May 16, 2022
Burnout is bad for employees & companies. Learn how to combat burnout at your company!
'Burnout' is a buzzword that seems to be everywhere these days. We all know the effects of the pandemic on our own work. Many of us became virtual for the first time ever; working from home while battling distractions, kids, and a global pandemic. At first, it was a refreshing change. But now you've probably noticed the news and social media constantly talking about burnout.
This blog will discuss exactly what forms burnout takes and how to combat it. We will also discuss the effects burnout can have on a company. In short, burnout is a very bad thing for a company. It can cause productivity losses, health issues and major hits to a company's bottom line. So, what can managers/individuals do to identify burnout and intervene before things get ugly? Keep reading to find out!
Whether you are an employee or a manager, it is important to know the signs of burnout so that you can identify it early. Early identification means earlier intervention and ultimately happier employees. Additionally, burnout is expensive for companies, so earlier intervention means more money saved. In fact, the American Institute of Stress found that employee stress can cost companies over $300 Billion annually!
In an article from Business News Daily, 'burnout' is defined as 'a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion resulting from excessive, prolonged stress.' While that is a great definition, it doesn't address the myriad of symptoms employees might show. The article goes deeper and breaks the symptoms down into three major categories; 'physical and emotional exhaustion', 'cynicism and detachment', and 'ineffectiveness or lack of accomplishment'.
Physical and emotional exhaustion doesn't seem to need an explanation – we all know how it feels to sit at our desk and try desperately to resist the urge for a nap. However, Business News Daily mentions some symptoms that you may not have initially connected to 'burnout'. For instance, they mention that a lack of appetite, heightened anxiety, and even anger could be considered physical and emotional exhaustion.
Additionally, people suffering from burnout have also reported �chest pain, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal issues, dizziness, heart palpitations and headaches. Moreover, this experience of stress can even weaken your immune system, causing you to have more frequent illnesses.
Business News Daily also says that 'isolation' and 'detachment' are signs of increasing burnout in employees. However, if you're working from home, these things are probably already happening! Without your coworkers around you, it is very easy to start feeling detached from your work and isolated. In a workplace setting, these symptoms are easier to identify. It is very apparent when an employee avoids social interactions more than usual or calls in sick more regularly than before.
Now that we are living in the virtual world, employees are automatically detached and often isolated, especially if they live alone! If you're a manager working remotely, you're probably getting worried about identifying these characteristics when you're not physically near your employees. Don't worry, we have some recommendations coming later in the blog.
Identifying Ineffectiveness & Lack of Accomplishment
As it says in the heading, ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment are signs of burnout as well. The BND article goes a little further to explain that apathy and irritability are similar signs. According to the article, apathy at work can manifest as a feeling that nothing matters or goes right, to the point where you feel there is no point in doing anything.
They also mention that irritability is driven by being ineffective and lacking accomplishment. Business News Daily says, Irritability comes from frustration at feeling ineffective, undervalued or like you can't do anything right. Left unchecked, it can seriously affect your relationships.
You may find yourself wondering how these personal experiences actually affect a company at large. As a manager or an HR leader, is it worth adding yet another concern to your plate? In short, yes!
All of the symptoms discussed above affect people at an individual level, but they also cost businesses big money. Disengagement can lead to a massive decrease in productivity and can even be severe enough to be referred to as the 'hidden resignation'. This article from Property Casualty 360 explains that a 'hidden resignation' is when an employee is so unproductive that they might as well have just resigned, yet the company is still paying them. Obviously a loss of productivity in your employees means major revenue losses as a company.
Beyond that, businesses with burnt out employees also face increased health care costs. The When I Work blog asserts that burnout can result in heart disease, gastro-intestinal issues and even death. Those illnesses and others result in added health care costs for individuals who are typically using company healthcare.
Michigan State University has some great recommendations for reducing burnout within a company. In this article, they mention that great managers and HR leaders make all the difference. The downside is that these interventions require a good amount of time and effort on the manager/leader’s behalf.
One relatively easy intervention comes in the form of 'walking meetings'. Michigan State says that short, 20-minute walking meetings can be very effective in helping to combat burnout. These meetings should have a pointed agenda and be efficient (just like any other meeting), but they have the added benefit of involving physical activity and changing up the scenery.
Another great idea from Michigan State is to promote a healthy work/life balance. Managing this balance is a difficult task so it helps if the entire organization is behind this one. Allowing time for exercise, self care, family time, etc. will actually help employees to be more productive during working hours. From an organizational level, this is a little more challenging to implement because it requires
There are a variety of other methods discussed in the article, like monitoring employee's workloads, providing work from home options, and working with employees to create goals and career paths. However, busy managers/leaders may not have time to dedicate to these practices. Wouldn't it be great if there were a management free option to help employees feel more connected to their work?
Well, there is - It's Givitas! Our platform provides a safe space for people to ask questions, however the true benefit comes from the connection and loyalty built outside of the platform. Companies that use Givitas create generous environments where employees work together to solve problems and save time in the process. This increased engagement and connection is a strong burnout fighter! Since the platform can help employees increase their productivity, Givitas can also fight cynicism and lack of accomplishment.
If you feel that your company needs a burnout intervention, schedule a demo with us today! We'll show you how the platform can increase engagement in your workforce. You'll find that our clients save time, money, and feel better connected to their organizations!