Employee burnout is something that quite a lot of workers across the world deal with. According to a CNBC report, Gallup took a survey of 7,500 full-time staff in 2018, and employee burnout statistics showed that 23 percent claimed they felt burned out often, while 44 percent claimed they were burned out sometimes.
There’s a lot to unpack about employee burnout, and it can be quite a drag. However, it’s important to understand the problem from a holistic level.
What are the 5 stages of employee burnout?
Burnout doesn’t just happen. It’s a slow burn that occurs across several stages. Here’s how the progression goes:
Enthusiasm: The enthusiasm stage is just the beginning. Here, you invest your energy into a job or a project, and you do all you can to meet a set objective (or a set of objectives, as the case may be)
Stagnation: You find that your life is begging essentially binary- you have nothing but work and home life, and most of the time, one suffers for another. You could try putting in more effort, but not much changes and you feel distraught
Frustration: When stagnation continues to build, you get overly frustrated, and you find that your efforts aren’t paying off at all. This feeling of powerlessness leads to frustration, and it grows over time
Apathy: This is the onset of both disillusionment and despair. You accept things as they are, and just become indifferent
Intervention: When the frustration leads to apathy and you see no way out, you look to someone to help out and make things better in some form.
What causes employee burnout?
There are a lot of employee burnout causes and cures. However, you won’t be able to proffer a solution to something you’re not familiar with. So, before we go into how to combat employee burnout, let’s look at some of the contributing factors.
Too much work on employees
No matter how industrious or energetic am employee is, there’s always a point where they burn out eventually. When there’s an ever-increasing amount of work placed on an employee, then the likelihood of employee burnout is significantly increased.
In an Engagement Report published by Tiny Pulse, about 70 percent of employees feel like they won’t be able to get their allotted of quotas done on every week. One of the simplest ways to address this employee burnout sign is to ensure that workloads are reasonable, and workers have easy access to the tools and resources they need to get their jobs done the right way.
Narrow job definitions
A lack of job and operational scope width could also cause employee burnout. When a worker is made to do the same thing (or the same couple of things) time and again over an extended period, the experience leads to mind-numbing monotony, which will, in turn, lead to boredom and natural employee burnout.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that workers should be made to cover wide scopes of work, but even the smallest variations in routines could help keep the spark in the job. At the end of the day, what no one wants is to wake up every morning and feel like they’re just going through the motions.
A depressing work environment
One of the most significant causes of employee burnout is a depressing, non-enabling work environment.
A person who is constantly exposed to depression in an environment and who has no way of getting out continues to stoop into an unhelpful mental environment. Since the mind tends to manifest itself into the physical sooner or later, there’s no way burnout can be prevented.
Solving this goes beyond just making everyone feel friendly and smile every day. There needs to be a culture of upliftment and cheer around the work space that comes from the top down. When everyone feels supported and cared for, their morale increases, and so does their energy
Employees were hired to perform specific tasks, and as a leader, you should leave them while they conduct their work. No adult human loves being micromanaged and monitored at every stage of their work. Apart from the fact that it could be degrading, it leaves them under the constant pressure that they might not ever be able to do a job that’s good enough.
Employees should be made to operate autonomously, and they should be allowed to operate to the extent of their abilities. Mistakes will be made, but you should be there to offer a guiding hand.
An unfavorable compensation structure
Regardless of what anyone says, the most significant thing that workers work for is money. While they might get satisfaction from being able to help your company meet its objectives and touch lives, the truth is that none of that pays the bills- money does.
So, it’s one thing to expect workers to keep working hard and enjoy their work, doing that will be quite impossible to do when they don’t get paid enough for the services they render. High expectations really only work when workers are being paid enough.
In 2017, Tiny Pulse released its 2017 Engagement Report, which showed that about a quarter of workers would very much be open to taking a job somewhere else if they were promised a 10 percent bump in their salaries. When workers are properly compensated, they stay motivated and energized to help your company grow.
How can employee burnout be prevented?
If you’re a worker and you notice that you’ll be busy for the foreseeable future, then you should keep burnout at a minimal level. That said, here are some simple tactics you could employ:
Get enough sleep
One of the most publicized symptoms of burnout is insomnia. When you get less sleep than you should, your brain gets weighed and is unable to function at optimal levels.
There are also a few other consequences, including but not limited to an increased likelihood of accidents on the road and several diseases (such as hypertension, cancer, and depression)
Exercise is a crucial aspect of your physical and mental health. Regular exercise will help reduce stress, thus going a long way to take down the chances of burnout as well. When you exercise, you know you’re taking proper care of yourself, and that confidence helps take out the chances of both physical and mental exhaustion.
Exercise also increases your productivity and cognitive performance, according to a blog post from PD Resources.
It has been proven that laughing can relieve stress and provide a wide array of both long- and short-term benefits. Currently, every piece of research conducted about laughter has shown that it produces nothing but positive results.
So, interact more with your co-workers and laugh more. Really, it never hurts anyone.
Know when to decline
No one has ever benefited from being a “yes man.” When you’re at work and people notice that you say yes to every project and every favor, they tend to take advantage of that. The more you take upon yourself, the higher the chances of you getting burned out faster.
Saying yes to everything can be easy, especially if you have that go-better attitude. However, for the sake of your own productivity and mental health, you’ll need to learn how to decline some tasks.
How can I help my team with burnout?
The first step to helping your employees is to understand some of the most important employee burnout symptoms. These include:
- Increased lateness or absenteeism
- A reduction in production and work quality, especially from someone who has higher work standards
- Changes in personality around the office
- Reduced engagement and isolation.
When you spot any of these employee burnout signs, then it’s important to take action. Here are some of the most significant ways to improve the situation:
- Monitor employees’ workload: Make sure you don’t end up piling your employees (especially your most productive ones) with too much work. It never ends well.
- Encourage vacations and make structures available: Hard work should be compensated. When you notice that an employee is exhibiting one of the employee burnout signs mentioned above, encourage them to take some time off and blow off steam
- Switch things up in the workplace: Employees like variety, ensure that you don’t cultivate an overly monotonous work environment
- Embrace flexibility: For some workers, the commute to work alone can be depressing. Thanks to 21st-century technology, however, it’s now possible for people to work at home and still be as productive as they would be if they were at work. Embrace it as well
- Encourage the work-life balance: Show your workers that they can be engaged at work and still maintain a great life at home, no one said both things need to be mutually exclusive.
- Streamline your processes: Increased bureaucracy only kills productivity. Make sure to take out (or, at the very least, reduce) all time-consuming processes that could frustrate workers
- Compensate fairly: One of the most important things you could ever don for your workers is to ensure that they’re properly compensated. Make sure that their pay matches the level of work and effort they put in.
- Show appreciation: For every great job done, make sure the worker feels valued and appreciated.
- Provide work resources: One of the ways to ensure that workers stay motivated and strengthened is to provide them with the tools they need to carry out their jobs effectively.
- Make them decision-makers: Decide on the things that employees can know about, and seek their input. From the little things like when next to go for an offsite or how many days they would like to come to work next week, make them involved in company decisions, and show them that their opinions are valued. If you can’t implement their suggestions, let them know why
How do I relieve employee stress?
Encourage wellness in the workplace
Two of the most potent weapons you can have against employee stress are healthy living and exercise. Exercise will help your employees take their minds off the stress they feel while at work, while also helping to boost their moods.
When employees feel that you value their health, they’re bound to feel more valued. As Peapod.com explained in a study, about 66 percent of workers felt happy when their employees restock the fridge, while 83 percent claimed that healthy eating was a huge work perk.
Change the workplace
A lot of employee stress comes from the work environment. If you want to relieve it, then think about every aspect of the office space and how it could improve the wellness of your workers.
So, optimize the workplace to value their wellness. From things like the coffee quality to big things like changing the office furniture, try as much as you can to revamp the environment.
Let employees work remotely
If you’re confident about the employees’ ability to get the work done and produce reports, then let them prove it to you. The office should feel less like a cell, and workers should be free to work from home from time to time.
Among other things, it allows the workers to understand that their work hinges on productivity, and not whether or not they get to the workplace.
Make time for social activity
All work and no play makes everyone dull. Encourage more social activities, and let the employees spend time together. As they continue to socialize, they feel more comfortable with each other, and the interactions between them are improved.
Everyone loves a little bit of praise when they do a good job. So, if you notice that someone has crushed their objectives, be the first person to show them how proud of them you are. This achieves two goals; it makes the celebrated employee feel valued, while others are also encouraged to double up on the work.