How do you know you experience workplace burnout?
Will you agree with me if I say that working for someone (company) is stressful? Only a few employees fit in their working places. In fact, almost ninety percent of employees are working at a job they hate.
The emotional friction creates stress among employees who do not find happiness in their tasks. Unfortunately, determining stress in workplaces can be challenging.
In most cases, employees feel like they are not enough. They see themselves as a failure. Such feelings of uselessness will result in negative feelings over time.
Unfortunately, employees have no idea that they are already experiencing burnout.
Here are some of the causes of workplace burnout:
- Coping with work challenges related to new management, new environment, and technological enhancement
- Cramming to meet the deadlines
- Conflict in work schedules
- Overtime work without pay
- Excess amount of workload
- Working outside of expertise
- Difficulties in dealing with bosses and clients
Workplace burnout may not be noticeable among employees. This is because they tend to repress their inner feelings to maintain harmony. However, an employee may direct their anger to others. Thus, oftentimes, a stressed person may bring his/her anger home. The vulnerable people (the loved ones) can be the victims.
But how can you know that you are already suffering from workplace burnout? Christina Maslach, professor emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, found in her research the three major signs of workplace burnout.
- A person may feel emotionally drained, nausea, having trouble sleeping, and headaches.
- Feeling unappreciated by co-workers, discriminated and ostracised by them.
- Feeling incapable of achieving personal goals or reaching own potential.
“There are a lot of things that can happen when people begin to have this problem at work. There are things like absenteeism, turnover, but also things in terms of errors, not being careful about the work they’re doing. We see a lot of difficulty with people getting along with each other – angry, aggressive,” said Dr. Maslach.
To assess burnout, Dr. Maslach and her colleagues come up with a scale that measures burnout called the “Maslach Burnout Inventory.” Today, the instrument is still being used in industrial settings.
“Stress phenomenon can take a toll in terms of physical health, which can then get tied into absenteeism. There are a number of ways in which the quality of the work goes down as a result of burnout,” Maslach added.
So we have a way to determine workplace burnout. But how can you avoid it?
If you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, there a few things you can do to combat them. You may consider the following:
- Practice focused breathing. This technique is effective in reducing stress.
- Take an interval break from the task. A study found that a short 5-minute break every 90 minutes can help a lot to make you stay focused and relaxed within the course of your task.
- Maintain an organized working environment. A cluttered surrounding can be the strongest contributor to stress.
- Find time for physical fitness such as walking, jogging, or other outdoor activities that can boost your physical health. A 30-minute walk a day is enough to de-stress your mind.
Dr. Maslach also believed that socialization is helpful in maintaining balance in someone’s life.
“What we found is that people’s health, well-being, everything in life, is way better if you’re connected with other people. That social network, that each of you has each others’ back, that they’re there for you and you’re there for them, that’s like money in the bank. That’s a precious, precious resource,” she said.
In addition, Jason Lang, the team leader of Workplace Health Programs said that laughter can be one of the best solutions to workplace burnout.
All of these tips may be effective to combat workplace burnout. However, every person may have his/her own preference. Thus, you need to find your own way to managing stress in your job.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.