How To Deal With Burnout In The Workplace

According to recent studies, 46% of the UK workers are close to burnout and 75% of workers have experienced burnout at some point during the last 3 years.

That's a lot of burnt-out employees.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or just downright exhausted, you're not alone. Burnout is a very real issue that affects many people in the workforce, and it's important to take it seriously.

But don't worry - we've got you covered.

In this article, we'll dive deep into the causes and effects of burnout, and most importantly, provide you with some tips and tricks on how to beat it.

For those that are looking after people in the workplace - we see you HR managers and Heads of People - we’ll also be taking a look at why it’s so vital to take action when it comes to reducing burnout at work, and how you can!

So sit back, relax (potentially for the first time in a while), and let's get started!

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion that occurs when individuals feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet the constant demands of their work or personal lives.

It’s often characterised by feelings of detachment or even a cynicism towards work and other responsibilities, and a reduced sense of accomplishment and effectiveness.

It can have a negative impact on both an individual's personal and professional life, leading to decreased job performance, depression, anxiety, and other mental and physical health problems.

Although there can be other causes of burnout, work is the most prevalent.

What Causes Work-Related Burnout?

Work-related burnout can be caused by a variety of factors, which can be categorised into two main areas: work-related factors and organisational factors.

1. Work-related factors:

These include job demands, such as workload, time pressure, and lack of control over one's work, as well as job resources, such as support from colleagues, autonomy, and opportunities for development.

High job demands and low job resources can lead to feelings of overwhelm and stress, which can contribute to burnout over time.

2. Organisational factors:

These include the culture of the organisation, including its leadership style, values, and norms, as well as organisational change, such as restructuring, downsizing, or mergers.

A toxic work culture, lack of support from management, or frequent changes in the organisation can lead to a sense of detachment and disengagement from work, contributing to burnout over time.

3. Work-life balance:

Poor work-life balance can also contribute to work-related burnout. When employees feel that work is encroaching too much on their personal lives or that they don't have enough time for leisure, hobbies, or time with family and friends, they may become increasingly stressed, exhausted, and disengaged from work.

All of these factors can interact with each other to contribute to work-related burnout. For example, high job demands and low job resources combined with a toxic work culture can create a particularly challenging work environment that can lead to burnout among employees.

Why Is It So Important To Focus On Reducing Burnout In The Workplace?

Burnout has serious consequences - not just for the person who’s experiencing burnout though - it’s also a concern for your business as a whole.

Burnt-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job (Gallup).

These stats alone show why reducing burnout in the workplace is such a crucial factor when it comes to retaining employees and increasing productivity.

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. When employees experience burnout, they are more likely to leave their job, resulting in higher employee turnover rates.

High turnover rates can be costly for companies as they have to invest time and resources in recruiting and training new employees.

Therefore, it is essential for employers to focus on reducing burnout to retain their valuable employees and avoid the costs associated with high turnover rates.

Additionally, reducing burnout can lead to increased productivity in the workplace.

When employees are burnt-out, they are less engaged and motivated to perform their job duties. Burnout can also lead to a decrease in cognitive function and decision-making ability, resulting in errors and mistakes.

On the other hand, when employees feel supported and have a healthy work-life balance, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated, resulting in increased productivity.

Employers who prioritise reducing burnout in their workplace will have a more productive workforce, leading to better business outcomes.

By creating a supportive work environment, people-first culture, and promoting a healthy work-life balance, employers can reduce burnout and retain their valuable employees, whilst also improving productivity, leading to better business outcomes.

10 Steps To Reducing Burnout In The Workplace

Now you know how vital it is to focus on protecting your employees from burnout, it’s time to take action! How?

Here are 10 ways steps to reducing burnout in the workplace, for your team:

1. Establish A Culture Of Open Communication

Building a positive company culture that puts employees at the heart of your company is essential, and maintaining an open line of communication around the whole team about mental health and wellbeing is vital. Learn how to build a positive workplace culture by clicking here!

2. Set Realistic Goals And Expectations

Help employees prioritise tasks and break down larger projects into smaller, achievable tasks to reduce work-related stress and improve job satisfaction. Always make sure that managers are keeping an active eye on workloads and the amount of pressure on employees.

3. Provide Resources For Stress Management

Offer programs or resources that can help employees manage stress, such as flexible wellbeing benefits so employees can choose how to support their mental health and wellbeing, as individuals. Additionally, having a therapist onboard is a bonus!

4. Encourage Work-Life Balance

Foster an environment where employees can take breaks, are promoted to take time off and prioritise their personal lives outside of work, improving overall wellbeing. Additionally, make sure there are strict rules in place about logging off at certain hours, not emailing outside of work hours, and benefits in place that support people to take time away from work (this is especially important in a remote company).

5. Offer Flexible Or Remote Working

Consider offering flexible work hours or a remote way of working, which can help employees balance work with personal responsibilities, promoting a better work-life balance and reducing stress levels. However, if you are going to go down this route, make sure the point above is really emphasised - people who work from home can often find it difficult to separate work from life.

6. Address Toxic Workplace Behaviours

Proactively address any toxic behaviours or situations within the workplace (whether IRL or remote) that can lead to burnout, such as bullying, harassment, or discrimination. Making sure there's an open line of communication between employees, managers, and HR is key when it comes to addressing toxic workplace behaviours - without that, these issues may never be communicated.

7. Recognise And Reward Your Team

Recognise employees for their hard work and accomplishments, and provide rewards or incentives to help motivate them, increasing job satisfaction and improving mental wellbeing.

8. Foster A Sense Of Community

Encourage teamwork, collaboration, and a sense of community among employees, which can lead to a more positive work environment, allowing people to work together better and feel like they have deeper connections with their colleagues, ultimately improving their social wellbeing.

9. Provide Opportunities For Professional Development

Offer training, education, and opportunities for growth and development to help employees stay engaged and motivated, improving overall job satisfaction and mental wellbeing.

10. Lead By Example

Finally, HR managers and leaders within the company should model healthy work habits, be transparent about their own struggles, prioritise self-care, and encourage employees to do the same, promoting a culture of wellbeing and reducing stress in the workplace.

How To Deal With Work-Related Burnout: 5 Tips

If your company doesn’t quite have a handle on things yet and you’re someone that’s struggling with work-related burnout, it’s important to know how you can get yourself out of the place you’re in too!

So, here are five tips on how you can move forward when experiencing work-related burnout:

1. Take A Break

If possible, take some time off work to rest and recharge. Even a short break can help you gain perspective, reduce stress, and renew your energy. Use your time off to engage in activities that help you relax, such as exercise, mindful practices, or spending time with loved ones.

2. Set Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Make sure you're avoiding checking work emails or taking work calls during your free time. This can help you disconnect from work and create a healthier work-life balance.

3. Seek Support

Talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, or therapist, about your feelings and experiences. Sharing your struggles with others can help you gain perspective, feel heard, and develop coping strategies.

4. Prioritise Self-Care

Take care of your physical and emotional health by engaging in activities that promote wellbeing, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and quality sleep. Self-care can help you build resilience and cope with stress more effectively.

5. Address The Root Causes

Finally, try to address the underlying causes of your burnout. This may involve discussing your workload, job demands, or work environment with your supervisor, and seeking support from others in your team.

It's Time To Take A Stance Against Burnout

Focusing on burnout in the workplace is crucial for the wellbeing of your people and the success of your organisation.

By taking steps to prevent and address burnout, such as promoting work-life balance, providing stress management resources, and fostering a sense of community, you can actively improve employee morale, reduce turnover, and increase productivity.

Prioritising employee wellbeing benefits not only the individual employees, but the entire organisation, creating a positive work environment that supports the success and growth of all employees.

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