How to counteract burnout

It’s Friday. You’ve had a long week and the weekend doesn’t feel long enough to recuperate. It’s a common feeling, but how can you spot the signs that your exhaustion is something more serious?

An article in the latest edition of Hays Journal highlights the warning signs of office burnout. They include:

  • Becoming cynical or critical at work;
  • Lacking the energy to be consistently productive at work;
  • Lacking satisfaction from achievements;
  • Feeling unmotivated at work;
  • A change in sleep habits or appetite;
  • Unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical complaints.

The article also offers the following ideas for organisations to help counteract burnout:

  • Output over hours: It is quality not quantity that counts. Make staff aware that it is their output not physical or virtual presenteeism that delivers results;
  • Assess overtime: If it is abnormally high, is it time to recruit an additional team member?
  • Downtime: Ensure employees working flexibly take their full annual leave entitlement;
  • Review your culture: It should support wellbeing, including mental and physical health;
  • Email-free hours: Consider a policy regarding reading and sending emails outside standard business hours. For instance, Volkswagen famously set its servers not to forward on emails to employees out of working hours, while in France workers have the right to disconnect from work, with companies of more than 50 staff having to draw up a charter outlining the hours when staff are not supposed to send or answer emails;
  • Set hours: Ensure employees working flexibly set clear times when they are not working;
  • Train line managers: Help them learn to spot the signs of stress or burnout in their team/s;
  • Access to support: What employee assistance programmes and support services are available to employees who are experiencing burnout?

 



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