Burnout is a prevalent issue affecting individuals in various industries and professions worldwide. With the current fast-paced and demanding work culture today, it’s no surprise that burnout has become a common issue.
In this article, we will delve into burnout, its signs, causes, and long-term consequences. We will also provide you with tangible and effective strategies for prevention and management that will help you better support yourself and others in your workplace.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion. It’s typically accompanied by feelings of disenchantment and detachment from work, regardless of how much you might have enjoyed your job in the past. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is not considered a medical condition. However, it’s included in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon.
Feeling tired or stressed is a normal part of everyday life; however, burnout goes beyond that. It’s a prolonged and overwhelming sense of depletion that is abnormal and should not be ignored. As of 2022, a staggering 46% of employees in the UK have expressed feeling close to burnout.
Given these startling statistics, it’s clear that the issue needs to be immediately addressed. However, to tackle the problem, we must first understand and identify the root cause.
Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
Burnout manifests in several different ways and can affect anyone. The following is a list of possible signs and symptoms to be mindful of:
- Physical exhaustion
- Chronic fatigue
- Frequent illness
- Emotional and mental exhaustion
- Reduced productivity
- Decreased job satisfaction
- Increased cynicism
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent headaches
- Changes in appetite/sleep
It’s important to identify patterns if you recognise any of these symptoms, such as the time of year, the type of work, or the team you are working with, as these could help pinpoint potential causes of burnout.
Causes of Burnout in the Workplace
Burnout is a result of prolonged, chronic stress and exhaustion. There are several possible causes for this in the workplace, including excessive workload, long working hours, lack of control or autonomy in decision-making, high job demands, insufficient social support, poor workplace relationships, and an imbalance of work and reward.
All in all, the causes of burnout can be summarized as work-life interference or the lack of work-life balance. Work-life interference is when the demands of work and personal life clash and compete for one’s time and attention. For example, when work demands exceed the time and energy available, it can result in neglecting personal relationships, hobbies, and self-care.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it the global acceptance of remote work. However, it has also led to a decrease in prioritisation of employee well-being. This shift from traditional office-centric work to a remote environment has made it easier to blur the lines between work and personal life, leading to severe mental and physical consequences.
Consequences of Burnout
Burnout can have serious consequences on both your physical and mental health. Mental health implications, such as depression, anxiety, and an increased likelihood of substance abuse, are also common with employees who experience a state of exhaustion.
Also, chronic burnout can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and weakened immune systems. According to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, burnout is associated with a 20% increased risk of cardiovascular irregularities, as well as heart disease and stroke.
Additionally, burnout can also lead to impaired job performance and decreased productivity. In organisations, burnout can lead to increased turnover rates and absenteeism. The American Institute of Stress estimates that job stress and burnout cost U.S. businesses approximately $300 billion annually in absenteeism, reduced productivity, and employee turnover.
Practical Tips for Minimising Symptoms of Burnout
While burnout is a real concern for many professionals, there are steps you can take to prevent and minimise symptoms. WorkSpa Workplace is deeply committed to educating and assisting professionals in dealing with burnout. We understand the importance of taking care of oneself, especially in a demanding work environment.
We aim to provide tangible and sustainable tips that will enable individuals to take control of their well-being and better support others within their organizations. Our company ethos is centred on creating inclusive and holistic working environments where the well-being of employees is given the utmost priority.
By empowering individuals with the necessary tools and resources, we can make a positive impact on workplace culture and, ultimately, create a more balanced and healthier workforce. The following are five practical ways to cope with burnout.
- Prioritise your workload: Pinpoint your most important tasks and focus on those first. This will help you manage your time and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Delegating tasks to others can help lighten your load.
- Take care of your physical health: Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can help you feel more energised and focused.
- Set boundaries: It’s easy to get caught up in work and lose sight of your personal life. Setting boundaries around your work schedule and sticking to them helps maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- Disconnect from technology: Taking a break from technology by turning off your phone or computer, can help you disconnect and recharge. Practice stress management techniques such as mindfulness, exercise, and relaxation to help you stay centred and relaxed.
- Seek professional help if needed: If your burnout is severe or you’re struggling to cope, seeking a counsellor or therapist can be beneficial. They can provide the tools to manage your burnout effectively.
Burnout is a common issue that many people face. Recognising the signs early on and taking steps to manage it can help you feel more balanced and focused on your daily life. If your company wishes to learn more about our Holistic Solutions for work-related stress get in touch with our team.