Ultimate Guide to Burnout: What is it & what you can do about it!

Megan Lupton
Digital Copywriter
Andrew Pain

This is an exclusive guest post written by Andrew Pain. Andrew is an outstanding corporate speaker and coach specialising in workplace burnout, productivity and leadership.

Burnout: a modern buzzword, used loosely by some but fully understood by others, it’s now recognised by the World Health Organisation as an ‘occupational phenomenon’.

Research has highlighted the devastating implications for people who ignore it, from the thousands of lives claimed every year in the United States alone, to the billions of dollars in lost global production every year.

What is burnout & how do we stop it?

The World Health Organisation describes burnout as ‘chronic workplace stress that has not been well managed’, describing 3 key symptoms:

1 - Emotional, mental, physical exhaustion: you are not just a bit tired and in need of a lie-in or weekend away, you are utterly finished, overwhelmed and feel like you can’t go on.

2 - Negativity/cynicism about your work: because you’re overwhelmed, everything seems unfair, wrong and insurmountable. Unsurprisingly, you sink into a spiral of doom and gloom.

3 - Poor time efficiency: exhausted and stuck in a negative cycle, you’re unmotivated by the things which once energised you. You can’t concentrate, your efforts feel pointless, and you can no longer make key decisions.

There’s no single cause of burnout or magic fix, there is a combination of common triggers at home and work, and many initiatives to consider in helping people manage burnout.

Mental Health UK polled 3000 working adults in 2021 and the most common triggers included:

  • Money Worries
  • Working from Home
  • Job Security
  • Isolation
  • Physical Health
  • Sleep
  • Relationships
  • Home Schooling
  • Caring for Others

None of these triggers are particularly caused by working conditions, but they will certainly impact how an employee may perform.

On the other hand, in a recent Gallup poll of 7500 employees, the most common workplace triggers included:

  • Unfair Treatment at Work
  • Unmanageable Workload
  • Lack of Role Clarity
  • Lack of Communication & Support from Management 
  • Unreasonable Time Pressure

How Can Employees Manage Burnout?

We need to talk to our teams about what they need and how they’re feeling, not as a one-off exercise but as an ongoing conversation.

We need to put wellbeing at the heart of our organisational culture and mission, offering wide-ranging and tailored wellbeing plans, and undertaking mental health first aid training with follow-up plans for how to take that knowledge back into the workplace.

We need our leaders to dare to be vulnerable, being open about their challenges and their struggles.

Harvard Business School Professor, Amy Edmondson, describes the value of leaders openly sharing their struggles and the positive knock-on effect on the rest of the team when they’re prepared to be vulnerable.

If a leader is emotionally open, then others will speak up too. Vulnerable leaders help create psychologically safe spaces.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2020/03/02/12-benefits-of-embracing-vulnerability-in-leadership

Conclusion

Burnout isn’t going anywhere and if anything, given the social and political upheaval in our world today, burnout will get worse as a phenomenon, not better.

But the good news is that with wide-ranging and ongoing action, which is rooted in what people share and ask for, burnout is avoidable.

Book a Speaker to Tackle Workplace Burnout

If you would like to book one of our leading mental resilience speakers for your next event, like Andrew Pain, contact The Motivational Speakers Agency by filling in our online contact form. Alternatively, speak to a booking agent directly on 0207 0787 876.

See Andrew in action:

Megan Lupton
Digital Copywriter

Having completed a Masters in Creative Writing, Megan is found regularly contributing to the company blog, where she discusses everything from the latest socio-political news stories to self-improvement. Joining The Motivational Speakers Agency in 2019, Megan is also responsible for a variety of creative content, like contributing to the online presence of those we represent across the website.

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