Burnout is a problem that can no longer be ignored


Burnout, unfortunately, is something that employers tend to ignore or don’t notice, which can become a very big problem for any organization. It makes employees less happy, less productive, and can eventually even lead to higher absenteeism and turnover.


According to the World Health Organization, burnout is an occupational phenomenon resulting from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”[1].


In fact, there have been a number of studies in the U.S.A that have shown the cost of burnout in terms of health care and work absenteeism.


According to the Harvard Business Review, the physical and psychological problems of burned-out employees account for around $125 billion to $190 billion of healthcare costs a year[2]. It was also shown in another study that 60% of employee absences can be attributed to high-stress levels, and these absences cost companies roughly $602 per employee a year[3].


Here are a few ways to prevent our employees from experiencing burnout:


Manage their workload

One reason employees get burnt out is because of the amount of work they do. Because not everyone has the same style of working, it can’t be expected of each employee to perform at the same pace. Some people may be faster or more flexible, while others may need more time.


To lessen their stress, we have to be able to organize the work that goes to each employee so that they don’t feel like they’re being bombarded with things to do. It would also help manage work expectations between employees and management.


Allow breaks

While employees are given lunch breaks and some are even allowed coffee breaks, we should also give our employees space and time when they’re starting to feel the exhaustion get to them. By making them feel like they’re allowed to take a break every now and then, they’re given the feeling of freedom and allowance to rest, even if it’s only for a few minutes.


Taking breaks, as studies have shown, can also improve productivity and overall work satisfaction.


Communicate and check-in

Aside from taking the load off of them physically, one of the best ways to lessen the chances of our employees getting burnt out is by talking to them.


Talking about their concerns both gives them room to relieve some stress as well as allows us to understand how they feel regarding things such as their work-life imbalances. And it doesn’t even have to be serious discussions– making quick and simple conversations with our employees will also make them feel more at ease to talk about their problems.


According to Optum, a health services innovation company, workplace communication has a positive effect on the following aspects:


  • Worker productivity
  • Employee job satisfaction
  • Absenteeism and turnover rates[4]


But communication is a two-way street, which means that we should also feel free to share how we feel about our employees’ performances, and what we think can be done to improve their situations in the workplace.


Burnout is not permanent and it can definitely be remedied if employees ever reach that point. We, as employers, have to make sure that changes are made so that we can better the work environment and culture for our employees.


[1] https://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/burn-out/en/

[2] https://hbr.org/2017/04/employee-burnout-is-a-problem-with-the-company-not-the-person

[3] https://www.recruiter.com/i/how-to-avoid-career-burnout/

[4] https://intranet.ecu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/501634/Communication-practices-for-managers-Jan15.pdf


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