Burnout. It’s a word you’ve probably heard quite a lot recently, particularly with the spotlight being shone on mental health. The question is, do you understand what burnout is? And more importantly, would you know how to help your employee if they were suffering from burnout? If the answer is no, then you’re in the right place.

In this blog, we’re going to outline what employee burnout is, how you can spot the signs and how you can help an employee who’s suffering from burnout.

What Is Employee Burnout?

Burnout is more than stress. In fact, it’s now an official medical diagnosis, and one that should be taken seriously might I add. The World Health Organisation describes burnout as “occupational phenomenon resulting from chronic workplace stress that hasn’t been successfully managed”.

Burnout is specifically related to work-related stress and can cause overwhelming feelings of exhaustion. It can also cause an employee to have negative feelings towards their job and to distance themselves from their role. Similarly, employee burnout can cause a person to be less efficient and motivated in the workplace.

spotting the signs of employees suffering from burnout

Spotting The Signs Of Employee Burnout

The stigma surrounding mental health means your employees may not feel comfortable telling you if they’re suffering from burnout or chronic stress.

Instead, they may try to keep their head down and cope on their own. However, as an employer, you are responsible for the workplace wellbeing of your employees. If you have noticed a change in the behaviour of your employee, they may be struggling with chronic stress or burnout. There are a few signs to look out for:

  • Your employee has started to arrive late or leave early
  • They are taking unusual absences from work
  • Your employee doesn’t appear to have motivation or energy
  • The standard of their work is slipping/they aren’t as productive
  • Your employee is tired a lot or complaining of being tired
  • They get easily frustrated and irritable
  • They don’t want to socialise or work with their teammates

Our Tips For Helping Employees Suffering From Burnout

If you have noticed any of these signs and believe your employee is suffering from burnout, you need to talk to them as soon as possible.

Invite your employee into your office and have a private discussion about how they are feeling. Ask if they are struggling with anything and voice your concerns for their health and wellbeing.

Once you know for sure that your employee is suffering from burnout, you can set about helping them.

Find The Cause

Finding the root of the stress is a great place to start. It may be a big project they are currently working on. Or they may be struggling to keep on top of their workload.

Alternatively, it may be a number of small yet significant events that have led to your employee feeling overly stressed for a long period of time.

When you understand the cause of the burnout, it will be easier for you to help your employee through it.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

Achieving work-life balance is essential to our mental and physical health and wellbeing. If your employee is spending a lot of time at work and taking work home with them at the end of the day, it’s going to cause a great amount of stress.

In order to be happy, your employees need a life outside of work, which includes healthy relationships, hobbies, exercise and family time. You can help your employee when they’re suffering from burnout by encouraging them to have a life outside of work.

Encourage them to take annual leave days, or to take the afternoon off to attend their child’s school assembly etc. These small changes will make a big difference to their overall health and wellbeing.

work-life balance is essential for employees suffering from burnout

Help Employees Suffering From Burnout By Delegating Their Tasks

When employees are suffering from burnout, their never-ending to-do list might overwhelm them even further.

Temporarily taking some of their responsibility and assigning it to another employee who has the time to spare will give them the time they need to focus on their health and wellbeing.

Help Employees Suffering From Burnout By Offering Flexible Working

Flexible working is growing in popularity. And rightfully so. An increasing number of employers are seeing the benefits flexible working has on the wellbeing of their employees and their business.

If your employee is suffering from burnout, flexible working will give them the opportunity to fit their work around their other commitments, such as their family. Flexible working has been known to relieve stress in employees and improve work-life balance.

Help Employees Suffering From Burnout By Talking Openly

Let your employee know that you’re always available to talk. Plan regular meetings with them (perhaps once a fortnight) to discuss whether the changes are helping your employee. If the changes you’ve put in place are not working, it’s better to find out sooner rather than later so you can try something else.

Get In Touch

If you’d like to find out more about helping employees who are suffering from burnout, get in touch with Wellspace. Here at Wellspace, we are experts in workplace wellness. We are aiming to revolutionise workplace wellness with our leading app, online portal and tailored wellbeing training.

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