What is workplace burnout? Why is it dangerous? How does it manifest? And how can you prevent workplace burnout and manage stress effectively? Find out here.
Burnout is the state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. Burnout is caused by prolonged and excessive stress. Symptomology of burnout includes exhaustion, extended fatigue, lower concentration levels, attention deficits, reduced performance levels and struggles with initiative and imagination. Individuals who are struggling to cope with workplace stress are the most at risk of burnout.
Different sources will give you different interpretations of burnout. The most commonly accepted amount of stages are 5 and 12. Let’s go through them quickly.
Recently, Calmer adopted and adapted a model of burnout devised by Bob Veninga and Jim Spradley. Here are the five stages they outlined:
The honeymoon phase is characterized by high job satisfaction, energy, commitment, and creativity. The pertinent point here is the choice of coping strategies when the inevitable stressors of one’s job become apparent. If the coping patterns are effective and positive then burnout should be avoided. If however, these strategies are not enacted, then burnout is a possibility.
The second stage of burnout begins when stress begins to become apparent. Not every day, but some. It is the awareness of stress on different days which signifies the onset of stress.
This is the experience of stress on a daily basis. Signified by a marked continuous change in stress and motivation levels.
This stage, symptomology becomes more critical. Habitual Burnout - The symptomology of burnout is so ingrained in an individual’s life, they are more likely to be labeled with habitual burnout.
The symptomology of burnout is so ingrained in an individual’s life, they are more likely to be labeled with habitual burnout.
The 12 stage model of burnout was developed by psychologists Herbert Freudenberger and Gail North. Here are the stages they outlined:
A desire to continuously demonstrate individual worth.
Inability to leave work at home.
Neglecting basic needs i.e eating properly or getting enough sleep.
Dismissing problems that may threaten us.
Values that were previously important are changed to fit a work focus.
Intolerance to problems which if not dealt with, will manifest.
Stress relievers are dismissed, i.e. social life, etc.
Irregular changes in behavior.
Seeing oneself and others as unimportant.
Feeling empty inside.
A vast topic, generally defined as severe despondency and dejection
Mental, physical and emotional exhaustion.
Experiencing work overload on a daily basis isn’t nice, and it certainly isn’t healthy. Perhaps a job analysis will help you to quell this overload. Job analysis is the culmination of techniques used to determine the content of a job. The content of a job includes the roles, activities, attributes, and requirements. A job analysis will help clarify what your remit is. What is expected and what is not. Helping ease the work overload you are experiencing.
Exercise is an excellent stress reliever, helps to create a sense of well being and is an excellent way to get your mind of work and the focus on you. Making sleep, exercise and rest a regular part of your working life plays an important role in avoiding burnout and staying healthy. Exercise results in increased energy, productivity, and creativity. Exercise helps you to get a good night’s sleep. When can you get some exercise in? At work, at lunch, after work?
Why not face stress head-on? Using stress management tactics to reduce stress immediately or to prevent it from affecting you. So, what strategies can you use? The NHS recommend these tactics for dealing with stress:
One of the best ways to avoid burnout is to have a focus on mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation involving silent relaxation, listening to your thoughts and focusing attention on you. Plenty of apps have now been created to help you along your way, including: Headspace and Calm.
Employers can develop a workplace recovery plan to help support employees who may be experiencing burnout. You may wish to integrate accommodation strategies into your workplace recovery plan. You can find such strategies here.
Usually, an accompanying factor of burnout is the inability to leave work in the office and on time. Make sure to keep to your work hours, schedule breaks during the day.
Workplace burnout is dangerous and unwanted. Use these strategies to help prevent burnout and manage stress. Use one or all of these strategies and see which are effective for you.