With the pandemic still loose worldwide and the abrupt changes it brought in all sectors, there’s an increased focus on worker wellbeing. After two years of respecting pandemic protocols, mental health continues to be a priority for employees and the work environment. 

People are burnt out on being burnt out. From the leaders who have to manage remote teams to essential workers, burnout has reached gargantuan proportions. A recent report reveals that burnout is high across all industries, and 79% of people struggle with work-related stress. 3 in 5 employees state that stress affects their performance, interest, and motivation. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for work-related stress and burnout. Companies worldwide make efforts to establish the operations to a new normal and fight the mental health crisis that emerged among workforces during the pandemic. The Four Employee Health and Wellness Trends to Watch in 2022 report reveals that mental health will have a paramount role in employee wellness and employee health as companies continue to care for the whole individual health of workers. 

However, the last two years witnessed an increased focus on mental health, with well-known figures like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka highlighting that people should put mental health before professional obligations. 

What is burnout

The World Health Organisation calls burnout an occupational phenomenon or condition resulting from chronic workplace stress. Some workers groups are more susceptible to stress (healthcare workers, teachers), and for them, burnout is an occupational hazard. Work-related stress is quite insidious and can sneak up in any work environment. Workers can alleviate stress by using some management techniques, but burnout is a different issue resulting from cumulative stress that requires more strenuous work. If employees fall victim to burnout, they cannot cure it by slowing down work or taking a short vacation. Both the employers and workers have to make an active effort to alleviate it. 

How to recognize stress and burnout among your employees

In simple terms, the employees who experience burnout feel exhausted all the time and struggle with a deep kind of fatigue they cannot relieve by resting. This permanent exhaustion has a ripple impact on the individual because it’s often accompanied by a negative assessment of their value, efficacy, skills, and work accomplishments. Sometimes people dealing with burnout also resent their colleagues, leaders, and clients because they blame them for their poor mental health. 

Employees in a state of burnout can also deal with an inability to focus on tasks and brain fog, being more prone to procrastination. In some cases, they can have nervous breakdowns and become unable to complete their tasks. 

Excessive stress can trigger restlessness, social withdrawal, low productivity, anger, and emotional outbursts. When stressed out, people tend to feel sad, forget, lose or gain weight, experience insomnia, headaches, and low energy levels. Sadly, not all managers notice stress or burnout symptoms (physical or mental). But employers must notice when their workforce is subject to high levels of stress because workers can claim compensation for their poor mental health if it’s resulted from unfair work practises. Accident Claims UK is specialised in assisting employees in claiming compensation if they feel harassed or stressed at work. 

Common causes of work-related stress

The stressors vary depending on the industry, company culture, nature of the job, and employee temperament. However, the research identified a list of common causes of job stress:

– Unsafe working conditions that can trigger personal injuries (chemical hazards, ergonomic hazards, excessive noise, physical dangers)

– Unhealthy work setting that affects employees’ mental health (harassment, bullying, lack of support from leaders and co-workers, favouritism)

– Poor workplace communication

– Lack of feedback on performance

– No clarity in company expectations

– Unrealistic or excessive workload

– Job insecurity

How to find relief from work stress and burnout

Embrace workplace wellness

The workplace should support sustained wellbeing and work balance. You can change some things to make the work environment more enjoyable and healthier. 

– Bring in greenery in the office by adding indoor plants in every room. 

– Ensure employees have free access to water. 

– Use light to create a bright workspace that supports productivity. Look for ways to enhance natural light because it boosts moods. 

– Use diffusers for essential oils and scented candles to keep the office smelling good and awaken your employees’ senses. 

Organise and prioritise tasks

Feeling overwhelmed causes employees to experience burnout. Reduce workplace stress by prioritising and organising tasks. Here is how you can do it. 

– Set clear objectives for each project and ensure team leaders clarify the goals to their workers. 

– Consider the goals when evaluating the importance of tasks. 

– Teach employees to focus on 2-3 tasks maximum in a day or week. 

– Set realistic deadlines for tasks. 

– Use a program to plan work weeks and maximise time. 

– Encourage employees to make To-Do lists or use task management software to keep a handle on their daily activities. 

Encourage employees to form positive relationships

Making friends at work can be challenging, but studies show that employees feel more relaxed if they work in a friendly environment. Bring more team-building activities in the work setting and foster positive personal relationships. 

– Start a buddy or mentorship program. A veteran employee can show new ones the ropes, introduce them to the team, and provide them with support and guidance. 

– Encourage employees to use their smartphones less during breaks and engage with co-workers.

– Host interactive events that encourage employees to laugh, create connections, and build trust. 

Promote exercising

Regular physical activities have endorphin-releasing and mood-boosting properties and naturally reduce stress. Studies show that exercise can elevate mood and keep the mind off stressful thoughts. Here is how you can promote exercise in the workplace. 

– Launch a challenge. Pass fitness trackers to employees and offer a prize to those who walk the most or burn the most calories monthly. 

– Install standing desks.

– Take walking meetings to encourage employees to get up from their desks. 

Final words

Not all people feel stress and burnout equally. Determining when stress levels are out of control is essential when running a business because the employees are the company’s most asset.