Dealing with Burnout at Work: 5 Ways to Get Reenergized

By Jeanette Coleman, SPHR & SHRM-SCP on Nov 11, 2021
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Many of us have been there; burnout sadly is quite common in the workplace. People are exhausted. For them, work seems to represent the same grind day after day. They are mentally and physically drained and feel as though they can’t go on a minute longer. According to a recent survey conducted, over half of those Americans polled said that they were indeed affected by feelings of being “burnt out.” Burnout is not something that should be taken lightly—particularly given the past year and a half that we’ve all experienced. Most employers fortunately are quite empathetic to personnel who exhibit the signs of burnout.

The question is, as an employer, once you do recognize that an employee or employees are teetering on the edge of being burnt out, what can you do? What steps are there for dealing with burnout at work? The most productive employees are those who are happy, energized and actually excited about their roles. Burnout tends to negate these things as feelings of stagnation and cynicism begin to take hold.

Employee Burnout 101

What Does Burnout at Work Look Like?

Within the workplace, burnout can take a variety of forms and thus look different from one employee to the next. Below are a few examples of the potential signs of employee burnout at work:

  • An inability to concentrate as they seem to be habitually off task
  • Frequent sickness and absences from work
  • A more cynical attitude toward colleagues
  • Quick to anger and gets easily upset by even small occurrences
  • Seems to exhibit feelings of hopelessness

These are a few of the red flags that may signal that someone who works for you is starting to succumb to burnout. Having some prevention strategies in place so that people don’t get to this point is important for minimizing employee burnout at work. Promoting open horizontal and vertical lines of communication can be incredibly helpful as your team will feel more comfortable talking with leaders and managers and also their colleagues about the kinds of feelings that could be brewing inside of them.

how to determine if an employee is burned out

Encouraging Resilience

One way of dealing with burnout at work is to help empower your employees to become more resilient. And resilience to burnout is very much about control. People can control their lives, they can control their emotions, they can control their attitudes. Being resilient to burnout means that people have to be able to light that proverbial fire within themselves—even during those times when it may seem to be nothing more than a dim flicker.

So what steps can you take to help your people fortify their resilience and thereby stave off burnout? While there is no magic formula for how to prevent burnout at work, by encouraging your team to engage in the following processes and also, leading by example, you can hopefully help steer them in the right direction.

  1. Help them to focus on their wins

    What are their successes? How have they positively impacted the company? Getting someone on the verge of burnout to concentrate instead on the “wins” that they’ve had can be a powerful method of redirecting the tide of emotion that may be overwhelming them.

  2. Lead by example

    Bosses are just as much in danger of burnout as their employees—in fact, in some instances, perhaps even more so. Showing your team that you are taking time for yourself and purposely creating space for balance could encourage them to do the same. Countless studies show that employees who do have more balance and are not just single-mindedly focused on work, tend to be happier.

  3. Encourage them toward acts of kindness

    Performing acts of kindness, even small acts of kindness, is not only beneficial to the recipient, but also to the giver in the equation. Seeing how even a simple gesture can brighten a person’s day inevitably elevates your mood as well. And this can be a powerful elixir.

  4. Provide resources for support

    Offering your employees resources by way of counseling or perhaps some form of career coaching, for example, can help them to address the problem before it becomes an even more serious issue. If you need guidance in terms of finding employee support resources, the consultants at Axcet can help.

  5. Address the cause

    Odds are, there is some cause at the root of an employee’s burnout. Talk to them about what might be triggering their feelings of burnout. Perhaps it is something that you can address together. Working on a plan to enable them to move forward even if just little by little is a good, actionable first step.

If you do recognize that an employee is exhibiting signs of burnout, the key is to be proactive. Talk to them, listen to them and get them help if needed. Our team of experienced HR professionals can assist you with both recognizing and minimizing employee burnout at work. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

RELATED: Watch Out for These Employee Burnout Causes & Signs >>

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