Going from passionate and hardworking to burned out can happen quickly. Research shows that burned out employees are unengaged and less healthy. According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS), job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults — and it has escalated progressively over the past few decades. The AIS also reports that workplace stress carries a price tag to U.S. industry of more than $300 billion each year for costs that include accidents, employee turnover, diminished productivity, missed work, and direct medical, legal and insurance expenses.
Employees experience stress in different ways, but business.com says those most likely to burn out quickly are over-achievers, perfectionists and pessimists. Studies by Stress.org report the No. 1 cause of workplace stress is workload, followed by people issues, juggling work and personal life and lack of job security.
Managers may be tempted to demote or even fire a burned-out employee, but that’s not necessarily the best route to take. Turnover can be expensive, and that employee’s workload will just be transferred to someone else. If you’re starting to notice burnout in someone or want to avoid it altogether, here are five actions you can take now.
In an ideal world, you would have a conversation with an employee before he gets burned out, but no workplace is perfect. Schedule a meeting with him and listen to what he has to say so that you can find a solution together.
Burnout can sometimes come from antiquated equipment, systems or processes. You may be able to make an employee’s job much easier by getting her a new computer, software program or coming up with a workflow process that streamlines her job duties.
Think about the times you’ve been frustrated at work. Was it because you perceived something to be unfair? Maybe someone else got the promotion, pay raise or recognition. Employees don’t always have the courage to ask for what they need, but management can practice policies of fairness and recognize all employees equally. A simple “thank you” or holiday bonus can go a long way.
Bored employees can get burned out just as easily as overworked ones. Dale Carnegie’s tips for empowering employees include giving them the responsibility to make decisions, offering clear opportunities for advancement, assigning different types of tasks and giving them praise.
Workplaces with a fun environment or company culture will ensure employees enjoy coming into the office each day. Consider stocking the refrigerator with healthy snacks, providing lunch on Fridays or the option of a flexible work schedule. Happy employees are much less likely to burn out.
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