Do’s and Dont's to help battle employee burnout
5 MIN. READ
BATTLING BURNOUT As the pandemic continues, burnout—defined as chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed—is becoming a bigger factor in overall mental health.1 In a recent survey, 75 percent of employees said they have experienced burnout at work, with 40 percent of them saying they’ve experienced it during the pandemic.2 On top of that, four in five employees say they feel emotionally drained from their work, an early sign of burnout.3 Battling burnout begins with understanding it’s not a self-care issue, but rather an organizational problem. Check out some do’s and don’ts that can help tackle burnout among your workforce. A FEW DO’S AND DON’TS DON’T Don’t attempt to tackle burnout with self-directed solutions alone, like wellness programs, mobile apps and EAPs, which are unlikely to address the root cause. DO Do recognize that battling burnout begins at the organizational level by changing aspects of company culture that contribute to burnout—like unrealistic work expectations, lack of support, insufficient rewards or benefits.4 DON’T Don’t treat burnout like it's caused by a single factor. DO Do provide solutions that address the multiple causes of burnout (unsustainable workload, perceived lack of control, insufficient rewards for effort, lack of a supportive community, lack of fairness, mismatched values and skills).5 DON’T Don’t foster a culture that rewards working excessively long hours. DO Do encourage productive employees to disconnect from their work when possible. Reward them with things like flexible work hours or PTO days for mental health.5, 6 DON’T Don’t underestimate the important role frontline managers can play supporting employees facing burnout. DO Do encourage frontline managers to communicate empathetically and support their staff by checking in regularly, beyond review time, and act on what they’ve heard—to help reduce employee burnout and improve well-being.7, 8 DON’T Don’t assume everyone understands burnout and its repercussions. DO Do educate leadership and managers about burnout, including its impact and how to spot and mitigate it. Drive employee awareness through things like internal campaigns, peer-to-peer outreach programs, safe-space discussions on burnout and creating an online employee mental health resource page.9,10 FOR ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS AND RESOURCES FROM OUR ONGOING BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERIES, VISIT SMARTERBETTERHEALTHCARE.COM You can also click here to read our Making Full Health the Focus eBook. 1 World Health Organization, “Burn-out an 'Occupational Phenomenon': International Classification of Diseases,” May 28, 2019. 2 Brie Weiler Reynolds, “FlexJobs, Mental Health America Survey: Mental Health in the Workplace,” FlexJobs Blog, Aug. 21, 2020. 3 Taylor Adams, Madeline Reinert, Danielle Fritze, and Theresa Nguyen, Mind the Workplace 2021, Mental Health America, 2021. 4, 5, 8, 10 Jennifer Moss, “Beyond Burned Out,” Harvard Business Review, Feb. 10, 2021. 6 Ashley Stahl, “What the Future of Work Means for our Mental Health,” Forbes, Oct. 9, 2020. 7 Eagle Hill, “Webinar: Organizational Strategies for Battling Burnout during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Apr. 15, 2020. 9 Silke Glaab, “Eliminating the Stigma Around Mental Health in the Workplace,” Forbes, Dec. 2, 2019.