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How to Avoid Burnout in the Workplace

The Covid-19 pandemic escalated growing workplace concerns: the lack of employee motivation and burnout. New terms like “quiet quitting” and “The Great Resignation” have been introduced to describe the overwhelmed employees feel and its effects on the labor market. Nearly 50% of employees and 53% of managers say they are burned out at work, according to the 2022 Microsoft research that surveyed 20,000 workers from 11 countries. 

A renewed push for companies to increase productivity by getting employees back into the office and encouraging people to work longer hours results in employees feeling demotivated. This article discusses employee burnout signs, causes, and strategies to help avoid burnout becoming an issue in your workplace. 

What Causes Burnout in the Workplace

Employee burnout is a state of emotional exhaustion at work. We tend to think of it as an individual problem that can be solved by getting some rest, practicing resilience, or seeking support from others. However, the evidence is mounting that applying personal solutions to the rapidly evolving workplace phenomenon may be harmful. Employers should realize: they are responsible for building an efficient burnout strategy. 

The causes of burnout in the workplace are complex and diverse. Many organizations may be burning out their workers without even realizing it. The key is to identify the signs and causes of burnout and prevent organizations from losing employees or suffering from poor business performance. 

Here are the top causes that can cause burnout in the workplace:

  • Feeling undervalued 
  • No career development 
  • Unclear job expectations
  • Lack of support in the workplace
  • Feeling out of control

How to Spot Burnout in the Workplace

It is essential to know what the most common signs of employee burnout are in order to address and prevent burnout in the workplace efficiently. Employers often don’t recognize the signs of burnout, leaving individual employees to deal with it on their own quietly. However, any of the above causes can lead to poor work performance and employees leaving the workplace. 

If your usually engaged and dependable employees suddenly turn unreliable or demotivated, you may witness burnout. The most common signs of burnout include:

  • Isolation
  • Disengagement
  • Decreased productivity
  • Low levels of concentration 
  • Lack of motivation
  • Higher sensitivity to criticism 
  • Occurring workplace disputes

It’s also necessary to understand the difference between burnout and stress. Stress is a day-to-day experience that often involves too many pressures. Burnout, on the other hand, is a severe consequence of the build-up of too much stress that causes feeling empty and mentally exhausted. People experiencing burnout usually don’t see any hope of positive change. 

How to Prevent Burnout

Build social connections

Social support positively relates to factors that impact well-being, stress, and engagement. Employers should encourage social interactions between employees by boosting team support and social networks. Managers can challenge employees to create a plan to connect with a friend, colleague, or family member at a scheduled time each week. Team-building activities, weekly team lunches, or happy hours can all engage employees and prevent burnout in the workplace. 

Recovery time

Productivity should not be confused with overworking. It’s crucial for managers to support their employees and encourage taking enough breaks. Employers must ensure employees keep a firm wall between their work and personal lives. Remote workers sometimes struggle to keep work and home separate. Managers can recommend employees shut down their computers and put their work email accounts to sleep at the end of the work day. 

Create fair workloads

HR managers must ensure that performance goals are communicated clearly to employees, and job responsibilities are fairly distributed. Employers should be realistic about task expectations and carefully monitor workload. They can use pairs of employees to deal with tough problems so that employees feel more supported and less isolated.

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