Burnout is a topic that has been doing the rounds on social media recently, particularly after Social Chain’s MD Katy Leeson has been discussing how burnout should not be ‘glamorised’. She has even put together a podcast on the topic after one of her LinkedIn posts went viral. With the introduction of working from home this year, the line between work-life balance has become even more blurred.
Burnout isn’t the only problem
Whilst burnout is a big issue in the workplace, what is more worrying is that employees are afraid to speak up about it to their HR department. Over 80% of employees are not getting the support they need in order to cope with burnout and work-related stress. These figures were calculated pre-pandemic too, so you can imagine how much they have increased since then. Mental health has been a big talking point during the past 6 months, and it has highlighted just how many people are suffering from poor mental health during the pandemic.
Why things need to change
Stress is a major concern within the world of business, with over 42% of workers saying their stress levels currently high or very high. Some of the factors that induce stress are: personal finances, current events (including COVID-19), the economy, concerns over the health of loved ones, and job responsibilities.
You may have noticed that within the list, only one of those stress factors is actually job related, so why should employers care? Mental health and work are so intertwined, that employees will not be performing at their best if they are suffering with their mental health. A drop in performance is likely, as well as a loss of motivation.
How businesses can help
There are lots of small ways in which businesses can support their staff and any mental health problems. The main solution is to provide flexibility for employees – allowing them to work at times which suit them and their lifestyle, rather than enforcing the traditional 9-5. Many businesses are also introducing ‘mental health days’ where staff are able to take a day off at short notice, without having to justify why. Access to health insurance as an employee benefit can also be a great way to show your employees that their health is important.
Warning signs of burnout
Burnout can be hard to identify, and is easily mixed up with stress. Here are some of the main warning signs that you may be suffering from burnout:
- A continuous negative attitude and lack of motivation
- Dreading work, and having very little interest in it
- Being easily irritated by those who are close to you
- Emotionally disconnecting from both your work and/or colleagues
- Looking at other jobs, and wanting to leave your current role.
How to avoid burnout
Now we have looked into detail about what burnout is and how there are more people suffering from it than you may realise, here are some solutions to help prevent burnout entirely.
1. Keep your mind and body healthy
Exercise is a great natural stress reliever and can not only help with physical health, but our emotional health too. It isn’t about spending hours at the gym (when they finally re-open), but more about making the most of getting out into the fresh air. Find something that you enjoy doing, and stick with it.
2. Set boundaries
It can be very easy to work longer hours when at home, as you don’t have the physical notion of getting up and leaving the office after a long day at work. Working from home means it is easier for your laptop to creep onto your lap while you are watching TV in the evening. However, this can lead to overwork and burnout. It is important to set clear work boundaries in your home. Having a separate room for your office is a great idea as you can literally shut the door after working for the day, and not return until the next day.
3. Get some sleep
Sleep is highly underrated, but there is a direct link between lack of sleep and stress. Stress can make it harder for you to sleep, particularly if your brain can’t shut off at the end of the day. Then not getting enough sleep can make your stress worse, so it is a vicious cycle! The best thing to do is to avoid caffeine (as this will just keep you wired for longer). Try not to look at any screens before you go to bed as well, allowing your brain and eyes to wind down for the night.
4. Don’t make work your life
Believe it or not, there are other things to do outside of work. Work doesn’t have to be the only thing in your life. Make sure that you make time for those around you, and engage in activities that you enjoy (COVID-dependant of course!). By taking time away from your desk you will find that your productivity will automatically increase.
5. Talk to other people
Working from home can be isolating for many of us, so it is important to stay connected with the outside world. If you can, attend regular Zoom calls with others who you work with so that you can try and keep that office morale going. Alternatively, keep in touch with your family and see how they are doing. They could well be feeling lonely too, and having someone to talk to is really important.
We hope you have found this article useful, if you have any other tips on how to prevent burnout we would love to hear them – contact us today.