Burnout is an occupational phenomenon that is increasingly affecting employees in the workplace. The World Health Organisation has recognised its legitimacy, and identified it as deep, long-term stress that has not been dealt with1.

According to a recent Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees2, 23% reported that they constantly felt burned out and a further 44% said they experienced burnout symptoms at least some of the time whilst at work.

Bearing those statistics in mind, it’s likely that more than a few of your employees will suffering with burnout.

But what is it? And how can you spot the warning signs or burnout?

What is Burnout?

Burnout has been characterised by the World Health Organisation as, “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

They further state: “Burnout refers specifically to the phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas in life.”

Since burnout is specifically a work-related condition, the symptoms will likely present themselves in the workplace. Any warning signs should be picked up either through self-awareness or by line managers when interacting and observing their colleagues.

Symptoms of Burnout

There are several warning signs or symptoms of burnout which include but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Total physical and emotion exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job
  • Negativity and cynicism towards responsibilities
  • Reduced productivity
  • Lower professional standards

Those who suffer from burnout often report feeling like every day is a “bad day at the office”. They feel every task is mundane, caring about work seems like a waste of energy, and finally they feel that nothing they accomplish makes a difference or is appreciated.

As opposed to stress, where everything feels like it is too much, burnout makes individuals feels like nothing is ever enough.  

Why Employers Need to Take Burnout Seriously

As an employer, not only do you have to consider the health of your employees, but you also have to think about the wider effects’ burnout can have on the workforce.

A burned-out employee leads to an unhappy and unhealthy environment for other team members. Burnout has visible signs and the symptoms affect everything from mental health to communication. Negativity and cynicism can spread easily and affect other team members.

This is especially the case if the affected employee is in a management position.

Furthermore, an employee’s detachment from their role will lead to reduced productivity, and an overall drop in professional standards. This is particular worrying if the employee is in a customer facing role.

Treating burnout in the workplace  

If you feel like you’re experiencing these symptoms, or have noticed these in a colleague, it is important to take action.

The first step is to reach out and talk to others for help and support. You can begin with those you are most comfortable with, particularly your support network.

However, outside mental health counselling is often the best solution for getting to the root cause of the problem. Professionals can help formulate thinking strategies to combat the sickness symptoms or workplace absence.

However, that action is mostly dependent upon the individual being proactive about their mental health. Workplaces should also provide support.  Providing mental health services to your employees is a great way to guarantee they have access to the necessary support when they are suffering.

Offering mental health perks, along with physical health options, can be a great way to attract and retain talent. Over time, boosting the productivity of the talent pool in a sustainable way to ensure that your business can grow.

With DocHQ, employees have access to personalised packages tailored to their specific needs. Whether that’s mental health sessions, or EAP, we have the right solution for you and your employees.

If you are interested in providing these benefits to maintain the effectiveness of your employees, why not contact us to see which is the right fit for your organisation?

Sources: 1, 2


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