Are Your Employees Feeling Burntout? Here’s What To Do
In today’s working world, job burnout is a particular type of work-related stress on the rise. Burned-out employees are everywhere, from high-intensity healthcare and law enforcement jobs to industrial jobs and administrative roles. Any employee can suffer the emotional, physical, and social effects of burnout.
Many employees who suffer from burnout are overly responsible workers who take on excessive tasks in all areas of their lives. Though they get a lot done, they often wear themselves out doing it. For employers, understanding where burnout comes from and how to identify it in their employees is vital. Let’s look at some of the symptoms of employee burnout, the underlying causes, and how you can best care for your employees when they experience burnout.
Symptoms of Employee Burnout
Employee burnout isn’t a medical diagnosis, though there may be underlying medical causes that vary from person to person. Still, employers should be aware of recognizable “symptoms” of employee burnout.
Lack of Energy
One of the most apparent signs of employee burnout is a general lack of energy. An employee experiencing burnout will look tired and act tired. They may find it difficult to respond quickly, and you may even catch them napping (literally).
Even though an employee may be visibly tired and drained of energy, they may tell you about how much they are doing, how much more they have to do, and how little time they have to do it. This frantic busyness could lead to highly productive bursts of work, followed by almost nothing getting done at all.
An employee experiencing burnout knows they are not doing their best and will apologize a lot for everything, from lateness and lack of organization to missing deadlines and generally not being as helpful as required or desired.
Physical/ Health Problems
Burned-out employees often exhibit physical symptoms. In addition to looking tired, they may gain weight and become out of shape due to a lack of exercise coupled with poor eating habits. They are also prone to developing medical issues that further compromise their health, including:
- Chronic pain
- Breathing issues
- Stomach issues, such as ulcers
When it comes to the emotional signs of burnout, there are many variations. Expressing emotion is different for everyone, so burnout for one employee may manifest as irritability, frustration, or anger, while apathy, anxiety, or sadness may characterize another.
Employee Burnout Causes
Many factors can cause employee burnout. For some employees, improper work/ life balance causes them to burn out quickly. When work takes up too much time and effort, and an employee’s personal life suffers, it can easily get overwhelmed. This is especially true when the employee also lacks social support at work or in their personal life.
Another cause may stem from an imbalance in workplace dynamics. If an employee feels undermined by co-workers, is micromanaged by a supervisor, or is bullied by a colleague, it can significantly contribute to job stress. Lack of control, lack of available resources, and unclear job expectations also contribute to employee burnout.
Dealing with Employee Burnout – What Can You Do?
It is important to understand where your employee’s burnout comes from, so start with a conversation. As discussed above, there can be many reasons behind an employee’s atypical behavior, and they may not have anything to do with work. Let your employee know you care and want to help them turn things around.
As a manager, pay attention to your employee’s workload and work together to develop ways to handle high workloads and give your employee the breaks they need while allowing them to successfully reach their goals. When employees know your expectations, including not working themselves to exhaustion, they’ll feel better about taking the time they need and relieving the pressure. Ensure all your employees know what they should be doing, how much work they should be doing, and that taking a needed break is important.
Providing employee assistance options, including mental health support, social support, relaxation and exercise options, and other relevant services is a proactive way to help prevent burnout among your employees and handle it when it occurs.
Employee burnout is more common than you may think, and its effects can be long-lasting for the employee and the company. Once it manifests, burnout rarely passes on its own, so it is important to understand what it is and how to handle it for the benefit of the employee and the company.
As a manager, it is your job to watch for the signs of employee burnout, keep communication open and honest with your employees, and be ready to step in and help employees get back on track when they are overworked or overwhelmed.