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Whether you’re a student or employee, you’re bound to have heard of the term ‘Burnout’ at some point in your lives. In today’s high-stress environment, no matter whether we’re a colleague, educator, friend, mentor, parent or peer to someone else, it is absolutely imperative that we recognize what burnout is, where it comes from, and how we can stop it.
So first and foremost, What is Burnout?
Burnout is the prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job, and is defined by three dimensions; exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy. Exhaustion deals with the overall fatigue related to carrying out work demands. Cynicism is the indifference to work, which arises as a way to distance a worker from the demands of work. Ineffectiveness deals with whether employees feel they’re capable of fulfilling their professional responsibilities.
Indicators of Burnout
The problem with these qualities is that they are only readily recognizable by individuals and not easily discerned by colleagues or others (i.e. bosses, associates, family). In terms of visibility, there are, in fact, 2 indicators of burnout:
Satisfaction & Benefits
There are strong incentives for firms and managers to ensure job satisfaction, given the business benefits. Management strategies that monitor and reduce incidences of burnout, as well enhance employee satisfaction, lead to greater productivity and reduced employee turnover.
One method that increases job satisfaction and reduces stress is reducing uncertainty and minimising constant change in the appointments within the organization. Having clarity and focus in worker’s job scopes and performance expectations calibrates attitudes and reduces undue stress outside of their work.
Other benefits of job satisfaction come in the form of greater engagement and volunteering within the company. When staff are on the verge of burnout, the feelings of being unsatisfied and cynical generally lead them to not participate or contribute to the professional community within the organization, lacking the motivation to be involved. Increased satisfaction can manifest in increased volunteering in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives or participation in external projects and operations involving the company.
Recognizing and Reducing Burnout
While important for managers to monitor an individual employee’s welfare regularly, it also helps to ask employees about their peers as well. Employees that are more satisfied with their job and feel like part of the team are more strongly engaged. In short, they are more invested in the organisation.
As a mentor, friend or a peer, recognising burnout in a member of our professional, social or personal community can make all the difference. Sometimes all they need is modest support at the right time, to pull themselves back from the tipping-point. It is at this crucial juncture that one can make the difference between a worker maintaining their job or losing it.
Any questions or comments? You can reach Anil at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources & Further Reading
Article Contributed by HR in Asia‘s Team.