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How to Recognize the Signs of Employee Burnout (and What To Do About it)

BusinessHow-to

The Effects of Burnout

Employee burnout occurs when someone has been overextending themselves for too long and consequently starts to feel overwhelmed and begins neglecting important aspects of their work. The symptoms can include fatigue, a feeling of inefficacy, and isolation from colleagues. 

 

Burnout can be extremely detrimental to your company in the short and long term. It can have lasting effects on productivity and morale, not to mention strain relationships between other staff members and customers.

 

According to a recent Gallup report, 76% of individuals experience employee burnout at some time on the job. Another 28% stated they either always or often experience burnout at work.

 

You can avoid burnout by recognizing the signs of work burnout early and taking steps to remedy them as quickly as possible. Let’s take an in-depth look at how you can stop it from happening in your business.

Components of Burnout

Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. This condition can result from workplace factors, including long hours, lack of control over work tasks, or low social support at work. There are three main components of burnout:

 

  • Exhaustion is related to prolonged stress, characterized by feelings of tiredness.
  • Cynicism is characterized by hopelessness, helplessness, or powerlessness about work situations or outcomes.
  • Reduced professional efficacy is related to diminished confidence in one’s ability to perform at work.

Most Prominent Employee Burnout Signs

The costs of staff burnout can be high, so it’s important to recognize employee burnout symptoms as soon as possible. If you’re concerned about your employees’ levels of job satisfaction, watch out for these common signs of employee burnout.

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Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress

Physical Symptoms

The first signs of burnout that you’ll notice may be physical ones. When an employee is experiencing burnout, they might feel exhausted and drained, like they lack the energy to take on their usual workload. 

 

They may also become sick more often or experience more general aches and pains than usual. An employee suffering from burnout is likely to have a poor diet, sleep less, and even change their physical appearance.

 

Isolation and Alienation

Many people feel that burnout is all in their heads, but it can significantly impact our relationships with others. Not reaching out for help when we’re suffering from burnout can often isolate us from those around us. 

 

People experiencing burnout tend to retreat more into themselves and cut themselves off from other people. This isolation can easily lead to alienation and further build up feelings of worthlessness. 

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Regular Absenteeism & Procrastination

As employees become increasingly tired, stress levels begin to rise. You may notice an increase in absenteeism among your employees.

When procrastination comes into play, it’s almost always a sign that your employees are at their breaking point. After all, who can accomplish any work when they’re constantly putting things off? Before long, you’ll notice a decrease in motivation and engagement.

Decrease in Productivity

When it comes to working performance, burnout can lead to a decrease in productivity and job dissatisfaction. Employees may feel unmotivated and less enthusiastic about their jobs, leading to lower quality work and missed deadlines. If you notice your employees are missing deadlines or consistently doing subpar work, they could be suffering from burnout.

Inability to Focus

Burnout often entails an inability to concentrate on a task. Your employee may not be able to focus on their job. They may be confused, make mistakes, and take longer than usual to finish tasks. 

Anxiety and Depression

Not only do anxiety and depression sap your energy and lower your self-esteem, but they can also negatively impact your relationships with other people. For example, if you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, you might be more likely to snap at a co-worker or withdraw from social activities.

How You Can Prevent Employee Burnout

Here are five tips for preventing employee burnout that you can use in your workplace today.

Set Limits on Workloads

When employees are constantly stressed out and overworked, it’s hard for them to give their best. Instead of putting in a lot of hours, set daily goals with your employees so they know how much work they need to complete daily. Doing so will help them avoid feeling overwhelmed or burnt out by keeping their workload manageable and realistic. 

Find Balance Between Work and Home Life

Many professionals spend most of their time thinking about work and miss out on spending quality time with friends and family. If you want to avoid employee exhaustion, encourage them to think about how they can implement more activities outside of work into their daily schedules. 

Take Time To Celebrate Achievements

More often than not, happiness fuels productivity, and that’s especially true in high-stress environments. The more you can recognize and celebrate your employees’ wins, big or small, the better they will feel about what they do and thus continue to be productive. Look for small opportunities to recognize work well done, such as referring them for a promotion or giving them a project with some stretch.

Prioritize Learning

Learning new skills and growing as a professional is essential for staying happy and healthy in your work life. Always make time to learn something new, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. The more your organization’s employees are engaged in learning and gaining new skills, the less likely they are to experience burnout.

Insist on Breaks and Boundaries

Employees who have a chance to recharge and reflect on what they’re doing tend to be more productive. Part of your job as a manager is encouraging them to take breaks throughout the day. 

 

Don’t let employees come in early and leave late. Instead, encourage them to take mid-day breaks. If you can create a space for some quiet time, that’s even better.

Final Thoughts

Burnout can hurt your employees’ health. You might also be surprised to learn how costly it can be for your business. If you suspect an employee is showing signs of burnout, take steps to help them recover and watch as their productivity increases and turnover rates go down.

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