Even if you are passionate about your work, job burnout can occur. It is usually caused by an imbalance of input and output – you become burned out when you sense you are putting more effort into your work than you are receiving in return. This can happen when work isn’t fulfilling, but it’s more likely when you aren’t taking care of yourself.
Microsoft revealed in March 2022 that 54 percent of US workers are actively burned out at work. It’s time to stop thinking of how to avoid job burnout and start thinking over how to deal with it – it’s already here, and it’s here to stay unless we take action.
What Is Job Burnout?
Job burnout is not really a clinical condition, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is, however, a true phenomenon: It is a form of work-related stress that manifests as a condition of physical or emotional tiredness, as well as a sense of diminishing accomplishment and a loss of personal identity.
It doesn’t arise from external groups, according to renowned burnout expert Christina Maslach: It originates from within.
“The burned-out worker might think they are the problem, but they are actually the canary in the coal mine” – Maslach explains.
Work from home burnout occurs when emotional and mental stress, physical exhaustion, and a sense of alienation combine together, according to Maslach. There’s a growing body of evidence that says it’s up to corporations, not employees, to put an end to it. “Burnout is a social phenomenon, not an individual weakness,” Maslach adds.
Meditation and yoga will only get employees so far in overcoming professional burnout, just as free beer and ping pong tables won’t heal a toxic company culture. Fighting job burnout on the outside is a losing battle in the end.
Let’s be clear: the biggest occupational hazard of the twenty-first century is job burnout. So, where did it originate, and what can we do about it?
“I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that not only is there no trade-off between a well-rounded lifestyle and high performance, but that performance is really enhanced when we incorporate time for renewal, learning, pleasure, and generosity in our lives. That would have prevented me from going through a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout, and exhaustion.” – Arianna Huffington
What Factors Contribute To Job Burnout?
According to a 2019 Harvard Business Review article titled “Burnout Is About Your Workplace, Not Your People,” Job burnout costs the United States $190 billion in healthcare expenses each year. In the same year, the issue grew to the point where it was categorized as an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organization.
The fundamental truth is that job burnout during COVID is a social problem, not a personal flaw.
Solving this risk can appear daunting, if not impossible because it is a new problem. The solution, just like any other business challenge, rests in describing the issue, identifying the reasons, and then devising a strategy to solve each one.
According to the Maslach Burnout Assessment, these are the causes of burnout:
- ? Demand overload
- ❌ Lack of control
- ? Insufficient compensation
- ??♂️ Socially toxic environment
- ? Injustice and favoritism
Warning Signs Of Work From Home Burnout
You must first understand the remote work burnout symptoms before you can cure or even avoid it. This will help to understand when it’s time to make a move. Here they are:
- Difficulty With Work & Personal Relationships
Stress affects everything you do, especially how you interact with others. Relationships are usually the ones to suffer. Many people are more likely to lash out at others, lose their temper, and become engaged in pointless, unnecessary disputes when they are stressed. Others, on the other hand, are more likely to avoid someone they care about.
- Health Problems
Work from home burnout has a devastating effect on both your physical and mental wellbeing. Whether you’re suffering from back pain, melancholy, heart disease, obesity, or simply getting ill a lot, you should think about how your job is affecting you.
- Working After Office Hours
You know that awful feeling you get once you’re lying on the couch, worrying about all the work you didn’t get done and praying you didn’t forget anything? It’s an indication that you’re burnt out if you can’t stop thinking about work when you’re at home.
- Physical & Mental Fatigue
Because of the effect stress has on your mind and body, burnout frequently leads to tiredness. Having difficulties staying awake at work, waking up with no energy after a good night’s sleep, or ingesting huge doses of caffeine to get you through each day are all signs of burnout fatigue.
Even if you are normally a positive person, burnout might compel you to become very negative. If you find yourself focused on the negative aspects of events, passing judgement on others, or feeling cynical, it’s evident that negativity has taken root, and it’s time to make a move.
- Decreased Job Satisfaction
Burnout usually results in a nagging sensation of unhappiness. Projects and individuals that used to thrill you have lost their appeal. This drop in satisfaction certainly makes things tough because you don’t feel like you’re getting something out of it, no matter how much effort you put in.
- Performance Issues
Burnout victims are frequently high performers, so when their productivity begins to deteriorate, others may not notice. It’s critical to keep track of your progress. What were your results a month ago? How about six months ago? How about a year ago? If you see a drop in your productivity, it’s important to assess if burnout is to blame.
How to Avoid Work From Home Burnout & Beat Mental Stress?
Employee morale and mental health are at risk due to the pressures of hybrid-remote work, a worldwide pandemic, and an always-on society. Here are some creative ways to reduce stress at work and beat the job burnout during COVID.
- Allocate Meeting-Free Time For Intensive Work
Back-to-back meetings can quickly cause job burnout during COVID. Prevent it by setting up 90-minute blocks of time throughout the week to allow your staff to complete the daily tasks that lead to increased productivity.
Reduce The Burden To Participate Socially
After-hours activities are fantastic for connecting team members, but they might feel like another burden after a long day of work (particularly for remote workers). Even if you want people to come, make social activities voluntary. There is no such thing as compelled enjoyment.
- Make Burnout A Frequent Discussion Topic
Add the topic of burnout to the itinerary of one-on-one check-ins or quarterly performance evaluations. Inquire about employees’ well-being, and use this opportunity to address and resolve concerns like workload, priorities, and work-life balance.
- Increase Work Schedule Flexibility
Flexible schedules allow employees to incorporate their job into their personal life and have been shown to be a useful incentive, morale booster, and employee engagement factor.
Offer Rewards That Support Employees’ Lives
Workplace incentives such as gift cards and certificates are wonderful, but they won’t keep employees from being burnt out. Instead, give genuine rewards to employees that help them regain their work-life balance.
- Turn “Sick Days” Into “Wellness Days”
Studies demonstrate that workers were less inclined to take a day off during the pandemic. Consider renaming sick days as “wellness days” and motivate people to use them to recharge.
- Encourage Employees to Exercise
A recent study analyzed the impact of physical activity on employees who were experiencing job burnout. Participants who exercised on a regular basis were more suitable to cooperate with work-related stress without becoming overwhelmed. Offer access to a good gym, virtual group sessions, or a company-wide fitness challenge to encourage physical wellness.
Increase Recognition & Appreciation
Half of the employees claim they’d continue with their present workplace if they felt appreciated. “What’s the point when there isn’t enough appreciation?” Nobody gives a damn.” Recognize and appreciate your co-workers to prevent job fatigue and enhance morale.
- Make Milestone Celebrations a Ritual
Simply letting employees know that someone notices and acknowledges their efforts is one way to combat work burnout. Did your employee complete a training module? Took up a challenge? Do they have a work anniversary coming up? Don’t allow little achievements go unnoticed — recognize and applaud them on an employee recognition platform!
Build A Culture of Gratitude
Make it a habit for your teammates and leaders to say “thank you” orally, in writing, or publicly through employee recognition platforms and social media shout-outs.
Work from home burnout is real, and its consequences can be terrible, but it doesn’t have to be that way for your team. Self-care, honesty, and limits in the right amounts will enable them to confront the problem head-on and fearlessly face whatever comes next.