There comes a point in your employment when you will feel burned out. According to a recent study by Gallup, 23 percent of employees reported feeling burned out very often or always and an additional 44 percent say that they feel burned out sometimes.
Job burnout can have a huge effect on employee performance. When an employee is burned out, they will have low confidence and will feel less motivated. Their morale is low and will feel demoralized. Job burnout happens when there is a lot of stress in their workplace.
The impact of job burnout will not only be felt by the employees but also by the organization. Job burnout may cause companies an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion worth of healthcare spending each year. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that it is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Signs of Job Burnout
Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, describes job burnout as a “slow-creeping syndrome.” Here are some of the signs of burnout:
- You’re not starting to care about your work anymore
- You feel less motivated
- You dread working in the office
- You are no longer passionate with your work
- You feel disengaged from your work
Causes of Job Burnout
Job burnout can be attributed to a wide range of factors. Here are five factors that were determined in the Gallup study mentioned above.
1. Unfair treatment at work
Perhaps you have a colleague who is bullying or undermining your work. You may also have a boss who is micromanaging you. Unfair treatment may also include bias, favoritism, and mistreatment by a co-worker. It may also include unfair compensation or corporate policies. If this is the situation that pervades in your workplace, you are 2.3 times more likely to experience job burnout.
2. Unmanageable workload
When your workload in the office has become overwhelming, it may result in poor performance and damage your confidence. Too much or an unmanageable workload can impact even the highest performing employee turning them from optimistic to hopeless.
3. Lack of role clarity
The State of the American Workplace Report reveals that only 6 out of 10 employees strongly agree that they are aware of their work expectations. When you are not clear about the level of authority you have or what your supervisor expects from you, it is unlikely that you will feel comfortable at work.
4. Lack of communication and support from manager
The support and frequent communication of managers can provide a psychological buffer. If something goes wrong in the office, you know that you will be supported by your manager. 70% of employees who feel supported by their managers or superiors are less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis. The negligent or confrontational will leave their employee feeling uninformed, alone, and defensive.
5. Unreasonable time pressure
Employees who say they have enough time to do their work are 70% less likely to experience high burnout. On the other hand, people who work on jobs with high constraints are at high risk for burnout. Unreasonable time constraints can have a snowball effec – employees can miss their deadlines or fall behind on what they need to do.
Avoiding Job Burnout
When people are burned out, the first thing that will come to their mind is to quit their job. The Gallup study revealed that 63% of burned out employees are more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times more likely to be seeking a different job. But resigning from your job is not the best solution. Here are some tips on how you can prevent yourself from getting burned out from your job:
Work with Purpose
Don’t work just for the sake of earning a paycheck. Find a purpose in your career. Ask yourself these questions: How does your work make life better for other people? How could you add more meaning to your daily activities? If you think you are in the wrong role or career, implement a career strategy. One way to make your career meaningful is to give to others or help them in small ways.
Don’t eat lunch at your desk
Taking your lunch outside or at the nearest restaurant will help you get your mind off your to-do list momentarily. You can go alone or with company and take time for socialization. While having lunch, think about non-work related topics.
Lack of autonomy in your role can be a huge factor in causing job burnout. You can overcome being burned out by creating more autonomy in your role. You can talk to your boss and check if they will allow you to have more control over your tasks, projects, or deadlines. For more control of your work, you need to manage your time effectively as well.
Have Regular Exercise
Regular exercise is good for stress relief and helps create a sense of well-being. It can give you increased energy and productivity. You can get up earlier than usual or exercise at lunchtime.
Mindfulness is the act of focusing on your breath flow and being intensely aware of what you are sensing and feeling at every moment. In relation to your work, it involves facing situations with openness and patience without judging.
Make time for yourself daily
Having some time for yourself can be as simple as taking a brisk five-minute walk to the mailbox and back or drinking your favorite coffee. It may also involve having an hour of uninterrupted time. You can also go to bed a little earlier and read your favorite book.
Establishing a support network might help you cope with job burnout. If your company has an employee assistance program, take advantage of it and avail of the services. Outside of your company, talk to someone you trust about your feelings and work situation.
Blaming your boss or workload can result in a bad attitude and low morale. Your bad mood can resonate and feed off to your co-workers. Find some time to be alone and find out why you are feeling the way you do. Be accountable for your actions and feelings and learn from it. This way, you will know how to react the next time you feel burned out.
What Employers Can Do?
Business owners also have a crucial role in preventing job burnout. Keeping employees happy and motivated can help ensure that they will remain loyal to the company. Here are some tips on how your employer can help avoid job burnout.
Emphasize the importance of physical health
Your employer should be encouraging you to exercise. This will help you to stay refreshed and energized. Exercise can give your endorphins a huge boost so you show up to work the following day full of energy ready to take on whatever the day gives you.
Your employer should also encourage socialization during breaks, lunch, or even after work. A little encouragement from a teammate or colleague can go a long way in lifting up your spirits if you are feeling overwhelmed. Surrounding yourself with positive people will give you a reason to be excited to go to work.
Reward hard work
Giving employees a pat on the back or saying “Job well done” can be a good way to boost their confidence. When your employer regularly recognizes your hard work, it can give you more reasons to be happier and stay on your current job. There are many ways to reward employees from cash incentives, all-expense paid travel, and others.
Educate staff about burnout
Most employees are not aware of job burnout until they are already experiencing it. It can be detrimental to their job performance. With a bit of education, it will be much easier for you or your co-workers to tell whether you are suffering from burnout.