“Burnout” is sometimes used as a catchphrase or a descriptor for a certain period of time. “I’m burnt out!” for example. It was a difficult job.”
It refers to a combination of tension and exhaustion, as well as some indifference. There is little interest or excitement for work towards the end of the week. A weekend of shutting down, spending time with family and friends, or doing some much-needed errands and cleaning up is frequently beneficial. We’re feeling well enough to go another week.
But there’s also burnout, which isn’t a buzzword. It describes how a person feels after working long hours and having unreasonable expectations, both self-imposed and job-imposed.
Inefficiencies, unjust treatment, disrespectful conduct, isolation or loneliness, and a lack of leadership support are all common. It is experiencing a severe loss of control over work and the capacity to properly participate. Relationships suffer as a result of the burnout, both with family and friends.
Burnout has a negative impact on one’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Exhaustion, depression, sleeplessness, wrath, and excessive cynicism are all possible outcomes if not treated. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and general sickness susceptibility are also mentioned.
Suicide is also a possibility, particularly among doctors, who have double the likelihood of suicide due to burnout as the general population.
The World Health Organization classifies burnout as a phenomena or experience that occurs in the job. Take note that this is not a case of stressed-out people making bad decisions, which yoga courses and other forms of self-care may help with. This is a difficulty with employment.
Workplace-induced suffering is known as burnout
If you’ve ever been burned out and felt a wave of wrath within when someone urged you to simply get more sleep, take breaks, and meditate, you’re not alone. Burnout is mostly caused by institutional factors that are beyond the immediate control of individual leaders and workers.
There are various steps that can be performed to alleviate burnout symptoms, but they will not solve the problem at the organizational level.
Some sectors are in worse shape than others. “Mission-focused executives, non-profit employees, teachers/principals, nurses, and physicians are some of the people most at-risk for burnout,” writes Jennifer Moss for Harvard Business Review.
These are areas where individuals are not just enthusiastic about their job but also feel intimately linked to it.
Burnout, on the other hand, may be felt in any industry. According to Gallop, 76 percent of workers are burnt out at least sometimes, while 28 percent are burned out “very often” or “always.” The top five causes for burnout, according to Gallop, are:
- Workplace discrimination
- Workloads that are unmanageable
- Managerial communication is ambiguous
- Managerial support is lacking
- Unreasonable time constraints
The Mayo Clinic also cites dysfunctional workplace interactions, unclear employment goals, and a lack of social support or isolation as other explanations.
Take notice that none of these factors are related to bad personal choices or employee performance. Rather, the causes are related to the culture, operations, and leadership of the company.
While managers have a lot of say in whether or not people or teams burn out, they aren’t the only ones to blame. Many firms lack enough leadership training to provide managers with the skills necessary to effectively assist their employees.
Empathetic leadership, for example, is a typical need for reducing or preventing burnout. This implies that executives must deliberately listen to burned-out workers, put aside personal ideas, prejudices, and privilege, and then determine what action to take based on what they’ve heard from them. Employees must believe that their supervisors actually care about them and that they are understood.
These are acquired abilities, not personality characteristics. This implies that if a leader isn’t schooled in these qualities, they must at the very least acquire them by observing others or experiencing them firsthand (to replicate the behaviors for others). Empathetic communication is usually missing in organizations with a “whatever it takes” or “no pain, no gain” mentality.
Furthermore, leaders are just as prone to burnout as their direct reporters, and they frequently feel helpless in the workplace. How can they transform a culture of “doing more with less”? They don’t have any. They are unable to do so.
Organizations often react to burnout by providing staff with a variety of self-care programs aimed at improving their resilience and overall well-being. Mental health services, fitness and exercise programs, retail discounts, supermarket services, and childcare perks are all examples of this. These activities are beneficial and give temporary comfort, but they will not cure burnout in the long run.
Unreasonable time pressure, for example, is a factor to burnout, according to Gallop. No amount of “Free Lunch Fridays,” gift cards, or “mental health days” can assist if leaders continue to say yes to new initiatives and tasks without offering support and resources. Employees, on the other hand, will be hesitant to take time from work for fear of falling farther behind.
The irony is that these types of cultures are created in the name of performance, money, and outcomes. More labor, more hours, and more stress imply success in some way. However, the data does not back this claim. High-stress situations, according to the American Psychological Association, result in more turnover, reduced productivity, and higher healthcare expenditures.
Burnout is a widespread issue in the workplace
If you’re going through it, get help and remember that it’s not about you; it’s about the workplace. Concentrate on what you can manage and find someone to help you create and practice ways that bring relief.
You’ve probably been attempting to deal with all of the stress on your own. Burnout necessitates further resources. Mentors, therapists, spiritual leaders, and coaches are all great resources for helping you find relief via new habits and thinking modifications.
Finally, understand that you are unlikely to be able to alter the culture of your organization. If you work for an organization or a manager that embraces and fosters this sort of culture, it may be time to look for a new job.
Your health and life are more valuable than any work.
Thanks to Amy Drader at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.