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What you need to know about workplace burnout

Workplace Burnout

Workplace 'burnout' has become such a serious health issue in the modern age, it has now been reclassified by the World Health Organisation. In light of this we wanted to give you more information about the signs and symptoms and what you can do about it.  

Burnout doesn't just affect the perfectionists, the high achievers and the under slept - anyone who feels overworked and undervalued can be at risk of ‘burnout’.

Understanding Burnout and How Employees Can Feel

It helps to understand that burnout isn’t the same as stress. Stress typically involves too many pressures that demand too much of you.  However, stressed people can still imagine that if they can just get everything under control, they’ll feel better. If extreme stress feels like you’re drowning in responsibilities, burnout is a sense of being all dried up.

When you’re suffering from burnout, it’s more than just fatigue. You have an increasingly cynical outlook on life and work.  Life looses its meaning, and small tasks feel like a hike up Mount Everest.

Burnout is multifaceted by nature and can affect diverse aspects of someone’s life and psyche. It can shake everything from self esteem, sense of social value, emotional needs, intellectual capacities and more, up to the point that it can profoundly destabilise one’s very existence. Whilst work is usually the main source of exhaustion, many other facets of one’s life can add up to burnout, including relationships or personal issues.

Burnout is literally an exhaustion of resources, physiological as much as psychological, over an extended period of time, which plunges people into such a down that they end up literally unable to use their bodies and minds anymore.  This is costing employers billions.

Do you know the signs of Burnout?

Here are some of the signs:

  • Disillusionment/loss of meaning

  • Mental and physical fatigue and exhaustion

  • Moodiness, impatience and short tempered

  • Loss of motivation and reduced interest in commitments

  • Inability to meet obligations

  • Lowered immunity to illness

  • Emotional detachment from previous involvements

  • Feeling efforts are unappreciated

  • Withdrawal from co-workers and social situations

  • Hopeless, helpless and depressed outlook

  • Job absenteeism and inefficiency

  • Sleep deprivation

  • Foggy thinking and trouble concentrating

How You Can Support Your Friends, Peers, Employees and Employers

It can be hard to correlate the symptoms, and even bring these to the attention of someone in pain. But they might be visible enough to start a straight-forward conversation and raising the idea of getting medical help from their doctor or some time off work. Simply chatting about their symptoms can often bring relief.  If your company offers an Employee Assistance Program, let your staff know, and encourage them to take advantage of the service.

WHO's own research suggests that burnout occurs when the demands of a job far outweigh the rewards, recognition and times of relaxation.

Arianna Huffington said it best in her May 30 concluding weekly remarks on Thrive Global;

“Now, with burnout in the spotlight, companies have a fresh opportunity to step up, for the sake of their people and for the health of the bottom line. Focusing on people’s actual experience at work is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have for anyone who wants to succeed in the long run. To find the cure to 'civilization’s disease,' it’s going to take a commitment to getting to the root causes of burnout.”

Workplace wellness initiatives give employees the chance to learn, develop and grow. Take control and start the conversation around burnout today. Talk to us about how we can customise a wellbeing experience at your workplace.  

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