Following the COVID-19 pandemic, occupational burnout has been on the rise. While getting burnt out from work isn’t a new issue, it has become more prevalent in today’s society. According to an Indeed study, more than half of survey participants have experienced occupational burnout, a 43% increase from their pre-COVID survey. Occupational burnout among employees is a dilemma employers take seriously and should look out for.
Workplace Burnout and How to Manage It
What Is Burnout?
The first step is getting a grasp on what being burnt out really means. Burnout can be defined as a state of chronic mental exhaustion from workplace stress. As with most things, it needs to be addressed and treated in order to see any results. In 2019, the World Health Organization officially recognized burnout as an occupational phenomenon and can be characterized by these symptoms:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job
- feelings of negativity or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
There are other symptoms and behaviors to identify workplace burnout:
- Alienation from work-related activities
- Feeling emotionally and physically drained
- Mood swings
- Unable to accomplish everyday tasks at work
- Difficulty concentrating
- Taking more time away from work
- Lack of creativity
While everyone may experience burnout differently, it can still affect anyone in the workplace. The majority of the stress contributing to burnout might be from work, stress from life at home and overall lifestyle can add to this stress. The majority of people spend a lot of their time at work, and if you’re unhappy with your work, it can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health.
What Causes It?
Another step in addressing burnout is knowing what is causing it. The obvious root is stress, and while it’s highly unlikely to fully remove stress from the workplace, there are ways to manage and prevent it. Here are the 6 most common causes of burnout:
- Work-life imbalance. With work taking up much of our time, it’s difficult to have the energy to be social with friends and family. And employees working remotely, it can be challenging to create boundaries between work and home.
- Unfair treatment. Unfair treatment can include but is not limited to bias, favoritism, unfair compensation, or mistreatment from other employees
- Unrealistic deadlines. With some occupations, a time constraint is unavoidable. But for those who are allotted an appropriate amount of time to complete their work, are far less likely to experience burnout.
- Unmanageable workload. Being given more work than you can handle leads to more stress and feeling overwhelmed. Be realistic about what can be accomplished each day.
- Unclear job expectations. When someone is unsure exactly what their role is in the company and what is expected of them, it can create unneeded exhaustion. Clearly state what the workload entails and what is expected of them.
- Lack of support. Employees who feel they do not have enough support, are more likely to experience burnout at work. Lacking support from superiors and at home can be considered a risk factor.
Although more than half of employees will experience burnout, that does not make it inevitable. Occupational burnout can be prevented. Creating and enforcing a mindful environment can help ensure employees don’t feel overworked and overwhelmed.
How To Combat Burnout With Mindfulness
Recognizing how we feel at work and during work is the first step in treating burnout. Incorporating mindfulness every day inside and outside of the workplace can help employees cope and treat burnout. Here are a few tips and exercises to try:
- Connect and reconnect. Working remotely can lead to feelings of isolation which can contribute to burnout. Engaging with your employees, employers, and/or coworkers can help create a connected environment. Try finding ways to get everyone together, whether they work onsite or remote. A few ways can be group discussions, collective exercise breaks, trivia night, any activity to engage everyone.
- Take 5. Take time to sit and really reflect and evaluate how tired you truly are at work. Unplug your devices, step away from the computer, take a few deep breaths, and meditate on your current state of mind when at work. See if you are equipped to handle the workload you are given.
- Feel your feelings. There are more complicated feelings than being tired that accompany burnout; irritability, resentment, anger, anxiety. Give yourself space to acknowledge and address your feelings which in turn will help determine what the true problem is.
- Move often. Get up and move your body often and regularly. It’s necessary to move stress hormones through the body and restore balance to the nervous system. Stretching, yoga, or going for a walk are all excellent ways to get moving.
- Check-in. Establish a routine check-in within the company. This allotted time can give those a chance to voice any concerns, reach out for help, or just check base with everyone and how they are feeling.
- Journaling. If you’re unable to verbalize what you’re feeling, this can create pent-up frustration and worsen workplace burnout. There can be issues or concerns that might not be able to be addressed in the workplace check-in, journaling will give the opportunity to analyze a situation.
- Deep breathing. Being aware of your breath is a key component of mindfulness. Stepping away from all devices and focusing on taking several long, deep breaths can encourage our bodies to relax.
Each of these tips and exercises can be utilized to help not only treat burnout, but also prevent it. Employers should encourage these practices.
Mindfulness in the Workplace
While experiencing burnout has become increasingly common, it should still be avoided at all costs. Incorporating mindfulness into everyday life at work can reduce the symptoms and minimize the phenomena from occurring in the first place. At Alltrust, we provide eMindful services to all our clients and employees. eMindful can provide mindfulness to your workplace and ensure the well-being of your employees, company, and organization. Contact us today to learn more about how mindfulness can benefit your business.