Workplace Burnout and How to Deal With It

June 6, 2022

employees surrounding a desk

You’ve probably heard someone in your workplace or personal life mention “burnout” at least once these past couple of years. Covid-19 has definitely taken its toll on people’s home lives, and it has certainly filtered its way  into their work lives. According to FlexJobs, 75% of workers have experienced workplace burnout and 40% of that initial number said that their feelings of burnout are directly correlated to the pandemic. 

Burnout by definition refers to “fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.” Burnout worsens at work or is a reaction to work. Employees may feel overwhelmed or helpless due to workplace burnout. You might notice employees’ attitudes changing as well. They may be less interested in their work and more cynical. While many people do blame Covid-19 for their burnout, there are many other reasons as to why someone might be feeling this way. 

Causes of Burnout

There are many organizational reasons as to why someone might experience burnout. Excessive workload is one of the more obvious reasons. It is hard to take care of your wellbeing when you are overworked. It’s especially difficult to take time off for yourself when you are constantly working. Another reason might be due to high-conflict teams or a lack of community. If someone does not feel supported or is constantly in an adverse environment, work can start to feel like a chore. Employees must also feel like they offer meaningful contributions and receive recognition for their work. If they don’t receive the necessary recognition they need, it is difficult to continue being engaged. 

On a personal level, burnout may be a result of poor coping  methods, a desire for perfection, low support, or a lack of self care. There are external possibilities that may result in workplace burnout as well. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the main external contributors for burnout. However, there are other reasons as well. Political and social unrest, global conflicts, or remote/hybrid working have added to those experiencing burnout. 

How to Help Those Suffering from Burnout

According to Lyra, a leading partner in global workforce mental health, there are five key management strategies to prevent burnout. If you are an employer, these tips are for you. 

  1. Listen intentionally and inclusively: ask for feedback and make changes. If you notice that some people are quieter than others, don’t hesitate to ask them directly. Acknowledge moments of disagreements and turn them into praiseworthy moments. 
  2. Model self care and work boundaries: set the tone by prioritizing wellness and creating limits. Don’t be afraid to take breaks during the day and utilize PTO. This way, employees know that they are allowed to do so as well. Set specific work hours and don’t send evening or weekend emails. 
  3. Be proactive with offers or flexibility: monitor schedules and workloads to make sure none of your employees feel overwhelmed. Some employees may not feel comfortable mentioning these issues, so it is imperative that you are proactive. 
  4. Audit workload, resourcing, and meeting hygiene: Check how many and what type of meetings are scheduled. That way you can either eliminate or combine some of them. This will help alleviate some stress on employees. Don’t forget to include meeting agendas and clearly define tasks and roles. Role ambiguity can also contribute to workplace burnout. 
  5. Foster professional development: help promote career growth and ask what they enjoy in the role that way you can help them advance in that area. 

Do Something About Workplace Burnout

Burnout is a continuously growing issue, and it will only get worse if employers do not make active changes. If you are a manager and you know you have employees who are struggling, you can help support them by shifting schedules or decreasing workload. If you are an employee, it is hard to talk about personal matters with your boss. However, it is vital that you do, so that you can receive the support that you need. Much of the information mentioned in this article is taught by Lyra. Please pay a visit to their website and check out what they have to say on the subject of burnout.   


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