Learning & Development Asia 2024
5 simple ways to handle burnout in your workforce

5 simple ways to handle burnout in your workforce

Before you even start, recognising the signs of burnout and taking proactive steps to prevent it is crucial to maintain overall wellbeing before it escalates.

In today’s high-pressure and fast-paced environment, burnout has become increasingly common amongst employees. After all, the stress of juggling multiple responsibilities and maintaining performance can lead to a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion.

For a happier and more engaged workforce, it is important to ensure your employees are not facing such a struggle — but how do you do so effectively? 

Before you even start, recognising the signs of burnout and taking proactive steps to prevent it is crucial to maintain overall wellbeing in the workplace and addressing the cause before it escalates.

A recent UK* study by London Office Space has revealed the most common symptoms of burnout that are commonly overlooked. The study analyses the average monthly Google searches made for common burnout side effects or identifiers, to highlight warning signs to be wary of.

*While the survey was conducted in the UK, HRO believes the data remains relevant and useful to our audience in Asia.

RankSymptom Average Monthly Google Searches
8Lack of Energy941
10Lack of Motivation866

Ranked the most reported symptom by a large margin, insomnia can often be overlooked as it can be attributed to a variety of causes. Persistent sleep disturbances can exacerbate other symptoms and negatively impact overall health.

Emotional detachment from work or personal relationships was noted as another prevalent sign of exhaustion or burnout. Characterised by a sense of disconnection, detachment can lead to decreased productivity and a feeling of isolation, which in turn can elevate feelings of detachment and worsen the cycle.

Chronic physical and emotional exhaustion, regardless of rest or sleep quality, is a key indicator of burnout. Exhaustion goes beyond the typical tiredness, impacting daily functioning and enthusiasm for various previously enjoyed activities both during and out of working hours.

At the same time, many individuals experiencing burnout report withdrawing from social interactions and feeling isolated, which can intensify feelings of loneliness and emotional distress.

Depersonalisation, or feeling disconnected from oneself, is a serious symptom of burnout. Those affected may feel like they are observing their life from outside their body and may struggle to reconnect with their day-to-day life, responsibilities, or personal relationships.

Alex Ugarte, Operations Manager of London Office Space, commented on the findings: “Burnout can be both physically and emotionally draining, but recognising its signs early can lead to effective intervention. It’s clear that many Brits are at risk of developing this phenomenon based on the most-Googled symptoms, but many of them – especially exhaustion and forgetfulness – can be hard to attribute to issues at work.

As Ugarte notes, it is also likely that workers are at higher risk of experiencing burnout or symptoms of it now compared to at the start of the year, as workload and responsibilities likely increase to account for coworkers’ annual leave, reduced coworker capacity due to childcare throughout the summer holidays, or even an increased demand for services after the end of the financial year. 

Now that you recognise the signs, what are the next steps? The study has identified five tips to tackle burnout. Do bookmark this read and share it with your leadership team, employees, and co-workers – it will go a long way in helping your workforce avoid and overcome this issue.

Track sleep patterns: Pay close attention to changes in your sleep habits. As mentioned earlier, difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling unrested even after sleep can be major indicators of burnout. Practising good sleep hygiene, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing environment, can help.

Assess emotional engagement: Reflect on emotional connections with work and relationships. Persistent feelings of detachment or disinterest might signal burnout. To rekindle emotional engagement, you may reconnect with hobbies, take regular breaks, and seek support from loved ones.

Evaluate energy levels: Take note of any chronic exhaustion you may be experiencing that does not improve with rest. Undertaking regular physical activity, maintaining a balanced diet, and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation can improve energy levels and reduce exhaustion.

Stay connected: Combat isolation by reaching out to friends, family, or colleagues. If personal connections are difficult, you may consider joining a support group or seeking professional help.

Seek professional help: If you experience symptoms like depersonalisation or feel overwhelmed, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. Therapy or counselling can provide strategies to cope with stress and reduce the impact of burnout.

Lead image / 123rf.com

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