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Burning Out At Work? Understanding And Preventing Workplace Burnout

Workplace burnout is a growing concern, with a report from Indeed revealing that 52% of all workers are feeling burned out, a 9% increase from a pre-COVID survey. Burning out takes a toll on employees’ mental and physical health, affecting both personal and professional lives. It’s a public health problem that needs to be addressed by companies through culture and policies that help reduce work stress.


Burnout is more than just feeling tired or stressed; it’s a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion, often accompanied by feelings of cynicism and detachment from work. This phenomenon doesn’t discriminate – it can affect anyone, from entry-level employees to top executives. The causes are multifaceted, encompassing factors such as excessive workload, lack of control over one’s work, unclear expectations, and a lack of recognition.

Is Your Workplace Designed to Shield You from Burnout?

Companies play a huge role in keeping burnout at bay. It’s like making sure you’ve got insurance or paying your electricity bill – it’s just good sense for business. Putting in strategies to prevent burnout isn’t just a nice thing to do; it’s a smart move that can amp up performance, save resources, and boost the bottom line. According to a Deloitte survey, a whopping 70% of workers feel their bosses aren’t doing enough to tackle burnout. So, it’s not just about being a good employer; it’s about being a savvy one in a competitive world, where taking care of your team is a key part of success.


A lack of workplace autonomy, no social support, and unresolved workplace conflicts are common causes of burnout. By creating a workspace that promotes autonomy, encourages social interaction, and provides mechanisms for conflict resolution, companies can help mitigate these issues.


Fostering Meaningful Connections


Creating a culture of meaningful connections in the workplace can also help prevent burnout. It’s easy to mistake working next to one another with working with each other. Making an intentional effort to connect in a meaningful way helps to get out of a transactional work mode, and into one with more compassion and humanity. Strong workplace relationships have been found to lead to higher levels of innovation, knowledge-sharing, and reduced stress and burnout. (detailed in an article from Bartell & Bartell)


Purpose-Driven Impact: Connecting Work to a Larger Vision


One of the foremost catalysts for burnout is the absence of support and a meaningful connection to a broader purpose. It’s imperative for employees to experience a profound sense of significance in their work, understanding that their contributions matter and align with a greater vision. This crucial sense of purpose can be cultivated by establishing transparent communication about the company’s mission and values. Additionally, demonstrating to employees how their individual roles intricately weave into the fabric of the company’s overarching objectives can fortify their commitment and motivation.


Preventing Burnout


Preventing workplace burnout is as critical to business operations as investing in insurance or paying for electricity. Here are some strategies that can help:


Recovery Time: Encourage employees to take regular breaks and use their holiday entitlement to recharge.

Monitor Workloads: Ensure that employees’ workloads are manageable and that they are not consistently working overtime.

Promote Work/Life Balance: Encourage employees to maintain a healthy balance between their work and personal lives.

Foster Social Connections: Encourage team bonding activities and create a supportive work environment.

Provide Manager Support: Managers should be trained to recognise the signs of burnout and provide support to their team members.


In the race for success, it’s easy for both individuals and companies to lose sight of the importance of well-being. Burnout is not a badge of honour; it’s a signal that something needs to change. By fostering a culture of understanding, open communication, and proactive support, both individuals and organisations can create a work environment that not only thrives but sustains success in the long run. Preventing burnout isn’t just good for employees; it’s a strategic investment in the health and vitality of the entire organisation.

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