Worker burnout is a serious and common problem affecting many employees in various industries. Burnout refers to severe work-related stress; it is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion and fatigue, which can affect the mental and physical wellness of an employee. Some of the signs of burnout include job dissatisfaction, irritability, disengagement, lack of motivation, anxiety, and in some cases, depression. In a recent study, 23% of the 7,500 fulltime employees taking part in the survey said they felt burned out at work all the time or frequently.
Burnout lowers productivity and increases employee turnover. Worker burnout can be a costly and involving problem to deal with as an employer. A recent publication revealed that an estimated $125 – $190 billion is spent every year on healthcare services and medications to treat physical and psychological issues caused by burnout.
What Causes Worker Burnout?
Clearly, burnout can severely deteriorate an employee’s wellbeing, affecting both his/her work life and personal life. Here are some of the leading causes of burnout in the workplace, and the actions you can take to avoid burnout among your employees.
If your employees spend most of their waking hours at work, they may not have some personal time left over to spend with family and friends and unwind. Such a lack of flexibility in the workplace can lead to worker burnout. Encourage your employees to take some time off by implementing a flexible working schedule that puts your employees in control of their time as long as they meet their job’s objectives.
Some employees can feel burned out as they strive to tackle unmanageable workloads or achieve specific goals. Optimism can quickly turn into despair and hopelessness as an employee drowns in endless efforts to reach set milestones.
As an employer, manage your workplace expectations and acknowledge that every employee has unique capabilities and strengths. Set realist and adjustable goals for each individual and involve every worker in coming up with those expectations. This way, everyone will operate within a healthy capacity without feeling overwhelmed.
Dysfunctional Workplace Dynamics
A healthy workplace is built on effective communication, support, and collaboration. An employee who feels unwelcome, unable to interact with colleagues and supervisors, or finds the workplace culture and environment intimidating or toxic is likely to go down the burnout path. Encourage informal communication in the workplace and hold team-building, socializing, and bonding activities regularly.
Workers want to be recognized, valued, and fairly rewarded for their work. Unfair treatment or biases in the workplace may leave some employees feeling underappreciated and worthless. Any unfair treatment stemming from racial discrimination, gender bias, or lack of recognition can be toxic to the workplace and may lead to burnout. Ensure that your work environment does not discriminate against any social, political, or minority groups. Also, create a generous reward system that recognized exceptional achievements among your employees.
Time Pressure and High-Stress Environment
Unreasonable deadlines and high-stress activities can also cause worker burnout if your employees work under narrow constraints and are always under pressure to deliver. Admittedly, some professions, such as nursing, are generally stressful and demanding in nature. However, as a manager, try not to make the workplace more difficult than it is. In highly stressful and time-critical environments, be more understanding and lenient towards your employees.
Fortunately, burnout is not completely inevitable, even in highly demanding occupations. What’s more, burnout can be addressed successfully by seeking professional help and practicing wellness and self-restoration activities.
Prevention is always better than cure. Don’t allow the burnout syndrome to start inflicting your valued employees before you take action. Find ways of adjusting your workplace into a healthy and friendly environment. Encourage your employees to support each other and speak up whenever there is a problem. Make your workplace into a community; this way, you’ll not only avoid burnout but also boost workers’ morale and productivity.