Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion and it can occur when you experience long-term stress in your job, or when you have worked in a physically or emotionally draining role for a long time. People who are struggling to cope with workplace stress may place themselves at high risk of burnout and it can leave them feeling exhausted, empty, and unable to cope with the demands of life. Burnout has certainly become at the forefront of mental health issues after the challenging 18 months we have all faced, and as our work life and home life has merged, we look at how to avoid burnout and how to spot the signs.

Signs of burnout

Alienation from work-related activities: Individuals experiencing burnout view their jobs as increasingly stressful and frustrating. They may grow cynical about their working conditions and the people they work with. They may also emotionally distance themselves and begin to feel numb about their work.

Physical symptoms: Chronic stress may lead to physical symptoms, like headaches and stomach aches or intestinal issues.

Emotional exhaustion: Burnout causes people to feel drained, unable to cope, and tired. They often lack the energy to get their work done.

Reduced performance: Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work-or in the home when someone’s main job involves caring for family members. Individuals with burnout feel negative about tasks. They have difficulty concentrating and often lack creativity.

How can you help as an employer?

Communication as always is key. Teach your employees how to be mentally healthy. You no doubt have other on-the-job training or meetings so make mental health just as important. Teach your employees how to deal with personal and work issues, how to cope with stress, and other mental health topics. By bringing in mental health professionals to teach your team these things, and offering confidential consultations with them, you can help to avoid burnout.

Training managers to not only spot the signs but also how to be approachable is imperative to combat the stigma that is sometimes attached to mental health. Proactive communication with workers can help mitigate burnout and get ahead of concerns before they compound and worsen.

Encouraging staff to take their holidays can really help to avoid burnout. It’s important to encourage staff to take time off, especially in a remote work setting where it can feel more difficult to take a break. Since this can lead to high levels of burnout and stress, employees should be encouraged to take time off to relax and spend time with family and friends.

Recognise your employees’ hard work and say that you appreciate it. Be honest, but make it part of your job to really look for these things, even if it is among mundane tasks. Find a reason to build employees up on a regular basis, and tell them what you have observed to make them feel valued.

While burnout can cause issues at work, at home, and life in general, it is always possible to take action and seek help. Even if you are not experiencing stress or burnout now, we suggest the wisest course of action is to proactively take up self-care practices and build your mental resilience.

For further information on how to avoid burnout and any other health and safety requirements, please contact us here.