Employee burnout rates, especially for business leaders and managers, are at a high during this busy time of year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently recognised “burnout“ as a legitimate medical diagnosis, which originates in the workplace. Burnout is no longer a personal issue: it’s an organisational issue that must be addressed from the top down.
Burnout has a damaging effect on your business, its effect cascades through your company culture and your talent management, it sabotages workforce retention, incurs higher organisational system costs, decreases wellbeing, and lowers morale.
This work fatigue must be addressed at all levels of the organisation, as a leader and a role model for your team, it’s important to ensure that your day-to-day work does not affect any aspect of your overall health, be able to spot signs of burnout in your team and manage this accordingly.
Executive Burnout: The Warning Signs You’re about to Lose It
Executives and senior managers commonly suffer from burnout, it also can creep up on individuals, resulting in a problem that is often difficult to discuss.
Many high-performing executives pride themselves on their work ethic and are not willing to admit that they are working too hard, yet they often have stressful, high-production jobs.
Not only do leaders need to deal with time pressures, but they also need to manage different and often conflicting personalities at work. They may find that they have no one to talk to about their work and may begin to feel the isolation at the top, feel they have all the responsibility and feel that they need to shoulder all the blame.
Leaders should regularly self-check to determine whether they are experiencing a potential burnout, signs include the following:
- You no longer feel motivated. You may feel as though your work is pointless or that you’re caught in a loop. Even if you once took joy in certain projects, you find that you no longer do.
- You feel exhausted or emotionally numb. Burnout will follow you home. You may find yourself constantly too tired to enjoy hobbies or social activities, or you may find that you’re numb to your family and friends.
- You’re drained by social interactions when once you were energised. Some people naturally feel drained by social interactions. But feeling an unusual level of energy depletion is a sign of potential burnout.
- You lose your patience easily. If you find that even the small things are annoying you, it’s very possible that you’re burning out. When you get upset, consider whether you would have been upset over the same situation previously.
- You’re producing less. Are you completing fewer projects? Do you find yourself yielding less than successful results? One of the major issues with burnout is that it harms your production at work, which in turn leads to more stress, which in turn leads to greater levels of burnout.
- You can’t sleep at night. You may toss and turn at night or simply feel exhausted even when you get enough sleep. Burnout increases your stress and anxiety levels, which can lead to a lack of restful sleep.
If you experience the above issues, it’s possible that you’re suffering from a potential burnout. You may feel as though your job is no longer meaningful or pleasant, or you may find it difficult to care about the issues that you face day-to-day. Not only is that a problem for your business, but it can swiftly become an issue for you, your family and your career.
How Leaders Bounce Back: Recovering from Executive Burnout
Everyone will likely experience burnout from time to time, especially during busier times such as the ending of the financial year. The way to recover from executive burnout is to engage in self-care.
- Prioritise your health. While work is important, you can’t work if you aren’t well. You need to take time to take care of yourself, whether it’s relaxing with your family or taking the time off to enjoy hobbies that you love.
- Establish some boundaries. Burnout happens when work follows you everywhere, when it’s inescapable. Healthy boundaries include having “no work“ time, checking emails only at certain times of day, unplugging from your devices from time to time, and limiting the number of hours you work per week.
- Ask for help. It’s easier to recover from burnout if you have someone to talk to. From mental health professionals to other executive confidants, having someone to talk to will help alleviate some stress.
Burnout can be temporary, especially during particularly trying times, we need to be able to both recognise the signs of it and react to it. Otherwise, burnout will trickle down: an executive with burnout will put more pressure on their employees, who in turn will begin to suffer burnout on their own.
Tips to Protect Your Team from Employee Burnout
Your team is your responsibility, if your team is experiencing burnout, they won’t be neither motivated nor engaged yet it can be difficult to assess how an employee is personally feeling until the situation has evolved.
Here’s how you can protect your team from a burnout:
- Leave your door open. Open communication is important: employees should feel free to tell you when they are feeling stressed or when they feel like their current goals are unrealistic.
- Ensure that your employees are equipped to perform their best. Employees who feel as though they have been given unachievable tasks are the most likely to feel burned out, they want to perform well, but they need to be able to.
- Be clear on your expectations. Shifting expectations and deadlines can make employees feel as though they don’t know how to succeed in their current role, be clear and concise.
- Give them feedback. Employees want to know what they’re doing right and wrong, and they want to be recognised for the things they’re doing right. The more feedback you can give, the more they will feel that they have a firm handle on their position.
- Tie wellbeing into your workplace culture. Creating a workplace culture of health and wellbeing will lead employees to be more open to asking for help and more likely to recognise the signs of burnout in themselves.
Ultimately, employees will experience burnout if they are asked to give too much of themselves, if they are uncertain about their status within a business, or if they feel directionless and aimless. Addressing these issues and paying attention to employee health overall can help.
The Bullet-Proof Strategy to Keep Your Team Motivated for the Financial Year Ahead
Sometimes it can be hard for employees to take stress management advice from the leaders who directly manage their workload. It is often more effective to have a third-party help to run wellness workshops or programs.
Fun culture-building team challenges, educational workshops, or mental health programs can help. At Vitality Works, all our programs are based on behavioural change science and built on years of face-to-face experience complemented with the use of digital platforms, allowing employees to have their own personal experience as well as letting them unite and collaborate as a team.
Executive and employee burnout are only increasing in the workplace, it is now more important than ever to actively implement initiatives to mitigate burnout in all levels in the organisation and protect your business’s overall health.
It’s time to take action. Find out today what employee wellness program will give the best ROI for your business.