Don’t Burn Out Your Employees

 In Company Culture, Employee Success

Burnout is a condition of psychological stress and exhaustion that wreaks havoc emotionally, physically and mentally in individuals. When your employees suffer from burnout, their work and your workplace also suffer. Learn to recognize the signs and take steps to prevent this from happening to your staff.

Signs of Burnout

Though burnout manifests differently in different people, there are several typical indicators to watch for.

  • Increased sick days and signs of exhaustion or illness should be monitored, since mental stress can lead to physical illness. Feelings of burnout accompany feelings of being sick of work, and taking a sick day can be some employees’ way of managing their workloads.

  • Less socializing among team members and mood swings in individual employees could mean your staff is stressed.

  • Negativity, cynicism and complaining are chronic symptoms of burnout. These are symptoms of lower morale and can be contagious.

  • Increased over time can indicate staff is chronically overwhelmed.

  • Declines in productivity along with decreased work quality suggest employees who are less motivated and less committed, as well as staff who is overextended with work and nearing burnout.

Possible Causes of Burnout

Sources of stress and dissatisfaction are varied across individuals, as well as industries. Common causes of burnout fall into two main categories:

  1. Workload: Burnout frequently results from too much work, work that is too complex for the skill set or work with deadlines that are too urgent too much of the time. Unpredictable scheduling and a lack of control over assignments also contribute to work overload.

  2. Work environment: The organizational culture and individual relationships within teams, between management and staff and among coworkers are significant sources of burnout problems. When there is a breakdown in a sense of community, collaboration, cooperation and communication also suffer. Furthermore, when employees observe unfairness in how some employees are treated, how work is assigned or insufficient rewards and recognition, conditions are ripe for the development of burnout. Employees also experience burnout when the work environment conflicts with their values or fails to encourage an appropriate work-life balance.

Benefits of Being Proactive

Proactively addressing burnout prevents its development and minimizes the many negative consequences attributable to this phenomenon. When employees suffer from burnout, their work suffers in quality and quantity and can negatively affect team members. Additionally, staff retention may become a problem. Investing in the wellbeing of your workers is an investment in the health and wealth of the workplace overall.

Preventive Measures

Though no one solution will solve all of these problems, you still can take preventive steps that are appropriate for your workforce. Perhaps the most important action item is vigilance. Be aware of and on the lookout for symptoms. Examine workloads and schedules for ways to improve and ways to incorporate staff input. Encourage an environment of communication and employee self-care.

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