When employees constantly feel like they are playing catch up and several deadlines are always looming, the impacts can be devastating to a workplace. Sadly, the problem is not uncommon. Most members of today’s workforce have experienced feelings of being overwhelmed. If constant, this situation often creates an environment of reduced productivity and demotivation. The impacted individuals may become annoyed, impatient, or uninterested in their work. In addition, they may experience extreme fatigue and feelings of anxiety and disillusionment. Eventually, many employees may choose to depart their current workplace for an environment that is less stressful.
Job burnout is nothing new in the American workplace. It is defined as an overall state of work exhaustion that often impacts employees’ mental, physical and emotional well-being.
The beginnings of burnout
Several different things can cause job burnout: a lack of control over work responsibilities, the inability to meet unrealistic expectations, or a lack of recognition for hard work. An absence of work-life balance can also play a major role in job burnout. If workers feel the majority of their life is dictated by their career, meaning that they rarely find opportunities for family and friends, they may eventually feel they have lost sight of who they are outside of what they do for a living.
When it comes to long-term impacts, job burnout can have serious effects, such as strained relationships, inside and outside of work, reduced productivity, and feelings of unwanted solitude. In extreme cases, it may even cause depression.
Fortunately, in many cases, it is not too late. Job burnout can be reversed and once high performing employees with an increasingly negative view of their jobs can recover. Here are a few suggestions for reversing or preventing burnout.
Pinpoint the problems
The first step in battling burnout is to identify the underlying issues. After the contributing factors have been discovered, solutions can be developed. For example, a high performing employee who has trouble meeting tight deadlines within standard working hours may be given additional tools or additional resources to help complete tasks.
Many workers suffering from burnout feel trapped in mundane routines. This can be addressed by giving those employees a chance to work with new teams or learn new skill sets. Creating a culture of learning can reinvigorate burned out employees and give them something new and exciting to look forward to in their careers.
Encourage time off
A large number of American workers do not take a significant portion of the time off they are afforded by their employers, which is another reason why burnout remains a major workplace issue. Sometimes, employees need a push. Encouraging workers to take advantage of vacation days, with systems in place to ensure their time off is not constantly interrupted, is a great way to ease stress.
Reach out to impacted employees
Workers should not feel like they need to suffer in silence. Managers should proactively talk to employees who are demonstrating the signs of burnout and work with them in developing solutions. No one is entirely immune to job burnout, but when a company takes an active interest in the well-being of its workers, the issue can become greatly reduced, positively impacting employees and companies alike.
Eric Bonugli is a district manager and Kay Oder is a Certified Business Performance Advisor for Insperity located in the company’s Austin office. Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 31 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance.