Effective Treatments for Burnout Syndrome
In recent years, stress and burnout have become an increasingly common phenomenon in the work environment that can quickly develop into a burnout syndrome.
Burnout syndrome is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion that involves not only reduced work capacity but also loss of personal identity. Work-related burnout affects both the employee and the company they work for, therefore managers and employees have to be responsible, aware and address these problems before they become a major burden in their daily lives.
Symptoms that may indicate burnout syndrome
Often employees who face burnout syndrome are not even aware of it themselves. Colleagues and company management may see unfavorable changes in the employee as a lack of motivation and poor attitude to work. But it’s not! Therefore, it is important to notice the symptoms early, before the negative effects worsen and become a much more difficult problem, such as depression.
Burnout syndrome in the workplace is characterized by exhaustion of emotions that can make a worker feel feeble, helpless and unable to cope with the duties assigned to them. Physical exhaustion, such as headaches or bowel problems, may also occur. Exhaustion results in reduced performance, difficulty in concentrating, lack of creativity and often depressed mood.
It is possible to get to burnout if the employees:
- Expect from themselves what they cannot really accomplish
- Don’t feel appreciated for his efforts
- Do what is not right for them
- Feel incompetent in what they are doing
- Feel that the management has set too high requirements
- Never feel contented with the work done
- Have a lot of trouble and effort for starting to work
- Eat unhealthy or excessive and drink alcohol to feel better
- Have changed sleep patterns
- Feel great frustration
- Lack of satisfaction with achievements
Your employee might have burned out if:
- The number of errors is increasing
- Motivation to work is declining
- Productivity decreases
- Assignments take more time than before, sometimes they are not completed
- He is often late or even absent
- Too much has been asked, with short completion times
- The schedule is unpredictable that prevents employee from planning his free time and wholesome rest
- There are additional responsibilities beyond the original workload but not equally compensated
- He works not only during working hours, but also outside
The five most common causes of burnout syndrome in the workplace, according to a Gallup survey, are unfair treatment of employees, excessive workload, lack of role clarity, lack of communication and support from the manager, and unreasonable time pressure.1
Ways employees can help themselves
Look for support. Regardless of whether it is a conversation with a colleague, friend or relative, support and cooperation can help you to better understand yourself and come to a solution.
Give time for yourself. Although work is an important part of your life, don’t forget to spend time on relaxation and activities that make you happy. You can feel filled and satisfied with what you do, only by balancing your daily routine
Encourage positive thinking and take care of your body. In the great hurry of everyday life, don’t forget to take care of the most important thing you have – your body. Spend time on healthy eating, qualitative sleep, self-motivation and exercise. It is scientifically proven that regular exercise promotes well-being and helps combat mental problems.2
Start saying ‘NO’. Before committing to a new assignment, consider whether, under your current circumstances, you will be able to do it and will not need to work out of hours. Evaluate priorities, better do one important job than three less important, and feel exhausted and dissatisfied with life.
Leave work. If you feel like you are not doing what gives you satisfaction and growth, look for something else. There is no need to torture yourself if the outcome is always the same – a sense of hopelessness and dissatisfaction with what you do. Instead, look for opportunities that create positive emotions and feeling of fulfillment.
Tips for companies to solve problems
Companies should find ways to reduce work-related stress and promote employee satisfaction, well-being and productivity3:
1) Make sure your employees have all the resources and skills they need to live up to expectations;
2) Provide regular training so that your employees remain competent in what they do;
3) Help employees understand their value to the company and their contribution to achieving its goals;
4) Express reasonable and realistic expectations;
5) Support physical activity and encourage your employees to take regular breaks;
6) Develop a practical strategy for employees who experience burnout syndrome in the workplace – find out what motivates them the most.
Although the term ‚burnout‘ suggests that it is a permanent condition that cannot be changed, it is not! All it takes is to make changes to yourself and your work environment, because something is not right in what you are currently doing. However, if you or your employee has a burnout syndrome with having trouble finding a way out or suspect mental health problems, such as depression, seek help from a professional doctor who can help you to feel better.
1 Ben Wigert, Sangeeta Agrawal (2018). Employee Burnout, Part 1: The 5 Main Causes.
2 Penedo, Frank J, Dahn, Jason R (2005). Exercise and well-being: a review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity.
3 Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. Burnout Response. https://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/managing-workplace-issues/burnout-response