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Burnout and the facts

Burnout is a not a medical diagnosis.

It is a syndrome that results from chronic or unrelenting workplace stress that has not been successfully managed and occurs in about one fifth of the population.

It usually comes from experience in the workplace, indicating there are problems within the organisational culture.

Despite the fact that burnout could occur in any worker, the occupational groups frequently subjected to elevated or prolonged levels of stress who are at increased risk of burnout include;

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Social workers
  • Teachers
  • Police officers

Symptoms of Burnout

Individuals suffering burnout could experience any of the following;

  • Physical and mental exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from their work
  • Negative feelings towards their job and poor work performance

In addition, they may have ideas of suicide, want to leave the job, experience self-doubt, and physical symptoms such as headaches and/or musculoskeletal pain

The psychosocial factors linked to burnout include;

  • Lack of autonomy or role clarity
  • Unclear or unrealistic job expectations (including both time pressures and workload)
  • Monotonous or chaotic work
  • Lack of managerial support and a poor work/life balance

Consequences of Job Burnout

The consequences of burnout can be devastating to a worker’s long term physical and mental health, and for the workplace it can lead to loss of productivity, high turnover, higher absenteeism, and increased risk of errors.

How to Overcome Burnout for Employees

For workers there are habits and routines that can be established to protect them from developing burnout in the future.

Some suggestions include:

  • Know your limits – Be realistic about what you can achieve in a given work day
  • Manage workload – If you workload becomes excessive have a conversation with your supervisor to shift deadlines or to share out some of the work
  • Time management – Planning your activities to allow for sufficient time to complete the task
  • Regular breaks – Take rest breaks away from your desk and do not slip into regular habits like working through lunch and eating at your desk
  • Communication – Have open and frank discussions with your staff when you are feeling stressed, work out ways to manage this
  • Healthy lifestyle- good nutrition, regular exercise and good sleep hygiene positively affect how you cope with stress

Also consider:

  • Communication
  • Staff needs
  • Aware of workloads and time pressures
  • Provide support
  • Workers need to understand what is expected of them
  • Ensure all tasks are clear and confirm that both parties expectations are the same/aligned.
  • Avoid repetitive and monotonous work where possible
  • Participate in decision making processes

At an individual level, encouraging staff can maintain a good state of physical and mental health through healthy lifestyle options

  • Regular exercise regime
  • Good nutritional diet
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Use of meditation apps

I hope this has helped, if you require any further information please contact Jo at joanne@chestnutassociates.co.uk