How Managers Can Prevent Employee Work Burnout
Work burnout is one of the biggest problems that employers deal with. Here’s a better understanding of what it is, how to detect it, and how your company can prevent it.
Among the many problems that companies face is when their employees start to feel burnt out. Extensive research conducted by Zippia shows that around 89% of workers have experienced work burnout within the past year and that about 77% of employees feel burnout at their current job.
The World Health Organization defines burnout as a conceptualized syndrome that results from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from a job, and reduced professional efficacy. Though doctors do not classify it as a medical condition, they regard it as an occupational phenomenon.
Numbers show that over a third of employees have resigned from their jobs because of work burnout. And yet, is burnout a valid reason for quitting? Experts say that it’s generally best to start looking for a new workplace when one’s physical or emotional well-being is already suffering.
Effective managers must spot the signs of work burnout among employees to prevent them from leaving. Determining the signs and the causes of burnout can also be an effective way to address issues that may be affecting more than just a single employee. With that, here are some facts that will improve your relationship with employees by minimizing the risks of work burnout.
What Are the Signs of Burnout?
Burnout isn’t just an internal feeling or emotion. Rather, it takes a toll on health, providing managers with signs and noticeable characteristics to watch out for. Aside from a lack of motivation and trouble in concentration, burnout may also reflect in an employee’s overall health. Some signs which may manifest in an employee’s health or personality might be:
- Memory issues
- Change in appetite
- Loss of energy
- Increased illness
What Causes Work Burnout?
Work burnout doesn’t happen overnight. And it might take a long time before symptoms manifest. The triggers of burnout may vary from one person to another but the most common causes are the following:
- Challenging workloads
When the workload meets an employee’s capacity, it becomes easier for them to get their job done. They may also find ways to hone their skills and make time for personal growth. Although being challenged in the workplace is a normal thing, there are cases when employees experience stress as they are required to complete tasks that are beyond their capabilities. Such situations can put them under pressure. And if it goes on for too long, it may be a reason for them to develop burnout.
- Lack of control
Oftentimes, professional life may lead to situations when employees feel that they are no longer in control. Among the situations that can lead to burnout include being asked to reply beyond work hours or having priorities shift often. Such changes may pile up over time and make employees doubt their abilities in the long run.
- Insufficient compensation
Employees appreciate both the extrinsic and the intrinsic acknowledgment that their job gives them for the services that they render. Burnout may be triggered when employees feel that they are being underappreciated for their hard work. Such feelings may develop if they fail to get a raise or promotion, or are not being paid well.
- Feeling of isolation
Workload is not the only reason why employees may feel burnt out. Rather, their working environment can also be a cause. Not having a supportive team may lead to burnout as employees may not have someone to talk to. Studies also show that burnout is contagious. Working with those who are experiencing burnout will make others feel the same way, especially if the workplace already has many disgruntled employees.
- Work-life imbalance
Excessive working hours may leave employees too drained to deal with their personal life. When work-life balance is ruined, burnout becomes evident as individuals lose energy even when they unwind.
How to Address Work Burnout
There are several ways managers can alleviate the risks of burnout:
- Practice open communication
One of the ways that companies can prevent employees from feeling burnt out is by assuring that they are in a safe place. This goes to say that employees can be confident enough to communicate their feelings with their bosses. This way, they can express what stresses them out and disclose other possible reasons that they think are affecting their performance.
- Set realistic goals
If several employees show signs of burnout, it may be best to review their tasks and check their viability. If the expectations are already too much and the workloads are getting heavier, it may be a good time for reevaluation. When employees feel less pressure about their workloads, they can produce better results.
- Prioritize diversity and fairness
Monitor office operations and make sure that no one is getting bullied or feeling isolated. Double-check office policies and see if it promotes diversity and fairness for all. By ensuring that the workplace feels safe for all, employees will be less likely to experience burnout. In line with this, managers may also want to check the best work setup that works for their employees.
- Introduce relaxing activities
If possible, help your team relax. Introduce programs that can make them feel better about themselves like yoga or meditation. If this is not possible within the office, simply encourage employees to spend some time exercising so they can take their minds off work.
- Offer merit-based incentives
Aside from praising employees for the work that they do, make sure that they feel appreciated every now and then. If the budget allows it, introduce some merit-based incentives that they can get on top of their salaries to increase their motivation.
Understanding the effects of burnout is important for managers. This corporate phenomenon can become a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Upon acknowledging work burnout and providing preventive measures, it becomes easier to manage workplaces that will make employees want to stay.