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How to Stop Workplace Burnout Before It Happens

Anyone can suffer from burnout. Burnout is often associated with long work hours or stressful work. The good news is, there are ways to prevent burnout. Identifying the first signs of burnout and taking action can help you avert full-blown burnout before it has too much effect.

It’s safe to say that over the last year, society’s relationship to work has changed. While some people used remote work to find the elusive work-life balance, many others only experienced long hours and blurred lines between work and home. The result? Perfect conditions for burnout, which affects more and more employees every year.

Here’s the good news: Burnout is becoming part of the larger mental health narrative, and more organizations are becoming equipped to help an employee recover. The bad news? Collectively, we’re still not great at preventing burnout before it begins—and by the time we spot it, a lifestyle overhaul is often required to reverse its effects. 

Here are some steps you can take in the workplace to prevent burnout in the first place and stop it in its tracks. 

Step 1: Recognize the Signs Of Employee Burnout

No Learning Or Change

Employees may experience burnout if they are not growing in their roles. If employees aren’t getting training or development, their work can become monotonous. They have nothing to look forward to and may feel confined. 

Low Employee Engagement

Burnout can cause employees to stop sharing ideas or be less interested in successes and victories. If you notice they are not as engaged as they once were, they may be overworked or stressed.

Low Energy

Burnout may be affecting you or your employees if you notice they’re weak and sleepy during the day. You might also see they aren’t as productive or relying on caffeine to get through the workday.

Keeping an eye out for early signs of burnout will allow you to take action before matters go downhill completely. The sooner you can step in, the more likely you’ll be able to undo the burnout damage before it really starts to affect their work and mental health.

Step 2: Know What’s Causing Your Employee Burnout

No Recognition

A lack of recognition may lead employees to wonder why they make the effort to perform daily tasks and discourage them from continuing to put in their best effort.

No Voice

Employees highly value ideas and opinions. When they don’t get the chance to do this, they may feel underrepresented and undervalued by the organization.

Lack Of Support

Developing quality results requires a strong team, supportive leadership, and clear communication. Lack of support may make them feel overwhelmed with their tasks.

Failure Or Setbacks

Some employees lose motivation when they fail to succeed in a project or get denied a promotion. Setbacks such as these can even cause employees to leave a company.

Knowing what causes burnout in employees can help you address situations before it happens. The cause is often related to outdated or ineffective work processes, guidance from management, or piling tasks that produce stress.

Step 3: Prevent and Treat Employee Burnout

Host Team-Building Events

Research has shown that workplace friendships can help prevent burnout. Your tired employees can reconnect with friends and possibly even meet new ones through team-building activities. Besides being fun, this also reconnects employees with a sense of purpose and maybe rekindles some of their previous motivation.

Delegate Tasks Efficiently

If you’re trying to address employee burnout, always remember that it may not be something they can change on their own. Taking some things off their plate might require you to use your delegation skills. Imagine how they take on tasks not mentioned in their official job description, for instance. Discuss how to delegate and redistribute tasks that may be overwhelming them. Thus, the bottom line for this intervention is to focus not just on how the employee can change but also on what you can change.

Let Them Know It’s Okay To Make Mistakes

Burnout sometimes occurs because employees don’t do enough of what they love. Routine, monotonous, and stale work have become the norm. When you give them the freedom to make a few mistakes, you’re also allowing them to try new things that actually are exciting to them. That might be enough to let them rediscover their passion for their work and learn a few new skills along the way. Employers should take advantage of mistakes they make in pursuit of higher goals to promote learning and growth.

Give Them Opportunities To Learn From Other Departments

Something is energizing about learning something new. Through cross-training initiatives across departments, you provide your employees with the education they need at the same time as they foster deeper collaboration within your company. Furthermore, there could be a few instances when someone really has outgrown their position and wants a new one. By allowing this, they can learn about different organizational processes and what’s available in the future.

There you have it! While these three steps may not eliminate burnout entirely, they’re a step in the right direction and will surely have an impact on your employees’ well-being. We hope they prove to be useful in your organization. And remember, employers experience burnout too. If you are overwhelmed with the HR tasks piling up for your business, contact our team to learn how we can help!

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