Updated: Nov 9
An important tip in maintaining a healthy workplace is to be able to manage burnout amongst employees by catching it early. Here are 5 early signs of employee burnout to keep an eye out for.
Burnout at the workplace is defined as a negative reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress and is characterised by three main aspects: exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of reduced professional ability.
According to Gallup, a renowned global analytics and advice firm, 23% of people in the workforce experience burnout very often or always, and an additional 44% feel burnt out sometimes. The study indicates that nearly two-thirds of employees are burnt out on the job.
Meanwhile, in a recent survey, Deloitte found that 77% of people had experienced burnout at their current job, while 69% felt their employers weren’t doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout.
Signs of Burnout
Here are the top 5 burnout signs to look out for in your employees.
1. Disinterest at Workplace
Employees who are experiencing burnout view their jobs as increasingly stressful and frustrating, growing more cynical about their working conditions and their daily tasks.
For example, you may find your staff or colleague becoming more apprehensive about taking on new tasks or display a reckless, “devil-may-care” attitude. These could be signs that the individual is no longer interested in their work as a result of burnout.
2. Alienation from Colleagues
Burnt out employees also tend to stay away from their peers at work, preferring to keep to themselves. If someone is suddenly exhausted all the time and skipping on social events, it could be a sign of burnout. They may also become quite cynical about their relationships with other colleagues or how they perceive themselves.
3. Reduced Performance
Individuals with burnout feel negatively about tasks and have difficulty concentrating. They may also experience a dip in their self-esteem which could lead them to believe that they are uncompetent, disliked, or unwanted.
This could manifest in behaviours such as taking multiple breaks in a day, turning in their work later than usual or having trouble focusing.
4. Physical Symptoms
Burnout can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches or intestinal issues. If you notice someone suddenly taking many sick leaves consecutively or complaining about ailments, consider speaking to them to find out the underlying reason.
5. Emotional Exhaustion
Burnout causes people to feel drained, unable to cope, and tired, without the energy to get things done. If someone suddenly appears dispirited or disengaged compared to how they usually are, it could be a sign of burnout. You may also notice them saying things like “I feel so lethargic” or “I have no energy to carry out any of my tasks”.
Effects of Employee Burnout
If left unaddressed, burnouts could cause serious impact on company morale and productivity as a whole. Although the term “burnout” may sound like there’s no turning back, the condition is in fact reversible. As a company, burnouts could be dealt with by making some changes to the work environment.
An honest discussion with the employee in question is a great place to understand the reason behind their burnout. It would also give a clearer picture of the solutions that the organisation could undertake moving forward to help employees better manage their stress.
It’s important to ensure that employees have easy access to professional and confidential mental health support at the workplace, where they feel safe to voice out their challenges.
We’re Here to Help
Build healthier and more resilient organisations with ThoughtFullChat’s bite-sized coaching and science-based tools. Our mental wellbeing programs curated for your employees will help foster a healthier and more productive workplace.
Our ThoughtFull Professionals are credentialed mental health professionals. Through the chat, the Professionals will assist you in a thought-provoking and creative process that will assist you in maximising the personal and professional potential areas of your employees. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free assessment and demo. Be sure to download our app on the App Store here and Google Play here.