Employee Wellbeing

When the Candle Burns at Both Ends, Nobody Wins: Don’t Let Your Employees Fall Victim to Burnout

January 12, 2023

Are you falling asleep at work? Have your managers been pushing too much work onto your already hefty plate? Is everything just getting too much to handle? If the answer is yes, know that you are definitely not in this alone. Many employees are being pushed to the edge without proper compensation, and it is taking a toll on them. The toll of this heavy workload is a worldwide phenomenon called burnout.

What is Employee Burnout?

If you have been working and found yourself suffering from feelings of cynicism, negative feelings towards your job, lack of energy and exhaustion, or unproductivity, then you may have a WHO-declared syndrome called burnout. As of January 2022, the WHO declared burnout as a syndrome after taking the prior two years performing a study by the Rand Corp, Harvard Medical School, and the University of California, Los Angeles on 3000 U.S. workers

When you experience burnout, your mental wellbeing is threatened. Employees are finding it harder and harder to keep up with the growing expectations of businesses that treat them as mere tools and not humans. Burnout came as a byproduct of the stress that the Covid Pandemic introduced in 2020, which also brought employees' mental health in general into the spotlight.

If you are feeling like you are suffering from burnout, you're not the only one. According to a study by Gallup, 23% of employees reported feeling burnt out often. Burnout can not only lead you to feeling fatigued or exhausted all the time but can also exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety alongside other mental illnesses.

Let’s face it: Having a job to go to every day that you don’t like and don’t feel like makes a change anywhere in the world can take a toll on anyone. Having existing mental health issues also does not do anyone any favors when you add more fire to the flame of this mental health disaster of a bonfire. Not only can burnout damage one’s life outside of work, but the inside effects can also be disastrous. According to Forbes, people who experience burnout have lower morale, are less engaged, make more mistakes, and miscommunicate more often.

Now, you might be wondering: burnout only affects employees so why should you care if they are feeling unwell? Well, the effects of burnout are not one-sided; it also impacts the health of the entire organization. To put this into numbers, the American Psychological Association says that workplace stress is estimated to cost the US economy money in so many different aspects. In other words, having burnt-out employees can lead to worse service toward clients, increased absenteeism, and higher rates of turnover, all of which can adversely impact your business.

Is Burnout Common Among Modern-Day Employees?

As discussed above, burnout is not a small issue. It is universal; meaning, it could affect a coworker or manager that you think has it all together, and there are many stats that back this up. It can start as early as 16, all the way to senior citizens still working well into their 80s. Millennials now make up the general workforce and so it would also make sense that 3 out of 10 Millennials are feeling that they are burnt out according to a survey held by Gallup, asking the question to 7500 full-time U.S. employees. 

What causes all the duress that these workers are feeling? Some things need to change in the workplace to keep employees feeling healthy and happy. Some of the common causes of burnout in employees include:

1. Excessive Workload 

One of the biggest points of contention is the workload that most employees face daily. We have all had days where we feel like there is too much on our plates to handle. Overworking an employee can cause weight loss, body pain, exhaustion, higher levels of cortisol, and sleep loss. Yet refusing to “put in the effort” to carry extra workloads given to employees could result in withstanding promotions or raises and could even result in punishment for not showing initiative. And even so, that is not to say some employers and even fellow employees may judge them in an unprofessional manner. 

2. Micromanagement

Another major cause is the lack of choice or autonomy that employees may feel they have with their employer. Micromanagement will fill employees with dread and anxiety and they will be unable to perform their duties without feeling as though they are heavily criticized for every action they take. If you have ever had helicopter parents, then you surely must understand how aggravating it can be to constantly have someone over your shoulder.

3. Lack of Reward 

What employees also lack is proper recognition or reward for the work that they are doing. While a pizza day or occasional food to the office is great, how about actually paying them for what they are worth, even less, how about paying them a living? 

In the U.S. the minimum wage is still at $7.25 in most states, whereas the unofficial minimum you are starting to see is around the $15 mark, which is given by most retail shops and fast food places like Taco Bell or Dominos. The minimum wage is not nearly enough to live comfortably or rent comfortably anywhere in the US, yet it has not changed in about 12 years. How are workers supposed to feel rewarded when the minimum wage was worth more back in 2009 than now due to inflation? 

4. Workplace Culture

The wellbeing of a select group of employees is not the only thing an employer needs to pay attention to but all of them. The entire team needs to get along or else the workplace can fall apart. Giving people spaces where they can talk freely without judgment is a necessity in order for workplace relationships to thrive and be built. 

Workplace relations can make or break whether an employee feels fit for the job they are working. Having a toxic workplace is a big factor on whether an employee wants to stay with the company and work with the other employees. No one wants to feel like they are walking on eggshells when they’re talking to a certain coworker or manager. 

Another factor is employee favoritism and unfair treatment or compensation. Such factors as discrimination due to race, color, gender, and sexual orientation can cause burnout if employees are feeling they are being discriminated against. 

5. Company Values

 The misalignment of one’s own values with the company may be another reason for burnout. If you have worked for a company that takes complete care of its customers yet disregards its employees, that frustration can have a negative impact. If a company can’t even live up to its own values, why would anyone want to keep working there? 

All of these are possible causes of burnout and yet many employers take insignificant steps or none at all to help employees combat burnout.

Recommended Reading: Going Remote? These 4 Tips Will Help Manage Your Team

The Hidden Cost of Burnout

The thing about burnout is that it affects everyone within the organization, from the ground all the way to the top floor. As stated before, employee burnout skyrockets the cost of healthcare and puts a strain on a business’s financials as well. 

According to Forbes, burnt-out employees can start to get disengaged with their work and can cost employers, not just money but time as well.

Due to burnt-out employees being more likely to find another job, the turnover rates also start to escalate, and training new employees can be a time-consuming and cost-intensive process. To sum up the costs, they are as follows:

  • The healthcare costs are way too significant to be overlooked; they are between $125 to $190 billion each year
  • Burnt-out employees are 60% more likely to take sick days
  • Employees are 2.5 times more likely to seek a new job
  • Such employees have lower confidence in their performance and are less likely to speak with their manager about it
  • It can cost CEOs 34% of their salary
  • An estimated 1$ trillion dollars is lost in productivity each year
  • Roughly 550 million work days are lost yearly

So, what can we do to make sure that burnout doesn’t happen to workers around the world? The following should be able to help with that.

Recommended Reading: Employee Burnout: Here is How Effective Resource Planning Can Help

Steps to Combat Burnout

1.Managing the exhaustion of your employees

Talk to your employees and help them by either fixing their schedule to suit their life a bit more or having a 1-on-1 conversation about their priorities and lifting the extra workload that can be done later on different dates.

2. Keep their goals up to date during performance meetings

It is always healthy to be up to date with your employees and provide constructive feedback on their overall performance. Your 1-on-1 sessions should focus on improving work life for employees, whether that is reconnecting with an employee and asking how life is beyond work, to re-establishing what their goals are within the company. Keeping up with what their goals have been and whether they have the right tools to reach them is a healthy way of managing the needs of your employees. In addition, make sure you are transparent with their performance goals so that there is no discrepancy in evaluation when you sit down with them again in the next performance meeting.

3. Putting the culture of wellbeing as your first priority

When the priority of your workplace culture is wellbeing and mental health awareness, it gives out the message that the organization values employees. It shows that they care about their workers’ needs and thus the culture shifts tones to a more team-based workplace where if one worker needs support, there are multiple resources for them, and they do not feel guilt or shame for having a burnout. Instead, they have an array of options to help combat and prevent it in the future.

Here is a Reddit post by a licensed therapist talking about burnout and more ways to recover from it.

Mental health in general needs to be focused on more in the workplace because, without happy workers, businesses will end up with bad products or services. One of the best ways to deal with burnout is by simply evaluating their daily performance and productivity behavior while ensuring their daily needs are met, eventually making them more productive.

As such, if you are looking to evaluate employee performance and behavior to avoid burnout, give timegram a shot. It is a complete time tracking and productivity management solution that enables managers to see employee performance accurately without invading their privacy.

Check out the list of features to know how timegram can help boost productivity. Or take it out for a spin by using the product completely for free!

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Ali Rizvi

About the author

Ali Rizvi is a long-time writer who loves to write for the people. He loves songwriting, writing fiction, poetry, and whatever else is on his mind. He also enjoys art like video games, music, books, and more.

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