It’s been almost a year since the world has been in and out of lockdowns due to COVID-19 and everyone has experienced stress, to one degree or another, due to the pandemic. For many, work has changed; either with a layoff related to the pandemic and having to find a new job, or a change of their physical space and are now working remotely from home. The distraction of family members while working remotely, as well as the constant need to feel logged-on, has only exacerbated employee’s stress levels. Needless to say, it’s been a long year, and we still don’t know how much longer life (with some lockdown restrictions) will continue like this. All of this has led many feeling burnt out, or “over it”. If you’re wondering what exactly work burnout is, and what you can do about it, then read below for our take and suggestions…
What is burnout?
Harvard Business Review recently published an article in which they define burnout as “a syndrome of exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy”. They go on to say, “If someone is experiencing high rates of all three of these at work, that indicates they are burned out, while low rates of all three indicate they are engaged.” If this past year has left you feeling more overwhelmed and unable to handle the demands of work, it may very well be burnout. When stresses get built up and exasperated, burnout can occur and even if we can still function, we may not be functioning as optimally as we used to.
Ways to personally prevent and deal with burnout
Staying on top of your emotional and physical self-care can help you from reaching the point of feeling burnt out. If you are working around the clock and neglecting yourself and your physical and emotional needs, burning the candle at both ends so to speak, it won’t be long until you experience burnout. Here are some tips to prevent you from reaching that points…
If you’re working from home, it’s important to set clear and defined hours to your day and truly shut off at night. Have a ritual in place that marks the separation between your professional life and personal life. Maybe that’s a walk, a meditation, a bath, etc. Find what works for you.
Be open with your manager if you feel your workload is unrealistic and unattainable and discuss a strategy so you can complete your best work without having to put in a lot of overtime.
Be sure not to neglect your physical needs and make sure to set aside time to exercise, eat right, and have practices in place for stress relief.
Ways managers can prevent their teams from feeling burnout
If you’re a manager wondering what you can do to help your team during this time, it doesn’t have to be complicated. The simple act of acknowledging your employee’s work and appreciating their efforts can go a long way. At a time when many are still concerned with their job security, be open with your team about the future of the business and their roles. In the above-mentioned Harvard Business Review article they discuss the importance of honesty in the workplace between leaders and employees. Having open communication “in addition to reducing ambiguity and confusion, this conveys respect and support: ‘We care about you, and we need everybody’s help to get through this successfully.’ That sense of fairness, values, and social inclusion will go a long way toward preventing cynicism and inefficacy.”