Recognizing and Preventing Employee Burnout  

/ September 10, 2020 September 10, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, 73% of American employees report experiencing burnout in the workplace, according to a new study. The top three reasons were an unmanageable workload, blurred lines between the workday and time off, and stress over job security and finances. While working from home has given many some flexibility in their schedules, it also has employees working harder- 59% of people are taking less time off than usual. Stress can cause long-term consequences personally and professionally, so it’s important to spot the warning signs early. Typical symptoms of burnout include: 

  • Feeling irritation, anger, or in denial 
  • Feeling uncertain, nervous, or anxious 
  • Lacking motivation 
  • Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or burned out 
  • Feeling sad or depressed 
  • Having trouble sleeping 
  • Having trouble concentrating 

Added worries caused by the pandemic:  

  • Concern about the risk of being exposed to the virus at work 
  • Taking care of personal and family needs while working 
  • Managing a different workload 
  • Lack of access to the tools and equipment needed to perform your job 
  • Feelings that you are not contributing enough to work or guilt about not being on the frontline 
  • Uncertainty about the future of your workplace and/or employment 
  • Learning new communication tools and dealing with technical difficulties 
  • Adapting to a different workspace and/or work schedule 

What next? 

Recognizing burnout is the first step, but then comes fixing the problem. While many of these concerns are valid and may not go away quickly, there are things employers can do, such as:

  1. Encourage time off – If employees are working from home, they need to log off just as they would in a physical office. Encourage employees to establish and stick to a schedule of working hours and avoid responding during their time off. These schedules may not be a typical 9-5, especially for working parents, but committing to consistent times can help them relax. Additionally, encourage employees to use their PTO, even if they don’t physically go anywhere. Everyone should take time to recharge and enjoy things outside of work. 
  2. Offer help – Managers should frequently check-in and ensure everyone’s workloads are manageable. If employees are feeling overwhelmed, communicate with your team for solutions. Employers may also consider bringing in a wellness professional to share stress management strategies, especially if multiple employees are experiencing burnout. Lastly, connect employees to their mental health benefits and encourage them to seek additional help if they no longer can manage on their own. 

The disruption and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 can take a toll on everyone’s mental health and productivity. For more advice on managing workplace burnout or information about all our wellness offerings, please fill out the form below: 

Source: CDC