What are the Symptoms of Employee Burnout in the Workplace?
Burnout shows up differently for everyone, and it impacts employees in different ways. However, there are still a few signs of burnout in the workplace that employers and managers should be aware of:
Your workers may be spending less time collaborating or finding difficulty in working and sharing ideas together
Employees may be socializing and communicating less in the workplace, sharing less humor than previously
Workers may feel resistance to building relationships with one another
Employees and work teams may start having difficulty navigating conflict and conflict resolution within the workplace – and avoidant and irritable behavior leads to a toxic workplace
Stress is our body’s physical reaction to the overwhelming and extreme labor of our mental and emotional states. In the context of the workplace, the work-related stress working people face is varied and based on the individual experience of the worker.
Workplace burnout and stress are human experiences. So, as long as workplaces continue to be powered by humans, there is no future for workplaces without employee burnout and stress.
So what’s the solution to workplace burnout?
Organizations need to acknowledge and utilize how the employee experience and ‘the real world’ are intertwined and work with their employees to find the best combination of tools, resources, and strategies that recognize and address the unique stressors, challenges, and barriers their employees face in the workplace, and sometimes outside of the workplace, as individuals.
Now, we’re not saying that workplaces need to reinvent the wheel to provide burnout and health solutions for each and every employee. Instead, we encourage workplaces to provide a variety of adaptable resources and resource channels to allow their employees to personalize these tools to their independent needs.
How Disability, Chronic Illness and Stress, and Long COVID-19 should Redefine how we treat Workplace Burnout and Employee Health
Many workplaces fail to realize that employee burnout is not specifically a workplace issue – but a general health issue.
The effects and triggers of employee burnout don’t exist solely in the office or between work hours – but it accumulates from a multitude of unique experiences and stressors that spill into employees’ day-to-day life and health.
A major facet of building workplaces preventative to employee burnout is disability inclusion and acceptance. In today’s world, disability inclusion includes: ‘Neurodiversity, Differences in physical abilities and senses such as vision, hearing, remembering, or movement, Impairments that impact communication and social interactions or relations, Invisible disabilities, Mental health diagnoses, and Chronic illnesses (including Long COVID symptoms)’
Since the global pandemic and many major subsequent social events and changes in 2020:
Additionally, when we acknowledge the unfair systems that exist in the workplace, it is evident in everything from wage gaps, workload, hiring practices, and daily workplace communication or relationships, that specific groups, specifically of marginalized identities, are required to work harder than others to reach organizational success. Meaning that certain employees sacrifice more of their well-being to pursue occupational advancement. For example:
Women are more likely to feel work burnout than male coworkers ( 34% women vs. 26% of men), with over one-third of respondents surveying that they feel burned out at work either ‘very often’ or ‘always’
A study found that up to 88% of Black women respondents reported that they ‘sometimes have, often, or always’ experience burnout
Professionals and workers of marginalized identities experience workplace burnout and exhaustion more than White professionals. (With 44% of BIPOC, 47% of Hispanics and East Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 41% of African Americans in the workplace experiencing work-related burnout) Business Wire
And people who live with physical disabilities are over 3X more likely to experience depression compared to the general population
So where’s a good place for businesses to start?
Firstly, don’t make the mistake of treating your workplace burnout risks as a business problem when it’s a human problem.