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By Emma Attenborough-Sergeant Wellness Expert at GoVida - The Employee Wellbeing Platform

Burnout is bad for business; there’s no two ways about it – which is why savvy employers like you are always looking for ways to help your people keep burnout at bay.

When people are overworked to the extreme, it’s incredibly bad for their health and wellbeing. But it also means that they won’t be working at their best. Think about a time when you felt rundown and teetering on the edge of burnout: were you able to give your all, or did your work suffer?

We’re at our most productive when we’re engaged in our work, supported by our peers, and appreciated by our employers. In fact, businesses with high levels of employee engagement are 21% more profitable, and see absenteeism reduced by a whopping 41%.

What’s more, good company culture increases business revenue four-fold – and you can bet your bottom dollar that in these companies, burnout is rare. Why? Because if people were suffering from burnout on the regular, culture would suffer, and revenue would very quickly go south.

But how do you know when your people are headed for burnout, and what can you do to stop burnout in its tracks?

Signs That Your People Are Burning Out

When people experience burnout, it can show in many subtle (and not so subtle) ways. Performance is often impacted – which can include difficulty concentrating, and an inability to think creatively. You should also look out for signs that your people are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and more emotional than usual.

Burnout can manifest as physical symptoms too; such as headaches, stomach aches, exhaustion, fatigue, insomnia, or sleeping too much. If you notice a rise in absenteeism then, burnout could be to blame.

It’s also wise to watch out for any extreme changes in mood amongst your teams – including shows of cynicism, frustration and anger.

With a long-established culture of working hard without complaint, a lot of employers might not be aware of how stressed out their people actually are – but times are changing. Employee mental health and workplace wellbeing are being spoken about far more openly, and with efforts to be more open about stress levels and personal challenges, the stigma around needing support is eroding.

Graph showing impact of low stress to high stress over time - causing burnout

How to Help Your People Avoid Burnout

The first step to avoiding – and eradicating – burnout in the workplace is to openly acknowledge any stress your people might be under.

As a leader, you can be a great role model for this: if you’re stressed, talk about it; if there’s a big project on the horizon, acknowledge the fact that pressure might be a little higher than usual. But as well as talking honestly and realistically about stress, normalise seeking support.

Talk to your teams about how you combat stress – whether that’s through exercise, meditation, or therapy sessions. If people see their employer acknowledging tough times and being open about their coping mechanisms, they’ll feel far more comfortable following suit.

It’s also crucial that your teams understand what support they have available: whether that’s through an EAP, or a supportive employee wellbeing platform like GoVida.

Other ways to help your people avoid burnout include:

  • Encouraging them to take regular breaks
  • Making sure everyone uses their full holiday allowance
  • Carrying out regular one-to-ones
  • Monitoring workloads
  • Normalising asking for help when workloads become overwhelming
  • Recruiting enough people to keep stress to a minimum
  • Creating a supportive workplace culture
  • Talking openly about mental health
  • Investing in employee wellbeing
  • Encouraging ‘wellbeing hours’, where people can invest in themselves

The Importance of Employee Wellbeing for Stress Recovery

Employee wellbeing and employee burnout are two sides of the same coin. If you invest in workplace wellbeing and encourage your people to prioritise their mental health at work, you’re far less likely to have overworked and stressed out teams.

Burnout happens when people put work, deadlines, and pleasing others above all else. And while that might get results in the short-term, it’s a recipe for trouble in the future.

You’ll find that by helping your people to make healthier decisions, you’ll get the absolute best out of them – because they’ll be capable of giving their best, and perhaps even more importantly, they’ll actually want to.

In the modern workplace, people want to work for an employer with strong values and a social conscience. Evidencing your commitment to employee wellbeing by developing strategies to limit stress and avoid employee burnout will go a long way towards positioning you as an employer of choice – which is a great position to be in right now.

Discover how GoVida can help you to support your people with a free demo of our employee wellbeing platform.

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