Representative image
Representative image

Workplace burnout: Here's how managers can spot it and take action

ANI | Updated: Sep 15, 2019 12:23 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Sept 15 (ANI): Achieving a sense of balance between work and personal life has now become a challenge and the imbalance somewhere leads to stress for which the mind and body pay the price.
Workplace burnout, which is getting more attention lately, has major physical and emotional consequences. Although most people think that being burnt out makes you more irritable and unmotivated, there are serious physical and mental health risks linked to the issue, reported CNN.
For most people, their workplace is consistently one of their leading stressors. Earlier this year, the issue was added to the World Health Organization's list of official medical diagnoses.
Burnout can occur when we suffer chronic stress at work, explained David Ballard, senior director of the American Psychological Association's Office of Applied Psychology.
According to Ballard, people are only capable of handling stress in short bursts, so when one faces increased levels of stress at work for a long time, they risk burning out.
Ballard noted that not only is it linked to mental and physical health risks, but can also affect job performance, the CNN report stated.
"If it's not managed effectively over time, it can affect job performance. It can leave one feeling exhausted, unmotivated and ineffective on the job. Job performance can also suffer," Ballard said.
Managers and employees both play an equally essential role when it comes to identifying and managing job burnout.
"Employees have to take steps to have effective coping skills to manage stress. Employers can work to create an environment that is conducive to healthy employees: identifying stressors and reducing and eliminating them when they can and making sure they have health and management resources," Ballard said.
Here's a list of potential red flags that managers can spot and take action:
Putting in extra work hours
There are times when one has to put in extra hours during work, which may be harmful to your health if it gets frequent.
"Pushing yourself for a few weeks is okay but after a while it becomes really detrimental to your health and ability to do work at the same quality level," said Leigh Stringer, author of the book -- 'The Healthy Workplace'.
In order to curb the issue, managers need to establish a tone when it comes to work-life balance.
One should not be afraid to stress the importance of having a life -- ask about outside-of-work activities and offer flexible work arrangements to help steer busy schedules.
Unable to prioritise different tasks
Employees who might be struggling with workplace burnout could also have a hard time prioritising tasks, not having enough clarity on how to differentiate what's more important.
"When somebody sees everything as being a really high priority, they don't know what to minimize and they don't know when to stop," said Adam Goodman, director of the Centre for Leadership at Northwestern University.
When assigning a new project to a worker, managers should make sure that their employees do not have too much on their plate and offer help in prioritising assignments.
Deteriorating social skills
When a usually lively employee who often participates in the office meetings and is mostly enthusiastic suddenly becomes unmotivated and quieter, that person could be at risk of workplace burnout.
"Their bodies are at work, but their heart and soul are not, and you are noticing a lower participation rate," Stringer said.
How they take up a project or work on something can also be a sign of burnout.
If you feel that an employee is going through chronic stress or seems distant, try pulling them aside, asking them to grab a cup of coffee or go for a walk.
"Take them outside the throes of work and have an off-site discussion that shows you care about them as a person. Reaching out is very important," Stringer suggested.
Experiencing negative feelings all the time
Venting in the workplace is very common and sometimes equally helpful as well. But when a person has negative thoughts all the time without offering solutions, it could be a sign they are going through something serious. So paying attention to any shifts in behaviour could help.
For example, if a worker is usually very cordial and patient with co-workers, but is now frequently losing patience, that can also be a sign of burnout, according to said Ben Fanning, author of 'The Quit Alternative: The Blueprint for Creating the Job You Love Without Quitting'.
Negative attitude and feelings are contagious and can spread throughout an office and take a toll on the collective productivity.
Fanning suggested taking a "set, achieve and celebrate" trick in the office could work. It involves setting goals and once they are achieved, celebrating them.
"A lot of managers don't set a clear goal, they just want to achieve," he said.
When it comes to celebrating, it doesn't have to be a big office party, a little bit of recognition could also do the trick.
"Recognize the work or person in a team meeting. A little bit of recognition can really help out."
Cognitive Issues
We all make errors but if they become frequent it may be a sign of a workplace burnout.
"If they keep making the same mistake frequently and they aren't in the zone, that could be a sign of experiencing burnout," Fanning said.
Another red flag is when people start experiencing difficulty in concentrating and have a hard time in solving problems with memory or making decisions.
"If someone's is work performance is slipping, it gives you the opportunity as manager to have a conversation and point to resources to help support," Ballard said.
Burnout can be prevented by focusing on proper sleep, healthful eating, exercise, social time and making time for creative pursuits outside of work. Consider mindfulness meditations or stretching exercises that can help in keeping you calm. And, if nothing changes, and your workplace just seems to a bad fit, then the best treatment is to move on altogether. (ANI)

iocl