How to Prevent Burnout at Work

How to Recognize and Prevent Work Burnout - Beflo

What is Burnout?

Work burnout is a state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion resulting from extensive time spent on the job or involved in emotionally toxic workplace situations. This can lead to workplace stress and negatively impact the employee experience. To mitigate this, it's important for organizations to prioritize workplace wellness and address employee stress. Burnout, also known as emotional exhaustion, is defined as excessive frustration or tiredness stemming from workplace stressors such as workloads. It can greatly impact an employee's overall life balance and employee experience.

The combination of emotional exhaustion and employee burnout has the potential to be defeating in the workplace. The challenges of workplace burnout can lead to disillusionment and fatigue. Even if you work 30-40 hours per week, workplace burnout and employee stress can still occur, especially if you also have additional obligations outside of work.

Prioritizing employee experience is crucial to prevent employee burnout. Although employee stress and burnout can be prevented and mitigated with timely periods of rest, there is still the underlying issue of disillusionment in the work environment. 

In some cases, it is prudent for workplace managers to meet with a psychologist to address cynicism toward work and life in general, ultimately preventing debilitating disillusionment and burnout among engaged employees' wellbeing. If you fail to address stressors in the work environment, burnout is much more likely to occur due to workplace risk.

Managers should take steps to mitigate these stressors. In the workplace, engaged employees who are overstressed in addition to working long hours tend to experience burnout when they reach the point at which they feel as though their job has little-to-no meaning. This can be a challenge for managers. Such a state of wellbeing, often referred to by conflict theorists as “alienation”, can lead to anomie and burnout in the work environment. It is important to prioritize the engagement and satisfaction of people in order to prevent these negative outcomes. 

Even something as simple as losing a supervisor at work, being forced to change workplace roles, or taking on additional responsibilities can trigger employee burnout and alienation among employees.

Job changes and additional responsibilities can be particularly challenging for managers. When faced with workplace burnout and the risk of employee burnout, most people begrudgingly trudge forth without fully engaging with their job, paving a path toward cynicism, excessive fatigue, and a reduction in performance.

Signs of Work Burnout

woman working burnout

Job burnout can manifest in several ways among employees, affecting their performance, wellbeing, and job satisfaction. It can be observed behaviorally, emotionally, or physically. Take the time to read through the signs of work burnout and you’ll be empowered to recognize burnout in yourself, your employees, job, wellbeing, managers, as well as your family, friends, coworkers, and others. 

Above all, recognize that fatigue on its own or a general feeling of being overwhelmed does not qualify as burnout. It is important to prioritize wellbeing in the work environment to ensure optimal job performance. Everyone experiences fatigue and stress resulting from work.

Serious problems arise when excessive fatigue affects job performance and lasts, leading to self-destruction and total burnout in the work environment for employees.

Examples of the most common signs of work burnout include the following:

  • Constantly thinking about quitting work
  • Thinking about work in a negative manner
  • Dreading work
  • Desire to cut out early from work
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Decline in energy
  • Feeling empty inside
  • Easily irritable
  • Shifting blame to others
  • Feeling unappreciated for hard work
  • Taking too many sick days or personal time off to avoid work
  • Increase in frequency of headaches
  • Generally disconnecting from work, coworkers, and clients
  • Feelings of alienation and anomie

If you experience a couple or most of the signs of burnout in your work environment listed above on a regular basis, there might be a problem with the performance of employees and managers. However, if you only occasionally experience workplace burnout or employee burnout, you might be experiencing perfectly normal stress that can impact your well-being and performance. Stress is typically brief while burnout lasts longer.

Burnout, experienced by employees, has the potential to last indefinitely while normal stress, managed by managers, dissipates in due time.

Causes of Work Burnout

Person working at keyboard

Let’s shift our focus to what matters most in the context of work burnout: the why of the situation for managers and employees. Identifying the causes of work burnout for managers and employees sets the stage for action and the eventual elimination of those causes for heightened productivity and happiness. Overworking employees is one of the most common causes of burnout among managers. Employees are experiencing burnout as they take on more work, while managers struggle to address the issue. Wages and salaries have decreased in purchasing power, adding to the stress faced by employees. 

Aside from overwork, burnout can also result from:

  • Working with dysfunctional coworkers
  • Insufficient support from supervisors
  • A litany of other causes unique to individual situations

Contrary to popular belief, burnout can occur among employees while working from home and also among managers in traditional settings such as an office cubicle. 

Work burnout can also be the result of minimal or non-existent autonomy for managers and employees, meaning insufficient control over workflow and work responsibilities. Excessive micromanagement from managers and over-controlling bosses creates stress and frustration for employees, leading to work burnout.

Though it might be surprising, some employees and managers experience burnout as a result of their personal values misaligning with those of their employer. Even the expectations of the managers, in terms of action related to work that fails to align with the expectations of the employees, create stress and burnout. However, more often than not, the primary cause of work burnout for employees is a hefty workload that should be handled by several managers as opposed to a single individual.

How to Deal with Burnout at Work

Managers and employees have the personal agency necessary to proactively address work burnout and eliminate it. If you know or suspect you, as a manager or employee, are on the cusp of work burnout or already mired in it, be proactive by nipping the problem in the bud. Here’s a quick look at how employees and managers can deal with burnout at work.

Maintain an Open Line of Communication with Your Supervisor and Coworkers. 

Be honest with your employees and managers about your stress and fatigue resulting from work. Though it might seem challenging, it is in the interest of employees and managers to engage with their work. Find ways for employees to add purpose to their job, be it through a shifting of responsibilities or forging new or deeper connections with colleagues or clients and managers won’t dread work nearly as much. Take one or several mental health days to cleanse your mind, refresh your energy and build momentum for a more productive future. This applies to both employees and managers.

Implement a Self-Care Routine

If the stress and fatigue experienced by managers and employees is not reduced by the solutions recommended above, it is advisable to invest some time in studying stress management techniques. A self-care routine after work, taking more frequent breaks during the workday or even spending more time in nature will reduce stress for managers and employees. This balance between indoor and outdoor time helps avoid work burnout. Even something as subtle as learning breathing techniques, which can greatly reduce stress for both employees and managers, is characterized by deep repetitive breaths.

Implementing Boundaries

Don’t be afraid to say “No” to requests from supervisors, colleagues, and clients, especially when those requests do not fall under the umbrella of your job description. If you are unqualified or incapable of fulfilling such requests, be honest and you’ll feel less stressed when working.

Incorporate Movement Throughout The Day

Woman standing by stand desk

Preventing work burnout is often as easy as getting up from your desk. Resist the temptation to sit still all day at a traditional desk. Add the Tenon Adjustable Desk to your home office and you’ll have the freedom to sit or stand whenever desired. Standing while working improves blood flow, lifts the spirit, and eases back strain. A more limber back combined with an increase in blood flow to the brain benefits the mind, body, and spirit. The Tenon Desk is widely revered as the first modular smart desk that enables people to sit or stand when working. The Tenon desk features:

  • Power and USB outlets
  • A companion app
  • A touch screen and more

Take time to transition from your Tenon Desk to the outdoors for at least one 15-minute walk per workday and you’ll be invigorated all the more.

Remove Clutter From Your View

Clutter free workspace

In addition to the Tenon Desk, several other Beflo home office products will help you work productively in your home office, spare room, alcove, or other space. The Basalt Tenon Desk Monitor Stand allows you to mount your computer monitor so it stands directly to the frame of your desk while passing straight through the surface for a sleek minimalism that maximizes your space and reduces clutter. The HDMI and power cables pass through the monitor arm body directly to the Pebble Pro docking station, guaranteeing the cables do not get in your way or create a visual distraction. The end result is a neat and clean desk that keeps your focus on work and minimizes your stress.

Add the Slat Laptop Stand to your home office and you'll quickly agree it is the missing piece to the puzzle that is your home desk and home workspace. The Slant is adjustable in terms of angle and height. This nifty laptop stand even rotates a full 360 degrees, serving as the optimal solution for those seeking a fully customized desk setup at home. The stand lifts your laptop upwards of 17 inches high, empowering you to use the laptop when sitting or standing. Once you are done working, fold the laptop stand to conveniently store it and you'll enjoy a seamless transition the next time you return to work.

Additional Beflo home office products to help minimize stress include the Argil Cable Holder that hides unused cords and cables and the Lode Hanging Hook that slides into the side rail of the desk to hang headphones, bags, and other sundries for direct charging through the Tenon Desk's USB port. The Lode Hanging Hook is capable of holding more than 20 pounds of weight.

The handy Mica Wireless Charger slides directly into the desktop slot, allowing for easy recharging without interference from cords and cables. This Wireless Charger is designed for easy folding, making your workspace neat, clean, and tidy at all times. 

Reduce your stress with the Horizon Light Diffuser and your desk light will be directed toward you, illuminating your workspace to perfection. The Light Diffuser's press felt is soft to the touch and adds an artful element to your workspace. The best part is the Light Diffuser easily clips to your Tenon desk frame, making your home office that much more ambient and conducive to productivity.

Discover Flow with Beflo

Beflo Tenon workspace

Beflo has your home office needs covered. We take pride in helping hardworking people avoid work burnout. If you work from home or a shared workspace, you will greatly benefit from our product line. Check out our home office product inventory, add these home office solutions to your workspace and you’ll start to look forward to the time you spend working.

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