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Employee Burnout: Understanding and Tackling It

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Employee burnout is not new. It was prevalent before. But as a leader, acknowledging its existence is essential.

Your potent employees suddenly show a drop in productivity. And with time, they become part of that unproductive plague. They succumb to a situation where they do not feel like working. Or they are not able to pull off an easy task.

If you have faced such situations, then you are not the only one. Being unproductive, lacking composure, lacking focus are a few symptoms of a common epidemic spreading throughout the industry.

That widespread epidemic is called burnout. And your once energetic and productive employees are becoming victims of burnout.

In this article, we will discuss the reasons and solutions to solve burnout for the greater good.

What is Employee Burnout?

Employee burnout happens when your employees become exhausted in the workplace. It is a psychological process and occurs due to prolonged stress or excessive work hours.

Signs of burnout include the feeling of emptiness, frustration, and exhaustion. A few of the other symptoms of burnout include-

  • Getting irritated
  • Cynicism
  • Depression
  • Sickness and mistakes related to tasks.

A recent Gallup survey found that out of 7500 employees 23% reported feeling burned out.

Also, 63% of employees are more likely to call in for sick day leaves if they face burnout at work or are facing personal issues. And even if they do not call in for leaves, their performance is likely to reduce by 13%. (Gallup)

These numbers cover many employees, and it is a serious matter that needs to have a quick solution.

If this is an issue that doesn't concern you or your organization, you need to reconsider it. In the long term, it is going to affect your company in its growth.

But before delving into the ways on how to tackle them, let us have a look at why employee burnout happens.

Reasons behind employee burnout:

1. The pressure at Work: I need some space!

Jobs with an overwhelming workload can create unwanted pressure on your employees. Despite your best intentions to make your employees more productive, somehow, you might end up on the wrong side.

An unwanted flip side where you turn out to be a bad boss.

Your employees might be working more than their limits, which results in an increase in their burnout levels at work. This starts to affect them mentally, which leaves them frustrated.

Hence, impeding your employee's work and your organizational goals. And triggering the symptoms of burnout sooner.

2. Unfair treatment: Hey, where is my share?

Unfair treatment at work is another reason that leads to burnout. Unfair treatment includes bias, favoritism, mistreatment, unjust policies, and the list goes on.

The psychological impact is enormous of unfair treatment. It hampers relationships in an organization as well. This often leads to a lack of satisfaction at work while employees are succumbing to burnout.

And when such situations arise, employee absenteeism increases or employees leave their job for their good.

3. Lack of specific role: What? Why? Where?

Employees will perform the job description is straight and clear. Without any proper direction and instruction, confusion arises among the employees.

This decreases the work rate, and your employees are not able to complete their assigned tasks.

In return, this gives rise to ambiguity in the workplace. It impedes productivity and affecting employee morale. Hence, increasing the rate of burnout in your organization.

4. Lack of support: I need back up!

For your employees to be at their best, communication is essential between you and your employees. With proper communication, it becomes easy for your employees to open up to you. Thus, allowing them to come forward with their problems without any fear.

This shows that they are confident about their manager, who will back them up no matter what happens.

In contrast, if employees have a confronting manager, the chances are that will keep their problems contained. When this happens, employees will have nowhere to go to open up with their problems, and they might fall into depression. Thus, increasing the chances of employee burnout.

5. Time pressure: Tick-Tock!

Time constraint is another one of the reasons that catalysts employee burnout. When employees have a limited amount of time to complete their tasks, it becomes difficult for them to maintain the quality of the work.

And when this happens, employees might not feel satisfied, leading to frustration. This, in turn, will give rise to a significant number of burned-out employees in your workplace.

Tackling employee burnout:

Employee burnout is not inevitable. You can reduce burnout in your organization, but you should know how to tackle it. Below is a list of how you can prevent burnout and tackle it.

1. Discussing it out: The one-on-one conference!

When you see your employees not being their usual selves, something might be wrong with them like a sudden change of attitude or performance.

If your employees are suddenly going through such phases, they might be facing burnout. And to solve this issue, you need to sit with them and discuss it out.

Discuss what is bothering them and try to dig into the issues that they are facing. Once they open up with you, you should assist them in solving the problem in every manner you can. By doing so, you will see a decrease in burnout rates in your organization, and your employees will be less bothered by problems.

2. Maintaining the balance: The see-saw game!

As a manager, you would like your workforce to be productive and driven towards the organization's values. When your employees are more enthusiastic about their job, they are less likely to fall prey to burnout.

This can be achieved when you treat everyone equally and focus more on being a manager who can back their employees when they commit a mistake.

This will boost their confidence and morale in the workplace and reduce pressure in a significant manner. Also, this will help build a bridge of trust among employers and employees.

3. Providing autonomy: Control so good!

Autonomy allows your employees to be more flexible and have control over their work.

When you give your employees a choice to choose their work, and the time they'll need to complete it, you will be able to reduce high levels of burnout.

It increases employee engagement and also boosts confidence, but do keep in mind that too much autonomy can be ambiguous.

Providing autonomy will need robust planning that will benefit both the employees and the organization.

4. Showing appreciation: A pat on the back!

We know how jobs can be at times. It can be frustrating and draining with a heavy workload. But when you appreciate your employees for a job that well-executed, they feel more valued in the organization. They think that all their hard work has paid off.

You can show appreciation by giving them some paid time off or providing them with food coupons for their whole family and much more.

This will ease up the pressure they took from the previous project, eventually decreasing the burnout levels. And it also helps them to start fresh in their new project.

5. Busting the stress: Let's kill it!

Stress has constantly been plaguing organizations and is something inevitable. It is one of the main reasons for burnout. But you can reduce stress at your workplace by-

  • Providing more precise goals and objectives to your employees about their jobs.

  • Letting your employees have a break in between their work to get loads of fresh air.

  • Allowing them to resort to music to boost their concentration.

  • Providing them with adequate training to enhance their skills.

  • Taking the team members out for lunch once every month.

  • Dealing with mental health problems with programs that tackle it.

  • Abolishing the rule of working for long hours or doing overtime.

These are just a few examples, but you can find many innovative ways to reduce burnout and stress.

Burnout the problem:

When you face burnout, your capacity to perform diminishes, which is the same for your employees. Employee burnout is a serious issue that needs to be diagnosed to become easy for you to solve.

It would be best if you created a supportive environment and where everyone can flourish. It is beneficial for your employees in the long run and significantly helps the issue of burnout in organizations.

With that being said, I hope you have a culture that emphasizes more on the good and positive things within the organization.

Mrinmoy Rabha is a content writer and digital marketer at Vantage Circle. He is an avid follower of football and passionate about singing. For any related queries, contact

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