By Emma Williams
Each of us has a certain margin of strength for each area of life. Work is an integral part of the development and a vital resource that requires a lot of involvement. For most, this is at least 40 working hours per week.
Our reserves of strength are not endless, and it is imperative to maintain balance at all energy levels: physical, mental, spiritual and emotional.
Emotional burnout is a state of apathy and exhaustion, which leads to a feeling of a “paralysis” of strength, and is accompanied by a loss of joy and taste for life. The first mention of it belongs to Herbert Freudenberg, who commemorated “white-collar disease” with the word “burnout” back in 1974.
Nowadays, in the field of marketing, IT and technology, burnout syndrome is a kind of “occupational disease” that sooner or later comes to everyone. Therefore, it is important for HR and managers to recognize it in their employees in time and prevent development. Nowadays, in the time of a global pandemic and remote workers, this can be even harder.
Factors in the development of burnout syndrome
They can be roughly divided into two types: organizational and personal. The latter rarely play a key role but can exacerbate the situation. But organizational factors often become the root cause.
For the most part, they depend on the organization of the workflow and the attitude towards employees. Of course, you can constantly fire the “burnt out” and replace them with new employees, but the enviable regularity of these actions will indicate obvious problems in the process of work and poor management. It is worth remembering that negative reviews spread quickly and do not in any way contribute to hiring qualified personnel in the future.
10 Signs of Professional Burnout
1. Feelings of chronic fatigue, especially in the morning, when you just wake up, but you do not feel completely rested.
2. Decreased performance. If previously you could work for 10 hours in a row and switch between different tasks, but now all tasks require more time and additional effort, and unplanned tasks cause stress and aggression? Chances are, you could have burned out.
3. Regular physical ailment. For example, headaches, body aches, exacerbation of chronic diseases, or colds. The human body is often smarter than us: when the level of tension in the body goes off the scale, the disease serves as a signal that it is time to stop.
4. Loss of enthusiasm for work. Lack of habitual interest in tasks and issues that previously gave a sense of real satisfaction.
5. Increase in the number of errors. From the most insignificant types of typos to serious mistakes that can harm the project. This is associated with a loss of concentration, increased distraction and inattention. A person suffering from burnout syndrome has a reduced mental capacity.
6. Unconscious resistance and fear of change. Innovative solutions scare the burnt-out employee because it entails change and, therefore, additional stress. Plus, in order to introduce something new into daily processes, energy is needed, and a burnt-out person just does not have it. Therefore, everything new is frightening, and they automatically turns on a defensive reaction – an internal resistance to updates.
7. Increased irritability. Which sometimes escalates into outbursts of anger. Almost uncontrollable aggression can manifest itself in relation to colleagues, tasks, or work processes.
8. Reducing contacts. Reducing the amount of communication with your current social circle, lack of networking and deliberate refusal to acquire new, even useful and promising acquaintances.
9. The prevalence of pessimistic sentiments. Lack of optimism about their further professional development and the emergence of deep indifference to the entire field.
10. Loss of meaning. That is a lack of understanding of the meaning of everything that is happening, disappointment in their profession, a desire to completely change the direction of activity.
If you find one of the signs in yourself or your employee, this may indicate the appearance of burnout syndrome. If there are several signs at once, you may have already experienced professional burnout. Here you need to identify the causes as soon as possible and take the necessary actions. Otherwise, the soon growing internal dissatisfaction can ruin even the most successful career.
How to prevent professional burnout while working remotely
Firstly, we want to give advice to all HR and team leaders in a remote work environment – be sure to hold individual meetings with an employee every two weeks, where you discuss in detail their success, development plan, well-being and just communicate. This will help you track changes in mood in time and jointly develop a solution plan. Timely personal communication is the main way to solve the problem of burnout!
Second, if you notice that you are facing burnout make sure to:
- Choose priorities: plan daily activities according to importance and urgency, act exactly on schedule with rest breaks.
2. Have physical activity and exercise! Try to approach them consciously, feel your body while doing the exercises. Let your mind focus on the sensations in the body, and not on work. At this point, you can include any body practice – yoga, massage, walking, running, or swimming. Feel every muscle in your body with intention!
3. Help your inner child. How does a parent express love? Mainly through the body: gentle touching, stroking, hugging. And this is the first thing you can do yourself. Pay attention to your body. Do a self-massage. Rubbing the body with a brush from the bottom up works very well on the lymph. Another option is patting the meridians, which go up and down the arms and legs. It would be good to massage your neck with a neck massager every time you feel tired.
4. Practice a daily digital detox and breathe. Disconnect all communications, computer, music, movies for a few minutes. Engage in conscious breathing at this time. Five minutes of observing how you breathe should be enough for your body to recharge. It’s only five minutes, no more.
5. Meditate and have 15-minute power naps. This will quickly build strength, but for obvious results, it must be done daily for at least two weeks.
6. If possible, rest for three to four days and be sure that it is without gadgets, checking mail or notifications – during this period, the body and emotional state will be restored.
7. Discuss your personal development plan for the next couple of years – it is possible that overwork will greatly affect other areas of life.
8. Make a clear plan to overcome this condition so that it does not happen again.
If you notice that some of your employees are facing burn out make sure to help them out. Don’t forget that it is important to pay attention to the psychological state of employees and the climate of the team, since the result of their work depends on the emotional state of the staff and, as a result, the happiness of your customers.
Take professional burnout seriously – it is a disease and a wake-up call for your body, not the banal “I’m just tired” excuse. Therefore, try to maintain a reasonable balance between work and rest, do not forget about your victories, analyze problems, and do not close your eyes to them. Find a hobby that interests you and distribute the load. Burn with love for your work, do not burn out!
About the Author
Emma Williams is an Australian writer with a master‘s degree in business administration, who has a passion for anything lifestyle and design related. She spends most of her time redecorating and participating in house projects. As a great nature lover, her biggest pleasure is spending time in a small cottage by the river. You can find her on Twitter @EmmaWilliams204