burnout.

It’s important to note that burnout is a complex phenomenon, and it can result from a combination of these factors and  individual differences and coping mechanisms play a role in how people experience and respond to workplace stressors.

Workplaces that prioritise employee well-being, provide support, and promote a healthy work environment are better equipped to prevent and address burnout.

OK … so how do I stop burnout at my workplace?

Great question!!!! Preventing employee burnout requires a proactive and planned approach that involves both organisational strategies and individual well-being initiatives.

Here are some steps your workplace can take to prevent employee burnout:

Promote Work-Life Balance: Encourage employees to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life. Set clear expectations for work hours and communicate that it’s okay to disconnect outside of those hours.

Manage Workloads: Monitor workloads to ensure they are manageable and realistic and avoid overloading employees with excessive tasks and responsibilities.

Set Clear Expectations: Clearly communicate job roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations. Providing employees with a clear understanding of their roles can reduce confusion and stress.

Foster Supportive Leadership: Develop managers to be supportive and empathetic leaders. Encourage regular check-ins to discuss workload, challenges, and career development.

Encourage Open Communication: Create an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their concerns and discussing their workload. Encourage open and honest communication about stressors and challenges.

Recognition and Appreciation: Regularly acknowledge and appreciate employees’ contributions and efforts. Recognition can boost morale and motivation too – it’s a win win.

Offer Opportunities for Professional Development: Provide opportunities for skill development and career growth as engaged employees who see a path for advancement are more likely to stay motivated and committed.

Flexible Work Arrangements: Consider offering flexible work arrangements like remote work, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks. This can help employees manage their work-life balance more effectively. Encourage employees to take regular breaks throughout the day and utilise their vacation time. Avoid glorifying overworking or skipping breaks.

Wellness Programs: Implement wellness initiatives like stress management workshops, mindfulness sessions, and physical fitness programs to promote employee well-being.

Provide Adequate Resources: Ensure that employees have the tools, technology, and resources needed to perform their jobs effectively as inadequate resources will lead to frustration and burnout.

Create a Positive Work Environment: Foster a positive and inclusive workplace culture that values teamwork, collaboration, and respect. A supportive environment can buffer against burnout and help you retain your awesome team.

Empower Decision-Making: Give employees a sense of autonomy and involvement in decision-making processes related to their work. Feeling empowered can increase job satisfaction and reduce burnout.

Promote Social Connections: Foster opportunities for employees to connect and build positive relationships with colleagues. Social support can help mitigate the effects of stress and burnout.

Preventing burnout is an ongoing effort that requires a commitment from both leadership and employees. By implementing some of the above strategies, organisations can create a healthier and more productive work environment that supports employee well-being and prevents burnout.

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