Workplace Wellbeing: What is Workplace “Burnout”?


Workplace Wellbeing

Work-related stress is something we all experience in some form throughout our lives. While this is normal, it’s important to monitor how much of the stress in your life relates back to work commitments. Knowing the warning signs can enable you to prevent becoming overwhelmed by work in the future.


The New Buzzword

What is “Workplace Burnout” anyway? Burnout is a term used to describe emotional exhaustion, ineffectiveness in the workplace, and by consistent negative responses to stressful workplace experiences. Burnout is not a medical term – but it is often used to describe workplace-related stress.


Why Does Workplace Burnout happen?

  • Burnout is often a result of a variety of problems interacting at once. For example, employees are more susceptible to burnout when they experience the following:
  • They feel they are not making an adequate contribution to their workplace/do not feel their efforts are appreciated or are ill-equipped for tasks.
  • Lack of clarity about their authority or a lack of predictable and clear expectations.
  • Dysfunctional workplace relationships; being undermined by colleagues or being micromanaged.
  • Being in a role that is not a good fit for your ambitions/lifestyle.
  • Unrealistic energy expectations; fast-paced roles require a constant energy level to stay focused which can be unrealistic long-term for many people.
  • Work-life imbalance; if your work takes up so much of your time that you find yourself with no energy to spend time with your family and friends, it may be time to reassess.


What You Can Do to Tackle Burnout?

  • Discuss concerns with your manager. Oftentimes Managers are not aware of the strain you could be under, making them aware leaves them in an informed position to then help. Open a dialogue to reassess expectations or create solutions. Request time away from work if burnout is stopping you from functioning normally day to day.
  • Seek support outside of work; some people prefer to talk to co-workers, friends or their spouse.
  • Get some exercise – it can help you better cope with stress, as well as giving you a mental break from work.
  • Get some sleep. Sleep helps well-being, helps protect your health, and will make concentrating at work easier.
  • Reduce excessive multi-tasking. Focus on one thing at a time – it helps to break down overwhelming tasks into smaller parts to tackle.
  • Work at a reasonable, steady pace and take regular breaks.
  • Try as much as possible to stay disconnected from work during annual leave/days off.
  • Take Control of Workplace Relationships: Set reasonable boundaries for yourself – be okay with saying no when there is a valid reason. Learn how to just say, “I don’t know” if you don’t know. Oftentimes people will respect your honesty.