Burnout is a challenge that all workers face, whether it is in a traditional office-based environment or in a remote work model. With the rise of remote and hybrid work models, more studies are being done that show how burnout impacts people that work from home.
So what is burnout? Let’s discuss its effects and impact, and how to avoid mitigate it.
What is Burnout?
Job burnout is a state of exhaustion, both physical and emotional. It involves a greatly reduced sense of accomplishment and loss of identity. Burnout affects a remote worker’s physical and mental health. It can also affect their work performance and productivity.
Signs and symptoms of burnout can include the following:
One of the hallmark signs of burnout is feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally drained. Individuals experiencing burnout struggle to find the energy and motivation to perform their daily tasks.
Mood shifts and Irritability:
Burnout can lead to mood swings, increased irritability, and a general feeling of being emotionally overwhelmed. Small issues that wouldn’t typically bother them may become major sources of frustration.
Those facing burnout may start to avoid their work responsibilities or find it difficult to concentrate on tasks. Procrastination and a lack of engagement with work become more common.
Missed deadlines, lower quality of work, and lower productivity:
As exhaustion and disengagement increase, job performance tends to suffer. Missed deadlines, decreased attention to detail, and a decline in productivity can become evident.
Feelings of dissatisfaction, disillusionment, or cynicism towards work:
Burnout can lead to a negative shift in an individual’s attitude toward their job. This results in feelings of disillusionment or cynicism about their work and its impact.
Alcohol or substance misuse:
Some people experiencing burnout may turn to alcohol or substances as a coping mechanism. This can exacerbate the problem and lead to further health and personal issues.
Burnout can have significant physical and mental health consequences. It may lead to increased vulnerability to illnesses, headaches, insomnia, and a weakened immune system.
Recognizing these signs and symptoms of burnout is crucial for individuals to take steps to address the issue and seek support. Implementing self-care strategies, seeking professional help, and making changes in work-life balance are essential in overcoming burnout and promoting well-being.
Burnout is a serious problem. Recent studies show that up to 89% of surveyed people say they suffered from burnout within the past year. The burnout rate is also up to 59%, an alarming increase from 2021. But what causes work burnout?
The Causes of Work Burnout
Anyone can suffer from burnout, but remote workers seem to be more susceptible to it. Surveys and studies show that these are the most common causes of occupational burnout:
Workload and lack of work-life balance:
An excessive workload and the inability to maintain a healthy work-life balance can lead to chronic stress and exhaustion.
Lack of control:
Feeling powerless or lacking control over one’s work environment and decision-making processes can create a sense of frustration and demotivation.
Poor work relationships:
Toxic or unsupportive work relationships, including conflicts with colleagues or superiors, can lead to emotional exhaustion.
Lack of recognition or reward:
Not receiving adequate recognition or rewards for one’s efforts and accomplishments can lead to feelings of demoralization and reduced job satisfaction.
Unfair management practices:
Managers who display favoritism, inconsistent treatment, or implement unfair policies can foster feelings of injustice and disengagement.
Mismatch of values:
When an individual’s personal values and beliefs conflict with those of their workplace or the organization’s mission, it can create a sense of disillusionment.
Unclear job expectations:
Vague or constantly changing job expectations can cause confusion and anxiety, making it difficult for employees to perform well.
Lack of social support:
Feeling isolated or lacking social support within the workplace can exacerbate stress and emotional exhaustion
Handling The Effects Of Job Burnout
Handling burnout is crucial for maintaining mental and physical well-being. The steps you’ve listed are essential strategies to cope with burnout. Let’s tal about each in more detail:
Consult a medical professional:
If you’re experiencing burnout, it’s essential to seek professional help from a healthcare provider, such as a primary care physician or a mental health specialist. Burnout can have serious physical and psychological effects, and a medical professional can provide an accurate diagnosis, rule out other underlying health issues, and suggest appropriate treatment options.
Evaluate your job:
Take some time to reflect on your current job situation. Consider factors like workload, working hours, job demands, and work-life balance. Are there aspects of your job that are contributing to your burnout? Identifying the specific stressors and triggers can help you take appropriate action to address them.
Seek help and support:
Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family members, or colleagues who can offer understanding and support. Talking about your feelings and experiences can be therapeutic and help reduce the emotional burden. Consider finding a mentor or counselor who can provide guidance and help you develop coping strategies.
Try relaxation and mindfulness techniques:
Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery, can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm. Mindfulness practices, like meditation and mindful awareness, can also be effective in managing burnout by helping you stay present and focused on the moment, rather than getting overwhelmed by past events or future worries.
Regular physical activity is known to release endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Exercise can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, making it an excellent way to combat burnout. Whether it’s going for a walk, jogging, swimming, practicing yoga, or participating in team sports, finding an activity that you enjoy can boost your mood and energy levels.
Proper rest and adequate sleep are crucial for recovering from burnout. Ensure you are getting enough sleep each night and take breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. Incorporate activities into your routine that help you relax, whether it’s reading a book, taking a warm bath, or spending time in nature.
Overcoming burnout is a process, and it may take time and persistence. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to prioritize self-care. If you find that your burnout is persisting despite your efforts, don’t hesitate to seek professional help again to reassess your situation and explore additional strategies for managing burnout.
What can Management do?
Management plays a critical role in preventing work burnout among their employees. They can create a healthier work environment and support their team members by implemeting some of the following options:
Listen to your team:
One of the most important things a manager can do is actively listen to their employees. Regularly check in with them, encourage open communication, and create a safe space for them to express their concerns and challenges. Understanding the specific issues that team members are facing allows managers to address potential sources of burnout and provide appropriate support.
Cultivate a positive work environment:
A positive work environment fosters employee well-being and reduces the likelihood of burnout. Managers can contribute to this by promoting a culture of appreciation, recognition, and camaraderie. Encouraging teamwork, celebrating successes, and showing gratitude for their team’s efforts can go a long way in boosting morale and job satisfaction.
Hit the brakes on overwork:
Managers should be vigilant about monitoring workloads and preventing excessive overtime or unrealistic deadlines. When employees consistently work long hours and have little time for rest and recovery, burnout becomes more likely. Distribute work evenly, and when necessary, bring in additional resources or adjust project timelines to ease pressure.
Make roles, goals, and expectations clear:
Unclear expectations and ambiguous roles can lead to stress and burnout. Managers should provide clear job descriptions, define specific goals, and set realistic expectations for their team members. Regularly communicate about performance, progress, and feedback to help employees stay on track and feel confident in their work.
Help restore work-life balance:
Encourage a healthy work-life balance for employees by promoting boundaries and respecting personal time. Managers can lead by example, by avoiding sending work-related emails or messages during non-working hours and encouraging their team members to do the same. Offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible hours, can also help employees manage their personal commitments better.
Provide resources for stress management and well-being:
Offering resources and programs that support stress management and well-being can be highly beneficial. This includes workshops on stress reduction techniques, access to counseling services, or wellness programs focused on exercise, nutrition, and mental health. By investing in employee well-being, managers demonstrate that they prioritize their team’s health and happiness.
Management can create a more supportive and balanced work environment that reduces the risk of work burnout among their team members. A healthier and happier workforce not only improves individual well-being but also contributes to increased productivity and long-term success for the organization.
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