What is “burnout”?According to The Mayo Clinic, job burnout is
“A state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.”
There are many symptoms of burnout, including:
- Lack of energy and motivation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Being prone to physical illnesses
- Substance abuse
How do I prevent burnout in the workplace?
If an employee isn’t enjoying their work, or feels they aren’t appreciated, then chances are, their work is going to suffer. This is especially true when an employee is feeling over worked. It’s important to let your staff know when they are doing a good job. There are several ways to do this:
- Set targets to challenge staff so they can feel a sense of accomplishment
- Acknowledge achievements and goals at weekly team meetings
- Give rewards – this can be extra time off work or physical rewards such as vouchers or trips away
- Reward teams as well as individuals so that colleagues are encouraged to work together
- Emphasise how important your staff are by rewarding them on a regular basis – provide Friday afternoon treats and host team trips away
Encourage conversations about wellnessMake it clear that employees can come to you to discuss their needs and concerns. You can provide these opportunities via weekly meetings with individuals in addition to teams. Don’t wait for burnout to happen but promote wellness as part of the workplace culture.
You can do this by:
- Emphasising that you are available to discuss each employee's individual requirements, including discussions about how the workplace can be adapted to assist with mental health needs, physical needs, and personal commitments.
- Offer flexibility – research conducted by the University of Manchester shows that both employees and their managers thought that flexibility increased a person’s efficiency, work effort, and focus. The study also found that flexibility led to a healthy life/work balance.
- Provide meditation, yoga or exercise classes that staff can take during their lunch break or before or after work– The NHS states that exercise has many health benefits, both mental and physical.
- Encourage employees to take five-minute screen breaks every hour to avoid potential eye strain.
Give clear directions and expectationsSome people suffer from job burnout because they aren’t sure of managerial expectations or what their role should be. As a manager, you need to let employees know what their role entails and the amount of autonomy expected within this role. Provide detailed job and role descriptions and always speak with staff if anything changes about their roles and expectations. Again, team and individual meetings can help ensure clear communication about such matters.
Consider implementing regular employee support
Employees are a key asset of any organisation and it makes sense to help them stay healthy. Consider providing a wellness MOT to support employees maintain wellbeing and to promote good mental health. Research has demonstrated that a proactive approach to wellbeing and mental health pays dividends. It supports improved performance and identifies any problems or issues at the earliest possible stage.