Because burnout is becoming increasingly common in the workplace, managers are now being tasked with recognizing it in their team members and with helping to correct it. In this article, we will discuss how to spot early signs of burnout, what you can do to help, and most importantly how to prevent it in the first place.
WHAT IS BURNOUT?
World Health Organization has actually recognized burnout’s impact on health. WHO defined it as a syndrome that results “from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” This definition in itself tells us that teaching our team members to successfully manage their stress, and to reach out when it isn’t manageable, is the key to preventing burnout.
WHO DOES IT AFFECT?
Burnout is prevalent and pervasive in people’s lives. Even the most passionate employees struggle with burnout. According to a Deloitte survey, 87% of employees reported being passionate about their work, but 64% are frequently stressed. This same survey also found that:
- Nearly 50% of respondents have quit a job because of burnout
- 91% currently report having an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration that negatively impacts the quality of their work
- 70% feel their employers aren’t doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout
- 83% have personal relationships that are negatively affected by workplace burnout
The good news is that managers really can make a difference.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE:
Burnout is often characterized by one or more observable signs. Here are 4 changes you could easily spot that tell you your team may be experiencing burnout:
- mental and physical exhaustion
- uncharacteristic disengagement or boredom at work
- reduced productivity
- cynicism or complaining related to one’s job
For any of these things, be it tiredness or complaining, an occasional occurrence is permissible and even expected from employees. People have bad days and hard weeks. However, if a team member is experiencing an extended period of one or more of the above symptoms, there is likely a bigger issue to address.
This is where managers must ask questions and get to know their team. While these symptoms are all key signs of burnout, there is also a chance that the cause is not work-related. Employees could have rough situations in their personal life, like sick family members or financial stress, and those problems can affect their workplace behavior.
When team members know they can trust and rely on management, they are more likely to be forthcoming about what is really going on. If the affected person doesn’t suggest any causes, try asking questions like “what do you have on your plate right now?” or “I noticed your productivity is down from last month. What can we, as a team, do to help you keep up with your work?”
It’s also important to understand that an employee’s negativity likely affects other employees, and it’s important to take the necessary steps to address these issues fully.
CAUSES OF BURNOUT:
According to a Forbes article, some of the leading causes of workplace burnout are:
- Unclear expectations
- Poor communication
- Being overworked and underappreciated
- Feeling the need to be constantly connected to work
- Working in a toxic environment
- Lack of support from a manager and/or coworkers
- Being micromanaged