What is burnout?

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), burnout now classifies as a chronic health condition that has its own legitimate medical diagnosis. For our always-on work culture, it's great to see that self-tests and medical guides from professional medical providers are available for protecting employees and companies from the pitfalls of chronic workplace stress.

For HR representatives, office managers and SME managers, it's another issue to stay clued-up on. 

We've narrowed it down and come up with 4 tips to help you identify and extinguish workplace or organisational burnout from your company or SME. 

4 ways to extinguish burnout:

  1. Take your holiday
  2. Rebalance work and life
  3. Get creative
  4. Recognise and reward

If you suspect an employee is on the edge of burnout, look for these key signs.

What burnout looks like:

  • Working more overtime hours than usual
  • Unexplained absences from work
  • Showing up to work late/leaving early
  • Decrease in productivity and quality of work
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Less socialising and more isolation than usual
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help reduce the chances of your employees facing burnout.

1. Encourage staff to take all their holiday

Recent research shows that staff who do not take all their annual leave are more likely to call in sick simply because they need a rest. For a number of reasons, employees can feel guilty or unable to use up their whole allotted annual leave allowances.

Make sure you stay on top of annual leave trends so you can spot when someone is allowing theirs to build up. Be purposeful in creating a culture where taking a break is actively encouraged. And lead by example. Make sure you’re using up all your annual leave also.

burnout 4 tips to extinguish

Make sure that staff are not able to be contacted while on holiday encouraging them to unplug and switch off completely.

We've created an HR software system to help manage holiday leave requests and track employee absence trends. Check out our part-time and full-time employee holiday calculators and ensure that your team protects themselves against burnout by taking the appropriate amount of holiday throughout the year. 

2. Promote a healthy work/life balance

This actually starts top down. If your staff see their leader, working all hours of the day and always switched on, then they’re going to think you expect the same from them. This can very quickly lead to burnout.

If your employees spend too much time working and not enough living, the balance quickly tips, resulting in unhealthy behaviours and performance. 

  • Remaining flexible with your employee's working hours and locations is a great place to start. We've found that you can avoid certain stressors and improve productivity, trust and employee engagement by allowing staff to work from home when needed. This is useful when public transport expects severe delays, strikes or closures, as well as providing an alternative option for when life/ childcare etc gets in the way of our normal working routine. 
  • Our MFAW training reinforces this and encourages workplaces to allow staff time to work at home if they're experiencing mental health issues or are currently taking medication that affects their circadian rhythm and sleep routine

Regular breaks and a decent lunch hour will also go a long way to avoiding staff burnout.

3. Allow creativity

Providing an area or activities to trigger your people's creative spirit is another top tip to ward against burnout. Creativity is linked to improved productivity and provides a great outlet for reducing stress.  4 tips to extinguish burnout. Creativity is like a child. If you want creative people in your organisation you have to give them time to play..jpg
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Set time into the week for each employee to work on a more creative project. Or, welcome ideas for creative working from your team. Would they like to try an activity, lunch and learn or set-up a walking meeting? Open the discussion up to your team, chances are, they'll come up with some cracking ideas - which, if you've worked on your company culture could link very neatly to your core values. 

Get creative to motivate and support employee health and wellbeing.

4. Give praise

If your employees are engaged with their work, they will be a lot less likely to burn out. One of the best ways to increase engagement is to give recognition and praise for the good work they’ve done. If this is encouraged across your organisation, then you will start to see peer-to-peer praise which is great for morale.

"Feeling appreciated is a basic human need. Without any type of reward in place, employees are likely to feel that they are working for a paycheck and nothing more. The lack of appreciation leads to disengagement and the feeling of 'going through the motions' rather than working for an internal reward or passion. Simply recognizing [employees] for a job well done will go a long way in preventing burnout."
Forbes

By giving your employees regular, constructive feedback, you can motivate them to keep striving to do good work. It’s also stimulating to let your employees know exactly what they need to do in order to reach the next target. Which keeps them engaged in their role. Our Kudos feature works a treat here. 

Feedback, both negative and positive, confirms to the employee that what they are doing matters. It is important for them to know their contribution is valued, not just by their direct manager but that it plays a part in the wider success of the business.

Breathe solves this issue by helping to organise and automate performance reviews, objectives and one-to-one feedback. Managers can quickly navigate to the employee's dashboard, which provides an up-to-date overview of each employee's status, including sickness trends and holiday allowances

burnout how to avoid 4 tips to extinguish burnout Breathe

Working with the impression that what you're doing isn’t worthwhile or valuable will be a big driving in causing employees to burn out. So it’s important to feedback regularly and give praise to avoid your employees burning out.

Avoiding employee burnout is crucial to the success of a business. As a manager of people, it’s important to recognise the strong connection between work and life's pressures and the impact it can have on health.

With an always on working culture we are prone to burnout now more than ever. Make sure you're doing all you can to avoid employee burnout by implementing the above tips and strive to maintain a happy, healthy team.

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