Burnout is an all-too-common issue in the workplace and can lead to a host of negative consequences that impact everything from a person’s home life to their professional success. The cyclical nature of the workplace is counterproductive for many people and forces them into a state of unhappiness in many cases. Without proper interventions and support, employees are essentially set up for failure.
If you’re an employer, you need to be aware of what burnout is, the common scenarios that can cause it, and how to deal with it effectively to prevent it from impacting your workforce. Without addressing burnout, organizations are more likely to lose quality employees and experience diminished productivity.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a holistic state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that results from prolonged stress and can occur when employees feel overwhelmed or unequipped to handle the demands of their job. It’s important to distinguish that burnout is not the same as stress, which is just a normal response to challenging situations. That being said, chronic stress can lead to burnout if it continues for an extended period and isn’t dealt with.
Common Scenarios That Can Cause Burnout
This issue is not a one-size-fits-all and the root of burnout can be different for everyone. In many cases, though, there are some common themes that contribute to the development of this condition. Some of the scenarios that contribute to employee burnout include:
Excessive workload: With too much work on their plate, employees can find themselves depleted. Feeling overwhelmed and unable to meet the demands of the job can cause employees to feel stressed and exhausted.
Lack of control: When employees feel that they have no say in how they do their job or have no control over their work environment, it can contribute to burnout. Feeling powerless can also lead to a sense of helplessness and frustration, which may push them to quit.
Poor work-life balance: Not having a balance between personal and professional responsibilities can be harmful to a person’s quality of life. Ultimately, this can make employees feel exhausted, stressed, and generally unhappy.
Insufficient support: When people feel that they don’t have enough support from their employer or colleagues, it can push them towards burnout. They are more likely to feel unmotivated as well.
The Results of Burnout
Being burned out can lead to a range of negative outcomes, both for the employee and the employer. These results are both internal and external as well. For employees, burnout is known to cause physical and emotional symptoms, like chronic fatigue, headaches, anxiety, and depression. On top of this, it can lead to reduced job satisfaction, a lack of motivation, and an increase in absenteeism. Burnout has the ability to spill into all aspects of a person’s life, affecting their relationships, perceived quality of life, immune system, and more.
For example, an employee that is burned out is not likely to have the energy to properly cultivate their familial relationships. This may cause them to suffer within their roles as a spouse or parent. Additionally, they are more likely to become ill frequently as chronic stress suppresses the immune system. As a result, they might miss work more frequently and are less equipped to help within their own home. This has the power to cause a spiral effect, decreasing their overall happiness with their life.
For employers, burnout can lead to a decrease in productivity, a loss of quality employees, and increased healthcare or onboarding costs as a result. This can be stressful on the company as a whole and can affect their bottom line.
How to Deal with Burnout as an Employer
Dealing with employee burnout requires a proactive approach from employers as it requires being addressed beforehand as well. Here are some strategies that employers can use to prevent and address burnout in the workplace:
- Encourage work-life balance: A balance between home and work is critical for a person’s happiness and ability to succeed. Encouraging employees to take breaks and prioritize their personal life can also help with this.
- Create a supportive work environment: Employers can foster a supportive work environment by encouraging open communication and openly speaking about mental health when necessary. A supportive work environment can help employees feel valued, heard, and supported. In turn, this may increase their interest in seeing the company succeed.
- Provide opportunities for growth and development: In order to create a sense of motivation and drive, employers should provide opportunities for growth within their company. These opportunities can help employees feel motivated and engaged, which can increase their productivity and excitement for work.
- Manage workload and expectations: All employers can manage workload and expectations by setting realistic goals and deadlines and setting them up for success. Ensuring that employees feel confident in their ability to meet the demands of their job increases their sense of achievement and overall drive.
- Address burnout when it occurs: Organizations should be prepared to address burnout when it inevitably occurs. This might involve offering time off when needed or making accommodations to their workload on a case-by-case basis. Addressing burnout in a timely and compassionate manner can help prevent it from becoming a long-term issue.
- Advertise and encourage self-care: Encouraging employees to engage in self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, or therapy, is another helpful strategy. Many companies scold employees for taking time to themselves, not realizing that this is counterproductive to their goals.
- Lead by example: Employers can lead by example by modeling healthy work habits, like taking frequent breaks and setting realistic expectations for themselves and their employees. When employers prioritize their own well-being, they send a message that employees’ well-being is also important.
- Build a culture of trust and respect: Employers can build a culture of trust and respect by valuing employees’ opinions and treating them with kindness and compassion at all times. A culture of trust and respect can help employees feel supported and can help retain them. When this is lacking, turnover is likely to remain high.
- Conduct regular check-ins: Conducting regular check-ins with their employees to assess their job satisfaction and overall well-being is another key tool to utilize. These check-ins can provide an opportunity to address any issues before they escalate and prevent burnout from occurring.
- Provide resources and support: Offer resources such as counseling or complimentary access to mental health professionals. Show your employees that you care about their well-being by offering them support and resources when they need it.
- Encourage autonomy: Give your employees the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This can help them feel more in control and less overwhelmed by their responsibilities.
- Recognize and reward good work: Recognize and reward employees for their hard work and contributions. Celebrate their achievements and provide positive feedback regularly to boost their morale and motivation.
Employee burnout can have serious consequences for both employees and employers. However, with the right strategies and support, employers can prevent and address burnout in the workplace. In doing this, employers can not only prevent burnout but keep their employees feeling mentally and physically healthy. At the end of the day, addressing burnout is not only the right thing to do for employees but is critical for the success of any company or organization.
We Can Help!
MHThrive provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Online Treatment Programs provides Teletherapy Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs allowing participants to receive intensive therapy with our licensed therapists and psychiatrists without having to leave home. If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, panic attacks, PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other mental health or addiction issues, we can help. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our teletherapy programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Keywords: Employee burnout; burnout; dealing with burnout; coping with burnout