How To Prevent Burnout? Well-being at Work

What is burnout?

In short, burnout is a psychological condition, which is the body’s response to chronic stress associated with work. It should be remembered that occupational burnout is not a temporary phenomenon manifested by work fatigue, but it may persist for several months or even years.

What are the stages of a professional burnout?

Emotional exhaustion

In the first stage of professional burnout, we lose enthusiasm and joy of work in favor of increasing fatigue and discouragement. It is most often the result of stressful working conditions or investing too much energy in the implementation of tasks. Our emotional resources are depleted and replaced by pessimism, tension, mood swings, irritability and increasing frustration. Employees at this stage become more prone to conflict and accept criticism and failure more reluctantly.

Distance and cynicism

As burnout syndrome progresses, cynicism and distancing arise. The second stage, called interpersonal, is characterized by the activation of a defense mechanism by the employee, which leads to mental distancing from other people (mainly colleagues). Our relationships become superficial, formalized, and often full of malice and blame on others. This is often a surprise to team members, especially if burnout affects the originally kind and helpful employee. Unfortunately, the progressive burnout process results in increasing reluctance, weariness and exhaustion.

Feeling of lack of competencies and achievements

The longer we struggle with this disorder, the less we believe in ourselves. The undertaken professional duties require a lot of effort from us, which is accompanied by an overwhelming feeling of fatigue and apathy. The last stage of burnout affects cognitive feelings. We feel of little value, we lack the sense of agency and effectiveness. We begin to doubt our own competencies, achievements and experiences. We gradually lose our ability to deal with problems and chronic tension. We often strive for isolation. In summary — we are done with everything. We sleep worse and worse, we use stimulants, and yet we feel more and more anger and bitterness.

Symptoms and effects of occupational burnout

The most common symptoms of burnout include:

  • constant work fatigue, lack of energy,
  • decrease in involvement in professional activities,
  • reduced sense of own competencies and effectiveness,
  • fear of going to work,
  • apathy,
  • sleep disturbances,
  • problems with concentration,
  • lowered immunity.

Who is affected by burnout?

Burnout can affect anyone. It doesn’t matter what position you occupy or at what hierarchical level you are on. Interestingly, as recent research shows, it does not matter how long you work in the profession and what age you are. As it turns out, young people with less work experience are more likely to struggle with this problem. However, it is possible to distinguish several personality traits and work environment factors that favor the occurrence of this phenomenon.

How to support employees in the fight against burnout?

The way of dealing with burnout depends largely on the stage of its development and the causes of its occurrence. Affected workers should not underestimate the symptoms or try to get rid of the problem on their own. If a longer rest is not enough, we should necessarily seek the help of a psychologist or psychotherapist. Especially since the symptoms of burnout can often be confused with symptoms of depression or other disorders.

  • Allow yourself and your employees a moment of relaxation (also during working hours). You can organize trips and integration meetings for those who are interested in it, introduce a sports section or set clear rules of cooperation, dedicating a certain time to work and time to rest.
  • Encourage employees to lead a healthy lifestyle — educate colleagues in this regard, inform them about the benefits of longer sleep, offer healthy snacks in the office and motivate them to physical activity, e.g. by conducting fitness classes during breaks at work.
  • Set realistic, achievable goals in your own work and that of your employees, avoid strong pressure.
  • Conduct workshops in the techniques of coping with stress and caring for internal peace and the ability to set boundaries.
  • Offer your employees professional development — let them spread their wings by taking on new challenges in a nice, supportive atmosphere.

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Marketing Specialist at Next Technology Professionals - IT Recruitment | IT Outsourcing

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Aga Babicz

Aga Babicz

Marketing Specialist at Next Technology Professionals - IT Recruitment | IT Outsourcing