The term burnout has been making headlines in the last few years. Today it’s commonly recognised as a mental health diagnosis due to its significant implications towards one’s health, writes Dr. Frank Chow, Director and Psychiatrist, 2OP Health
Burnout can be defined as physical, emotional and psychological exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. Emotional burnout, on the other hand, occurs when you are overwhelmed and emotionally drained. If left untreated, you may begin to lose interest and motivation to perform and feel inefficient.
How does burnout affect business outcomes?
According to a survey from Kronos Incorporated, nearly half of HR leaders say that employee burnout is responsible for up to 50 per cent of a company’s turnover.
People that are burnout might project their frustration to their co-workers, clients or higher management. Over time, this may lead to performance issues, complaints or interpersonal difficulties in the workplace and cause significant disruption to the workflow. Not only does burnout make it more likely for valued employees to leave the company and lead to a decrease in workforce retention, but it also has the potential to hinder productivity and the quality of work of those who stay.
How to recognise and cope with burnout?
1. Monitor your resilience and tolerance
When it comes to stress, there is no one size fits all. Each individual experience and respond to stress in different ways. However, there are a few common signs of burnout including feeling emotionally distanced, drained, unable to cope, tired, difficulty concentrating, lack of creativity or even physical symptoms such as headaches that we can monitor and intervene.
Being aware of your burnout symptoms and tolerance to stress will help you better identify and prevent workplace burnout. When these symptoms appear or persist, you may choose to self-adjust your workload and hours where possible.
2. Practice self-care and compassion
You are the engine of your life – and to keep it fully fuelled, it’s important to foster self-compassion and self-care. Not only does it empower you to care for yourself, but also for others around you, including your workplace.
Self-care begins with self-compassion. This means believing that you deserve all the effort you are putting into your self-care routine, both physically and mentally.
You might find it useful to take regular breaks during your workday to help you reset whenever you feel stressed. Where possible, taking time out from work may help you to rest physically and get a chance to realign with your dissatisfaction with the situation as well as realigned your goals to motivate yourself to move forward.
3. Look after your health and seek help early
When symptoms appear, take action before you reach your breaking point. Take a break and reflect upon the root of the problems before further, more significant consequences follow. Acknowledge where the issues are and where they stem from.
If the symptoms persist, you might find it helpful to reach out for professional help. There are resources out there readily available to help you reset and re-evaluate your emotions.
When you try to suppress your emotions and do not take immediate action to address your situation, burnout can lead to a more severe depressive syndrome. If this occurs it may take a much longer time to recover causing a longer disruption of your life as well as the business. When it comes to your mental health, prevention is always better than cure. Try to keep an open mind as you consider your options.
Realising the implications of a burned-out workforce, it’s important for both employee and employer to work together to prevent or treat workplace burnout. Workplace burnout is becoming more and more common, but it doesn’t have to be. Setting the appropriate steps and actions within the workplace to prevent and treat burnout will greatly benefit the mental health and wellbeing of your employees which will, in turn, help generate positive business outcomes.