December 30th, 2021

Signs of Burnout & How to Prevent It

Employee burnout can happen at any time, but the end of the year puts workers at more risk of burnout. Wrapping up the year usually means more work and a heightened sense of urgency to complete tasks and get ready for the new year. And on top of that, employees are trying to find time to spend the holidays with their families, while getting everything done. 

Burnout is the result of ongoing workplace stress being left unmanaged—and it’s on the rise. An Indeed survey highlights that 52% of workers are experiencing burnout in 2021, up from 43% who were in 2020. 

Burnout results in lower employee productivity, engagement, and eventually turnover. So to avoid these outcomes in the new year, here are the signs of burnout and how to prevent—or at the very least—alleviate it. 

Signs of Burnout 

Anyone can experience burnout, but the way they may experience it can be different. Emotional signs of burnout include irritability, difficulty concentrating, impatience, and of course stress. Physical signs of burnout could include a lack of energy, headaches, trouble sleeping, stomach issues, or other physical ailments. 

list of signs of burnout

How these symptoms may manifest themselves in employees’ work can also depend. But you may see employees suffering from burnout become disengaged, complain more, have increased absenteeism, and reduced quality of their work. Before it gets to that point, consider ways you can help prevent burnout as an employer. 

Managing Burnout 

It falls on the employee and employer to prevent or alleviate burnout. There are plenty of resources for employees to personally learn how to avoid or manage burnout. But here are some of the things employers can do. 

How to Prevent Burnout 

Burnout in the workplace happens when employees feel a lack of control over their job responsibilities, extreme work stress, a lack of support, or poor work-life balance. 

To catch things before employees get burned out, employers should frequently check in with employees. Some people don’t openly communicate how they feel and so their stress can go unchecked. Open communication with your workers is important to help with workload, manage expectations, and make changes necessary to prevent burnout. 

Employers should also nurture a culture that fosters work-life balance. If leadership is working long hours, that sets the example to others that they should be too. Instead, offer your employees flexibility and encourage them to take time off. 

How to Alleviate Burnout 

The best way to alleviate burnout is to take a step back. When an employee is expressing concern or stress over their current situation, it may be time they take a break. 

Encourage employees to take time off when burnout is present—but also provide practical solutions for how they can handle their workload while they’re out. Set expectations that if an employee is taking time off they shouldn’t be online, answering emails or calls, or doing any sort of work. 

Other things employers can do to support an employee who may be experiencing burnout: 

  • Lighten their workload
  • Change up their work schedule
  • Extend their deadlines
  • Move them to a different project

Last, educate employees on healthy ways to manage their work stress. People who are experiencing burnout should also avoid things that can make burnout worse—such as alcohol consumption. Instead, employees should focus on healthier coping mechanisms such as exercise, disconnecting, and rest. 

Employers can use their benefit offerings as means to alleviate burnout too. Health insurance benefits usually include health and wellness programs. Often, these programs include perks like discounts on gym memberships, fitness classes, fitness trackers, and wellness apps. Communicate these perks to employees and entice them to take part through rewards or competitions.

If burnout goes unchecked, it can lead to worsening physical conditions or even depression. Don’t let your employees get to that point. Work with them to prevent burnout before it happens. At the end of the day, the health and wellness of your employees are what’s most important. To learn more ways to reduce work stress, download our guide below. 

Download Our Guide: 15 Ways to Reduce Work Stress

Your team is your most important asset. Learn 15 stress management techniques to keep your team stress-free and thriving.

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