According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout has three characteristics; feelings of depleted energy or exhaustion, increased mental distance from or negativity/cynicism about one’s job, and reduced professional efficiency.
What are some signs of burnout?
- Unusually low energy or fatigue
- Reduced performance or productivity
- Uncharacteristic impatience or shortness with others
- Faltering relationships with colleagues
- Sudden micromanaging
- Increased absenteeism
How can you show your employees that you value their mental health and want to help prevent burnout at work?
- Encourage the use of PTO or vacation days.
- Set clear expectations. These can help employees retain a sense of control because they understand what is expected of them.
- Allow for downtime at work. This could be allowing employees to close their office door and work uninterrupted or allowing music to be played through headphones or in the background.
- Show support for mental health. Implement an open-door policy for employees to come to managers or HR with issues.
- Show appreciation or recognition. A “thank you” can go a long way to reduce stress and show employees they are appreciated.
- Recognize that stress exists outside of work. To help staff cope with responsibilities outside of work, be accommodating.
- Allow for rest when needed. Recognize the need and allow for an extra break or a few minutes to decompress to recenter or gain focus.
- Bring mindfulness to work.
- Reduce toxicity in the workplace.
- Conduct regular employee engagement surveys.
Recognizing and avoiding burnout in the workplace is something you can do as an employer to improve an individual’s well-being as well as the health of your organization.