Burnout saps employees' energy and makes them feel helpless, hopeless, and resentful. Employers must address this issue for the health and mental wellbeing of their employees.
Today, the world is facing major socioeconomic setbacks due to which workers in modern workplaces experience additional pressure in their job.
The US workforce suffers from burnout every week from stress, fatigue, or frustration and the global pandemic has stretched the ratio to a new high.
As per the recent study conducted by Glint, employee burnout spiked to a two-year high as the Covid-19 took hold.
According to the Report,
79% of employees are experiencing mild to severe burnout due to poor workplace cultures while 40% of the cases resulting from the effects of the pandemic.
Employee burnout can lead to type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and coronary heart disease.
Creating a work-life balance has become a challenge for employees in the new normal of remote working and led to a sustained stress level.
Extended work hours, anxiety, lack of support, and less time spent with family are primary contributors to burnout syndrome. These factors damage employee health, performance, and productivity and tend towards a significant amount of employee turnover.
The Historical Description of Burnout
Burnout is an intricate psychological state with no quick fixes. Herbert Freudenberger was the first man who described burnout syndrome in his first scientific paper in 1975. He was a German-born U.S. psychologist and psychotherapist who researched burnout through his many publications.
According to Freudenberger,
“becoming exhausted by making excessive demands on strength, energy, or resources in the workplace leads to burnout.”
It is characterized by physical symptoms like exhaustion, fatigue, sleeplessness, shortness of breath, and frequent headaches. Behavioral symptoms involve frustration, a suspicious attitude, a feeling of overconfidence, and signs of depression. (Burnout research, march 2017)
What is Burnout?
World health organization has now legitimized burnout as a mental health condition and added it to the International classification of diseases. (ICD-11, WHO, 2020)
According to WHO,
“Burnout is conceptualized as a mental health condition resulting from chronic stress at the workplace that has not been effectively managed. It is only used to describe the experiences in the occupational context and should not be used in other areas of life.
It is categorized into three parts:
1) feelings of exhaustion
2) feelings of negativism or increased coldness from one’s job
3) a sense of uselessness and lack of confidence in performance. “
Causes of Employee Burnout in Modern Workplace
When organizations fail to encounter certain issues, employees feel avoidance, exhaustion, and futility in their jobs, which over time, leads to employee burnout.
Following are some elements of workplace culture that spike the chance of burnout:
· Psychological safety from managers
· Lack of purpose
· Lack of communication and support
· Unfair treatment such as favoritism, unfair deductions, or corporate policies
· Lack of opportunities to learn and grow
· Workplace Bullying
· Time pressure and lack of clarity
· Performance expectations
· Balancing work and personal life
· Absence of employee recognition for good performances
· Decreased sense of belonging
Addressing burnout — What Should Employers Do?
Employers will learn to address employee burnout in the following ways:
1. Ask managers to foster a productive work culture with a sense of belonging
A fraction of responsibility for addressing burnout falls on managers.
The best managers should discuss everything regarding work responsibilities, performance goals, and future targets with their employees. Fostering a shared work culture with a sense of belonging is an excellent way to prevent burnout.
Managers must communicate and support their team members if something goes wrong. If employees strongly feel that their managers have their back in all circumstances, they are less likely to experience burnout.
As a manager, you must ask yourself,
Are my team members in the right roles? Are they following their passion?
The most significant adjustment you can make to alleviate employee burnout is to help people understand what they are passionate about. Assign them tasks in which they can show their best potential.
2. Encourage active listening and give freedom to Innovate
Employers should maintain an environment where employees can share their ideas. Conducting annual surveys can be a good idea. In this way, employees will have an understanding of what they say and feel matters.
Employers can also create teams to collect opinions, ideas, and feedback from employees. It will give them flexibility and freedom to share thoughts, network with other team members, and learn new skills.
When there is a work culture where ideas can be shared, employees will have 67% lower odds of burnout.
3. Hire a consulting psychologist to help workers deal with burnout
Do you want to see emotionally depleted faces every day at the staff meeting? Where no one is engaged and feels motivated for the new projects? Don’t let your best talents experience burnout.
You can save your organization by hiring a professional consultant with extensive knowledge of organizational functioning, workplace issues, and other social dynamics.
A professional consultant offers an unbiased view that unveils the root cause of burnout that may be unknown and severe than it seems.
A consultant will circulate through the workplace and conduct group or individual interviews to better understand the problem.
He/she will talk to HR and company directors to figure out why employees’ morale has been affected.
It’s a no-fail strategy to eliminate microaggressions among the workforce. It also motivates employees who are not feeling acknowledged or appreciated.
When employees meet a consulting psychologist or therapist, they perceive it as a great step by their organizations. It will make them feel relaxed that they are in thriving workplace culture.
Creating a healthy working environment that prevents burnout is conducive to employee productivity, employee commitment, and satisfaction.
· Invest time to know their employees
· Help them leave their comfort zone
· Implement ways to motivate employees to work passionately
· Foster employee engagement (Natalia Peart, November 5, 2019)
· Create opportunities to learn, grow, and develop
· Tap into their future capability and support transformation
CEOs must step into their employee’s shoes and interact with them. Arrange office picnics, lunch, tournaments, appraisal awards, etc. Acknowledge their efforts and save them from the consequences of burnout.
“Your workforce is your real strength. If your employees are healthier and mentally relaxed, they will be more engaged and inspired to bring incredible successes.”