Burnout @office — how to prevent?

“Burnout is a mix of three emotions: frustration, negativity and inefficiency.”

For the owners, protecting the team’s mental health in all of this is a very real responsibility. And with about a quarter of the EU population projected to require mental health assistance as a result of Covid-19, it is now more relevant than ever.

Burnout is rife in the workplace. 43 % of the sick days in the EU are going to burnout.

As entrepreneurs and executives, it can be hard to spot burnouts impacting our own teams, particularly when we’re out of office. When we recognise it, how are we going to support people who are struggling? And how are we going to create a workplace where it’s less likely to happen?

Identification of burnout

Burnout is a result of 3 emotions: frustration, negativity and inefficiency. Thoughts of negativity and inefficiency are what separates it from normal weakness or exhaustion. And it’s different from depression because it’s strictly work-related-you don’t burn out from interpersonal problems or life stressors, for example.

Identifying burnout as soon as possible is crucial, not least because chronic burnout can quickly develop into depression. The order in which the signs of burnout-exhaustivity, negativity, and inefficiency-are manifest will vary from person to person. However, negativity can also be the easiest thing to recognise at an early point.

The following training will help you recognise warning signals for your team members. Dream of the employee you’re thinking about, and ask yourself:

  • Do they feel more depressed, or are they regularly exhausted?
  • Will they appear to point out the worse of anything that exists or is suggested?
  • Were they easier than ever to blow down other people’s ideas?
    They’re giving away the impression that every job you’re giving them just seems like a burden?
  • Are they going to lose the ball at work because they normally don’t?
  • Are they generating less thoughts, or are they slower to respond?

If you replied yes to all of the above, it’s worth a more detailed stock-taking of the other signs of burnout.

First aid Burnout: time off

When you suspect somebody is burnt out, the first thing is to allow them time off work, right now. Think of this as the first burnout aid — we’ll talk of a longer-term recovery next.

Unfortunately, taking time off is always better said than done. As a manager, try to do what you can to dispel your fears by taking time off. That possibly involves setting a good example and taking your own leave.

Determine the root cause

When the team member is back at their desk (remote or not), it’s time to find out what caused them to burn in the first place.

Below are some common psychological explanations for this:
- Their priorities and objectives are truly unfeasible
- Their goalposts for progress keep going forward
- They don’t have the requisite autonomy
- They don’t feel like they are learning new things
- Rewards, appreciation and workload sound unevenly spaced
- Job culture sounds hostile or unfavorable.
- Their role criteria are not in line with their attitude and abilities
- Their work expectations are not in line with their beliefs and aspirations.

Burnout-proof of the office

In order to avoid burnout, it is crucial for workers to believe like they are making positive progress towards their cherished objectives. That’s not a small job, and it’s certainly not going to be done with an occasional training session or a day out.

JCash co-founder, fintech/blockchain expert. Interested in innovations in digital payments and AI technologies.