Burnout has a significant impact on the modern workplace, and everyone will likely experience it at some stage in their lives. New technologies and ways of working mean many employees find it more challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance and draw healthy boundaries. One in five UK workers say they feel unable to manage pressure and stress levels at work. However, every cloud has a silver lining and taking a preventative approach to employee burnout is an opportunity for managers to improve company culture, improve productivity, reduce turnover and better support their employees’ mental health.

What is workplace burnout?

Burnout in the workplace, sometimes called employee burnout, is a state of mental and physical exhaustion characterised by a lack of motivation, a sense of ineffectiveness and negative reactions to stressful workplace conditions.

There are several causes of workplace burnout to consider:

  • Doing a stressful or emotionally draining job for a significant amount of time
  • Worries about job security or money
  • A sense of isolation from colleagues when working from home
  • A lack of sleep
  • Problems in relationships
  • The pressures of caring responsibilities

According to a YouGov survey only 23% of UK workers said that their employers had plans in place to spot signs of chronic stress and prevent burnout.

Burnout can have a significant impact on employees and the wider business. Employers must work harder to ensure they and their employees are able to recognise the signs of burnout.

5 Early signs of workplace burnout

Here are five early signs of workplace burnout you can be on the look out for to better support your employees:

  1. Reduced efficiency
    Are members of your team seemingly working harder than ever, staying late, or skipping lunch but achieving less? Struggling with tasks can be a sign that employees are losing confidence in themselves and their abilities.
  2. An increase in small mistakes and errors
    Everyone makes mistakes! But an increase in small errors from normally sharp and competent teams can be a sign people are overwhelmed or lacking time to complete tasks.
  3. Withdrawal from colleagues
    Normally chatty employees may suddenly be absent from tea breaks, team chats and after-work events. Perhaps they are detached and unengaged in meetings. This may be due to a sudden deadline but is more often a sign of loss of motivation and feeling detached from the company.
  4. Increased absenteeism
  5. Have you noticed an increase in sick days? Even if you haven’t you may have seen more employees complaining about loss of sleep, fatigue, or headaches.
  6. Having a negative outlook
    Bad days are part of life, but a prolonged cynical outlook towards work, colleagues or clients can be a sign of frustration and detachment. Employees may also be more argumentative and less receptive to feedback.

If left unaddressed burnout can lead to more serious problems such as higher turnover, decreased productivity, poor morale, and can have a serious impact on your team’s mental and physical health.

Strategies to prevent employee burnout

So, what strategies can you as an employer put in place to help identify and reduce the causes of burnout for employees before stress overtakes them?

  • Create wellbeing plans
    Having employees create unique wellbeing plans can help them and you identify what wellbeing looks like for them as individuals as well as what it looks like when things aren’t going so well.
  • Monitor scheduling and workloads
    Keep track of scheduling and workloads. It may be expected that workloads increase from time to time but no one should be regularly staying late, sustaining heavy workloads, or working overtime. If an employee is struggling with productivity on a specific task, you might consider undertaking a review to determine how you can best support their improvement.
  • Conduct a Stress Risk Assessment
    Use one-to-ones or informal meetings to conduct a Stress Risk Assessment. These work like other health and safety risk assessments – identify a risk and then identify how you can remove or reduce the risk.
  • Prioritise wellness
    Make wellness a key element of your workplace culture. Offer quiet spaces, normalise taking time out for mental health and encourage employees to discuss wellness and balancing work with their personal life. You may even choose to offer assistance with counselling, childcare costs or financial planning advice.
  • Encourage communication

Encourage employees to come to you with feedback and be receptive and open to anything negative. Communication also works both ways. Keep employees updated on timescales, be clear about expectations and give regular performance feedback.

How can Davies Resourcing help?

Reducing employee burnout will go a long way to improving employee satisfaction, increase productivity and reduce turnover.

If you are looking for further help and advice with implementing an effective employee wellbeing programme, our team of dedicated recruitment consultants at Davies Resourcing are happy to help and find a solution that’s tailor-made for your unique requirements and needs.

Get in touch to find out more

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Mandy Dhillon

HR Director

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