Recognising Burnout in the Workplace
As we approach mental health awareness week, we are looking at a prevalent problem within the workplace, burnout, and the signs to look out for amongst your colleagues.
Over time, the definition of burnout has been expanded because of the prevalence of burnout and workplace stress. Through the pandemic, a survey from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM, 2020) suggested that while millions found themselves unemployed, 41% of US employees felt burnt out from work, while another 23% reported feeling depressed.
However, burnout isn’t a ‘pandemic problem’, so recognising the signs in the workplace is imperative in addressing underlying issues causing it and not letting the signs turn into further physical and mental distress. As prevalent as burnout is, it is often misunderstood, stigmatised and costly both to employees’ health and wellness, and employers’ productivity.
Signs and symptoms:
Signs of burnout differ from person to person, so what might cause one person to become burned out might not for another. Those affected by burnout might present the following symptoms:
Individuals that are feeling burnt out often view their jobs as increasingly stressful and/or frustrating, many will emotionally disconnect themselves and begin to become detached from their work and their colleagues, perhaps seeming less productive, but this is a sign of stress.
As the boundaries between work and home have blended, many have found it difficult to know how to stop working. People have grown more accustomed to working longer hours a day and being available by email late into the night. Maintaining routines is important in preventing burnout and so in noticing your colleagues or perhaps you are being readily available between working hours means a re-evaluation of your routine is needed.
Individuals that are feeling particularly burnt out, often reach a point where they feel that there is nothing, they can do to make their job better, and that it is never going to change. This may present itself through being more irritable and short-tempered with colleagues, friends, and family. This is a huge warning sign for businesses, not only with their employee potentially being burnt out but also to check in with their mental health more generally.
Stress and burnout can also show themselves through physical symptoms that have implications for individuals' work and life. These symptoms can show particularly in reoccurring headaches, stomach and general aches, digestive issues and a lack of energy.
Similar to physical symptoms of burnout, it can also take a more emotional form that might be harder to recognise among your colleagues. It is important to notice the signs of stress before they lead to burnout, ensuring you are managing your calendar to include breaks between meetings and work, refuelling your body and mind, as well as setting clear boundaries between your work and personal life.
These are just scratching the surface of burnout and the signs and symptoms to look out for among your peers, but chronic stress can manifest itself in many forms and so it is important to check in on your colleagues, friends, and family.
How can businesses do better?
Businesses need to take action to help employees manage stress levels to prevent burnout, and support staff that are feeling stressed. While there is no how-to for organisations to support employees with this, here are some thoughts on how businesses can prevent burnout:
Find out what your employees want
While giving employees time off and offering flexible work is beneficial for improving mental health and general wellbeing, it is important to find out exactly what it is that your employees want since everyone has their own ideas of what makes good company perks. Implement a well-being survey to find out exactly what your team wants, what they think of their current working environment and take positive action.
Encouraging breaks throughout the day is imperative in ensuring people are refuelling, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Remind your employees that annual leave isn’t just for going on holiday, while we are still in a state of uncertainty when it comes to international travel, it is important to take days off to rest and recharge, even if that means taking a staycation!
Ensure your team and individuals are recognised and rewarded for their well-being achievements, whether that be getting themselves to the gym during their lunch break or improving their sleep schedule – while well-being achievements might seem minuscule compared with the projects you might have going on in the workplace, they are just as important to celebrate!
How Trinnovo Group can help
Trinnovo Group has a mission to build diversity, create inclusion and encourage workplace innovation. We work with our partners to create successful teams that are representative of the society we live in.
At Trinnovo Group our people are front-of-mind in everything that we do, managing employee wellbeing through the various policies, including but not limited to:
- Longer and flexible lunches to cater for gym-goers and sports club members
- Flexible hours
- Paid 4-week sabbatical after every 3 years of service
- Period leave for women
- Dog-friendly offices
- Dress down culture – enabling people to be themselves at work!
Find out more about our people-first approach to recruitment by getting in touch with the team today: firstname.lastname@example.org