In a work-obsessed culture, the terms stress and employee burnout are now commonplace. We’ve all heard of them, and most of us have experienced them at one point or another.
Stress and burnout can significantly impact productivity, health, and overall well-being. In fact, stress is now the leading cause of absenteeism in the workplace. Burnout costs businesses an estimate of about billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, healthcare costs, and employee turnover.
So what exactly is employee burnout? And what can be done to prevent it? If you wish to find out more, read on.
What exactly is employee burnout?
Burnout is more widespread than ever and hitting people of every generation. It is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by extended stress periods in the workplace.
Symptoms of burnout include depersonalization or cynicism, feelings of inadequacy, and increasing mistrust of others.
While burnout can occur in any type of job, it is most common in high-pressure environments such as healthcare, law enforcement, and the food service industry.
Burnout can have severe consequences for both employers and employees, including decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and a greater risk of accidents.
What causes the feeling of burnout?
Herbert Freudenberger, an American psychologist, first coined the phrase “burnout” in the 1970s to describe the psychological effects of high stress on workers.
Over the years, the concept of burnout expanded to include a range of different situations. Today, burnout is often used to describe the feeling of being overwhelmed or exhausted by work.
A lot of the factors that drive burnout relate to workplace structures and cultural issues, and things that contribute to burnout are rigid schedules, lack of flexibility, poor teamwork, heavy administrative workload, and perceived leadership ineffectiveness.
Workers feel like they have no say in how they use their time which can lead to a sense of powerlessness and frustration.
Another common cause of burnout is a lack of social support at work. It can be very demoralizing when workers feel isolated or that their contributions are not valued.
Finally, some people may be more susceptible to burnout because of their personality type. For example, people who are “perfectionists” or “workaholics” may be more likely to push themselves to the point of exhaustion.
Denying the symptoms
Work stress and employee burnout are real problems that must be addressed. Too often, employers try to downplay the symptoms of stress and burnout, thinking that it’s just a normal part of working life. However, this is not the case.
Both stress and employee burnout can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s essential to speak up and ask for help:
- feeling overwhelmed or out of control
- feeling hopeless or pessimistic
- having difficulty concentrating or making decisions, or feeling physically exhausted
- feeling like you’re not good enough
- isolated or feeling alone
- feeling like your work is never-ending
These are just some of the signs that you may be struggling with work stress or employee burnout. Don’t suffer in silence — reach out for help.
How to prevent employee burnout?
While there is no sure-fire way to prevent burnout, there are a number of steps that employers can take to minimize its occurrence.
These include providing regular breaks, fostering a healthy work-life balance, providing hybrid or remote work options, offering employee assistance programs, and encouraging open communication between employees and managers.
Employees can also help prevent burnout by practicing self-care, setting boundaries, and communicating openly with their employers about their needs.
Both employers and employees can also introduce automation or technology in their daily work lives to make things easier and less stressful.
Departments like HR and payroll administration often utilize online form generators for tasks like filling out a simple W2 or 1099 forms which can save a lot of time and effort and reduce stress even further.
By taking these steps, employers can help to create a working environment that is more conducive to individual well-being and overall organizational success.
Burnout is a legitimate medical syndrome that can affect anyone, regardless of age. It has three categories of symptoms: energy depletion and emotional exhaustion, increased distance from your work, and decreased work performance or work productivity.
One of the challenges with employee burnout is that people don’t want to get help, as they don’t want to be seen as weak. So, they work harder, leading to more stress and more negative symptoms.
It’s a self-reinforcing cycle that can be hard to break out of.
If you think you might be struggling with employee burnout, the first step is to reach out for help. Talk to your supervisor, your HR department, or your doctor. Many online resources are also available to help you better understand and manage your stress.
Remember, you’re not alone — millions of people struggle with work stress and employee burnout every day. With the proper support, you can overcome these challenges and get back to enjoying your work.