What is Employee Burnout?

Employee burnout is a situation where employees feel extremely physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted whether briefly or for a prolonged period. Signs of burnout include the feeling of emptiness, frustration and irritation. 

What is the cause of Employee Burnout?

There is no singular cause of employee burnout, it often occurs as a result of a build-up of different reasonings over time. Reasons behind Employee Burnout include:

Workload & Pressure

Jobs with an overwhelming workload with a certain timeframe can create a burdening amount of pressure on employees. Employees may overwork their limits in order to meet set targets and in turn, burn themselves out. 

Unfair Treatment

Unfair treatment includes bias, favouritism, mistreatment, unjust policies, which can negatively affect workplace relations and have a significant psychological impact on employees. Unfair treatment often leads to a lack of satisfaction at work while employees are succumbing to burnout, resulting in an increase in employee absenteeism.

Lack of Communication & Support from Employer

If employees were to recognise themselves struggling with their workload, stress levels or burnout in general, it would be essential for them to have someone within the organisation to communicate with openly. If employees have a minimalist relationship with their employer, they will likely keep their problems to themselves and fall into a burnout spiral.

Lack of Role Clarity

If an employee is given a role that involves vague and unclear tasks without consistent communication from their employer, they will find themselves disengaged and unproductive if they are unaware of what their role entails and where their input goes within the organisation. 

What is the result of Employee Burnout?

High levels of employee burnout within an organisation can lead to negative consequences for employers and personal problems for employees. 

Employee burnout can lead to increased levels of employee absenteeism, employee turnover, disengagement and poor workplace morale/environment. For employers, these can be counterproductive, costly and time-consuming factors to deal with. Additionally, employee burnout can cause employees to disassociate themselves from the workplace and colleagues and the growing job dissatisfaction can cause them the inability to perform their job to an acceptable standard.

How can Employers help with Employee Burnout?

In order to avoid widespread employee burnout within the workplace, employers should attempt to implement the following policies:

  • Promote a Healthy Work Schedule

Employers should ensure that no employees unnecessarily work past their required working hours and encourage employees to take breaks during the working day to converse with their colleagues.

  • Maintain Consistent, Open Communication with Employees

Employers should maintain an open-door policy to  make their employees comfortable with approaching them about any problems they may have that are affecting their work. 

  • Implement a Mental Health Policy

Within an Employee Handbook, employers should implement a mental health policy that states the procedures for when an employee requires mental health support from the organisation, regarding any absence from work. 

  • Be Clear about Job Responsibilities & Tasks

When an employee begins their employment with the organisation, employers should be clear from the outset about the job responsibilities and the level of performance that is required. In line with having consistent communication, employers should check-in regularly with the employee to ensure the job role is working from both sides

  • Organisation-wide Burnout Workshops 

Employers could organise burnout workshops for employees to learn and understand the signs of burnout and how to cope with it.