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BURNOUT, BOREOUT AND HOW TO FIGHT BACK
What is Burnout? Well, there are actually 3 types of Burnout connected to the workplace: Overload, Neglect and Underchallenged Burnout (AKA Boreout!), and while we may have a vaccine for COVID, we don’t yet have one for this! Google search data pertaining to “signs of burnout” has risen by 24% in 2020 alone, and with 17.9 million working days lost in the UK in 2019 to work-related stress, anxiety and depression, I think it’s time we talk about it.
The 3 types of Burnout and their associated symptoms
Most commonly associated with the term “burnout” is Overload Burnout; feelings of exhaustion (mentally and physically) combined with the overwhelming feeling that you spend too much time at work and still don’t have enough time to get through it all.
Often kept silent by employees for fear of coming across as weak or incompetent, Neglect Burnout is the term used to describe that sinking feeling that there are too many challenges and not enough resources, that your workload is beyond your skillset and that ultimately you should just give up. Sometimes associated with Imposter Syndrome, people who experience Neglect Burnout might feel like they are undeserving of their role, leading them to quit.
Underchallenged Burnout AKA Boreout
Frequently experienced by young and entry level employees, “Boreout” can be used to describe feeling underwhelmed, lacking in challenge and responsibility or feeling that there is no room for growth in one’s role or the wider company.
Now that we know how Burnout manifests itself, let’s look at the 10 preventative and remedial steps to fight back!
STEP 1: Acknowledgement and acceptance
Mindfulness is the practice of knowing, of being present and aware of oneself, and what’s going on around us. The first and most important step to effectively managing and avoiding severe Burnout is to acknowledge and accept how you are feeling, to prevent the worst case from happening.
STEP 2: Creating a culture of communication
Over 50% of those experiencing work-related stress do not report their mental health problems to their employer, so you might not even realise who among you is suffering. To support those who may be suffering in silence, ensure leaders regularly check in with their teams in an informal setting, to encourage trust, sharing and friendship within the team.
STEP 3: Encouraging rest
We are all entitled to rest and relaxation, but a recent study from UK insurer Aviva showed that 84% of employees in 2020 took no sick-days over a three-month period. Whether you’re taking 15 minutes to stretch your legs and have a quiet brew or taking a week off to reset the work-life balance, every break counts.
STEP 4: Routine and exercise
According to the NHS, those who manage to get in just 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week are at a 22% lower risk of getting depression than those who don’t. Encourage employees to keep up a healthy routine including regular exercise and breaks, nourishing food and good sleep hygiene to benefit their general wellness.
STEP 5: Bridging the manager-employee communication gap
Many employees feel that they cannot share their problems with management else they run the risk of appearing weak and incapable. Try to combat this by setting up regular, informal team catch-ups, establishing a go-between from your HR department that employees can speak to in confidence, or try a buddy-up system between senior and junior employees to help break the ice.
STEP 6: Delegate and share
A good leader is one who listens. Work closely with your employees and involve them in the process of delegation and workload sharing, set reasonable and attainable deadlines, and try running goal-setting sessions with individuals to ensure they’re working towards something that motivates them.
STEP 7: Knowing your workforce
Equality and diversity in the workforce are extremely important to nurture, but what is it like to manage a diverse workforce? Understanding the different needs of your employees across age groups, genders, languages, religions and racial origins might take time, but through feedback surveys, team meetings and employee engagement you’ll get a better idea of how to shape a well-rounded, accessible and employee-friendly workplace – a safe and healthy space for all.
STEP 8: Education and learning
31% of UK employees are tempted to quit their job, and many look elsewhere for new challenges and opportunities. However, encouraging personal development in the workplace through skills building and education helps to keep employees engaged and futureproof the business with relevant skills and experience. Start by encouraging mental health training among employees to give them the skills to look out for themselves and others!
STEP 9: Employee voice
One significant trait of financially high-performing businesses is that an average 70% of their employees feel that management responds to survey feedback. Give you employees a voice and ask for their feedback, address their concerns and be as transparent as possible when answering their questions, and you will likely see higher levels of employee engagement and retention.
STEP 10: Celebrate!
Show your employees and your teammates that you care and be sure to celebrate their achievements, innovations and ideas in the workplace. Working from home can be a lonely and distant experience, so try to maintain the workplace culture by taking the time to acknowledge monthly, weekly, even daily achievements within your team.
The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime, so we’d better make sure those hours are well spent! It is evident that workplace wellbeing and employee engagement are not nice-to-have’s but are in fact business critical to deter the cycle of Burnout from pervading the workplace. Burnout prevention starts with you, yes you dear reader, and your journey to finding the ultimate work-life balance.
You can talk directly to our Health and Wellbeing Specialists by contact our team on 0161 237 4444, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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