Are You at Risk of Burnout?

Office Space, a 1999 film about three coworkers who are equally unhappy in their careers, uses satire to unpack a hefty message about corporate culture and burnout. The comedy’s depiction of how excessive work-related stress can affect employees is spot-on. 

In the real world, burnout is a real problem for all types of employees. 

A study by Deloitte found that 77 percent of respondents have experienced employee burnout at their current job, with more than half citing more than one occurrence. 

While burnout is recognized by the World Health Organization as an occupational phenomenon, a report by Clockify revealed that only 30 percent of supervisors address employee burnout. Burnout can have lasting effects on both your mental and physical health, so it’s important to assess and adjust as needed if you are experiencing burnout. Read on to find out how, and register here for our July eChapter event, where we’ll dive deeper into combating burnout.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is the mental, physical, or psychological strain that excessive or long-term work-related stress can cause in an individual. Burnout can affect any employee, and can have a strong impact on various areas of life, both personal and professional. Burnout also greatly affects organizations that don’t prioritize workload management, as it results in lower employee productivity, engagement, and retention. 

Warning Signs

The online health assessment company Ada has an exhaustive list of warning signs of burnout, but some of the most common indications are:

  • Reduced performance and productivity
  • Anxiety
  • Detachment
  • Lack of sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of purpose
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping and/or a disrupted sleep cycle
  • Increased susceptibility to illness

If you neglect to address the causes of burnout as you start to experience symptoms, the effects can have a lasting negative impact on your mental and physical well-being. So let’s talk about how to fix burnout. 

Confronting Burnout

Address Your Stress

While stress isn’t always a bad thing, it’s important to identify if you’re too stressed. If you start to feel the effects of burnout, address the root of the issue by combing through what is causing your stress levels to rise above a manageable level. Do what you can to manage your stress level, but don’t feel like you have to do it alone. Communicate with your boss, your team, and your family about what’s overloading you. Your boss will want to know what they can do to support you, so work together to come up with a plan to alleviate the bad stress.

Say “No”

Sometimes saying “yes” to whatever is asked of you seems like the easier route. In many cultures, women are taught from a young age to be accommodating, while men are taught to be assertive. This has lasting consequences, and often manifests in other areas, like heightened anxiety and depression

Giving yourself the freedom to say no means that you can truly choose what is valuable to you. 

Stay Physically Healthy

Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, going for walks, and eating a balanced diet can go a long way in both your physical and mental health. Prioritizing your physical well-being gives you the strength to assess your mental healthiness. 

Take Mental Health Days and Vacation Time

Employees often shy away from taking time off, either because they have too much work or feel they don’t have the money to do so. Even if you’re not planning a trip, taking time off is essential to balancing your workload and your stress. According to a study by Celebrity Cruises, 50 percent of respondents said they felt more productive immediately after returning from a getaway.

Promote Balance

Are you maintaining a work-life balance while working from home? As we mentioned in our previous post, it’s much more difficult to establish mental boundaries around ending your workday when you don’t have physical boundaries, like your commute home. 

Make sure your work days have a hard stop, and stick to it. Allow time to disconnect from work with activities that you enjoy doing, too. Don’t just jump into something else that requires a ton of mental stimulation.

Reestablish Your Goals

Actively focus your attention on the goals that really matter. Reevaluate where your work priorities should lie, and track your progress so it doesn’t feel like you’re a hamster on a wheel. And don’t forget to celebrate your wins, big or small! You deserve to feel good about your accomplishments. And while we’re not working side-by-side with our coworkers at the moment, it’s even more important to pat yourself on the back.

Raise Concerns

If you think your workplace might be affecting your mental or physical health, talk to your boss. If your company cares about its employees, your boss will offer their assistance in helping you overcome your burnout. If not, start looking for a new gig ASAP. 

Suffering from burnout is an all-too-common occurrence in today’s hustle culture. Don’t sweep your feelings under the rug—proactively addressing your needs with those around you will give you the necessary support to succeed in your career in a healthy and positive environment.

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