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Dealing with Workplace Burnout

Stepping into the new year, we often set ambitious goals and targets for ourselves and the team, yet it is often easy to ignore burnout with fast-paced environments. If you find yourself struggling with the simplest of tasks, easily frustrated, and feeling like you can’t do anything well, you may be experiencing burnout. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as a “state of vital exhaustion,” which is just the tip of the burnout iceberg. Work burnout can be further broken down into overload burnout, under-challenged burnout, and neglect burnout. Without a sense of purpose at work, some of us would feel helpless and it’s hard to stay engaged when we feel like nothing we do makes a difference. While burnout can result in less satisfaction in work, mental and physical exhaustion and it would affect work relationships among the team; it is important for us to acknowledge burnout at work and handle it well. 

Here, we outline multiple ways to treat and handle burnout at work:

  • Mindset. Get back to the core value of why we started this role, remind ourselves why we started which could help us view our situation in a more positive light.

  • Self care. Spending 10 minutes a day engaged in gratitude practice or a guided visualization such as meditation apps would help a lot - these are excellent self care strategies to help us to recognize and separate ourselves from our daily stress. Prioritizing adequate amounts of sleep, a healthy diet, and exercise are also great places to start.

  • Social Life.  Sometimes it helps to talk about what we are going through with family and friends, step away from stressors and simply use the time to enjoy another person’s company. Either way, social contact can be an excellent way to de-stress.

  • Cultivate interests. By definition, burnout is a work-related phenomenon, but our health in other areas of our lives contributes to our vibrancy at work. An important part of work-life balance is having positive outlets can help us get through a stressful or frustrating time in our career.

  • Colleagues Support. Developing relationships with colleagues gives us a sense of belonging, access to shared resources, and makes it easier to discuss workplace burnout. We can specify what’s stressing us and colleagues often would be the best listener who understands the situation. 

Burnout is not just an inconvenience, poor wellbeing affects an organization's bottom line through lower productivity, higher turnover, higher absenteeism and higher medical costs and can cost organizations. Organizations should invest early in avoiding the long-term effects of individual employees experiencing burnout. Below some tips for organizations to avoid or deal with workplace burnout:

  • Culture. Make wellbeing part of your culture. Organizational culture dictates how employees treat each other and experience the workplace. When an organization makes workplace wellness a priority of its culture and provides resources for employees to live healthier lives, they take better care of themselves. Employees encourage one another to live a healthy, meaningful and productive work life. Organizations should support each other in pursuing ideal work-life balance whether that means working reasonable hours, taking advantage of a flexible work environment or enjoying their vacation time. When wellbeing is a priority, managing burnout is an imperative.

  • In-house Training. For larger organizations, in-house training provided for reporting lines and managers are essential, they are the ones who are responsible for generating positive employee experiences and learning how to reduce stress at work for their teams. Not every manager is good at setting clear expectations, removing barriers, facilitating collaboration and ensuring that employees feel fully supported to do their best work. Hence equipping different level managers with this skill would reverse burnout and prevent further burnout before it starts.

  • Recovering from Burnout. If burnouts unfortunately develop within the organization, recovery steps can be taken in dealing with it. Start by ensuring employees feel supported and recognized for their work; employees need to have clear, meaningful goals that are within their power to attain, and they should have a positive, comfortable work environment. Set role expectations and structure jobs to make work more manageable and engaging for the team and ensure that workload and time pressures are reasonable are key for managers to address burnout. Encouraging teamwork and shared accountability are often great for the team to work together and support one another, the workload gets lighter and challenges seem smaller.

If you have any doubts or simply want a listener about your career, feel free to reach out to any of us here at DNA Recruit Partners. Our team is happy to assist you with market insights, learning and development advice, and career consultation.

Book for a free consultation today!


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