Experiencing Burnout at Work? Analyze Your Situation Carefully

Experiencing Burnout at Work? Analyze Your Situation Carefully

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is considered an official medical diagnosis. Burnout is something we’ve all experienced at some point in our career, especially as our responsibilities at work shift and potentially grow. But, for some of us, burnout can feel like a never-ending struggle.

Major contributing factors to burnout include stressful jobs, strict deadlines and heavy workloads, and feeling as if there is a lack of support or resources to aid the employee in relieving stress or meeting demands of the job (Hamill, 2018). Employee burnout occurs due to unrealistic or high demands of a job, not because the employee is incapable or lazy. Frequently, the strongest and most productive employees are the ones who suffer from burnout – employees who were once very engaged and hard-working suddenly lack motivation and ability to get quality work done on time.

This is due to the following:

  • Employees who care about their job, and want to do well, put higher expectations on themselves, causing more stress when they can’t meet expectations to do the job perfectly.
  • Employers tend to give more complex and difficult jobs to employees they consider more capable – this causes a higher workload for the employee.
  • Consistently productive employees realize they have proved themselves to be a strong employee, and are constantly attempting to go above and beyond expectations to maintain their abilities (Garton, 2017).

In an article from the US National Library of Medicine entitled “Understanding the burnout experience: recent research and it’s implications for Psychiatry” by Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter, there are important steps one can take to analyze the underlying facets of their burnout, and make appropriate changes. The authors identify six key burnout domains to analyze; workload, control, reward, community, fairness, and values.

As you begin to analyze and assess these areas, it’s possible you will uncover the fact that your burnout has also been affecting your colleagues, and the overall energy in the workplace. The authors elaborate on this point by sharing that burnout is frequently associated with negative reactions, and job withdrawal, including feelings of being unsatisfied, having low commitment to the job, increased absenteeism, and an increase in turnover.

It goes without saying, if you don’t take the appropriate steps to address your burnout, it could ultimately lead to exhaustion or worse. Taking the time to learn more about how you can solve these complex problems, with simple solutions, is the only way to know that you’re doing the right thing in the end. Whether you leave your job as a result of your analysis, or decide to stay, at the very least, you will finally be able to catch your breath. Here’s a closer look at the article:

“Understanding the Burnout Experience: Recent Research and it’s Implications for Psychiatry” – By Christina Maslack and Michael P. Leiter, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4911781/

What can Employers do?

  • Implement the National Psychological Health and Safety Standards in your workplace.  Gowan Consulting can assist in auditing and adjusting your work practices to improve Psychological Health and Safety in your workplace.
  • Assist Managers in developing the skills to identify and support employees in distress – give training and coaching that support managers in knowing how to approach employees..
  • Provide recovery time – if an employee has had a heavy workload for a consistent amount of time, decrease their workload for a stretch of time. Express that you’ve noticed their hard work and that you would like them to take it easy for a week or two to recharge and take care of their well being.
  • Provide purpose – engaging employees and reminding them why their role is important to you and the business gives incentive to care about work production.
  • Get to know your employees – be wary of your employees stress levels and work ethics – implement a well-being mindset with positive discussions about the importance of self-care.
  • Provide opportunities to build social connections – assist with social support in your work environment – humans are social beings and feeling connected to those in your work environment can decrease chance of burnout.
  • Know the signs of burnout and disengagement – intervene when you notice an employee seems disengaged in their work or if their work production has weakened over time (Hamill, 2018).
  • Engage an Occupational Therapist to support an objective assessment of the worker’s ability to stay at work and the work demands.  The Occupational Therapist can provide practical tools, strategies and coaching to support an employee in maintaining productivity and getting the right recovery from burnout.

How can Gowan Consulting Help?

Gowan Consulting can provide sustainable solutions to ensure your employees are safe and healthy, allowing your business to be successful. Our Occupational Therapists can assess the work environment, work loads, and the employee to confirm if the abilities of the employee match the requirements of the position. We work with employers to provide informative resources that allow employees and employers to have a deep understanding of healthy work practices.

If you’d like to register for one of our upcoming workshops this fall, be sure to take full advantage of our early bird pricing before it’s too late! For more on all we have to offer, contact us! We want to help make the difference in your healthy business!

Works cited:

(2016) Understanding the Burnout Experience: Recent Research and it’s Implications for Psychiatry” – By Christina Maslack and Michael P. Leiter, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4911781/

Garton, Eric. (2017, April 6). Employee Burnout is a Problem with the Company, Not the Person. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2017/04/employee-burnout-is-a-problem-with-the-company-not-the-person

Hamill, Laura. (2018). Can You Spot Burnout? Limeade. Retrieved from https://resources.limeade.com/e-book-can-you-spot-burnout?_ga=2.20505530.346373351.1528386739-965942235.1528386739

(2019) 6 Causes of Burnout, and How to Avoid Them, Elizabeth Grace Saunders https://hbr.org/2019/07/6-causes-of-burnout-and-how-to-avoid-them?utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin&utm_campaign=hbr

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