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Field guide to spotting burnout

Nov 17, 2019 4:43:56 AM / by Anna

Watch for these 6 signs of burnout in your employees and yourself 

It is easy to blame heavy workload for burnout. But despite being a foremost culprit, it’s not the only one: Christina Malasch, the Berkeley professor and pioneer researcher on the topic, names five other areas of worklife “that encompass the central relationships with burnout."

  1. An overwhelming workload. The quantity is not the only measure: people, whose duties include emotional support of others, are significantly more likely to burn out. It is for a reason, that the very term burnout was coined to describe the state of emotional exhaustion many healthcare professionals were facing. 
  2. A loss of control. Control is the main driver of motivation, and it is easy to assess the level of control you have by asking yourself “Am I motivated to do my job?”. If the answer is “no”, most probably you don’t feel empowered to make decisions and define the way you work, or so overwhelmed with the workload that you don’t feel you are able to cope with it any longer. 
  3. Not being rewarded for efforts. The statistics can do the talking: according to the OC Tanner research, 79 percent of employees who quit their jobs claim that lack of appreciation was a major reason for leaving, and the oGoLead research revealed 60 percent of people are more motivated by recognition than money.
  4. Not being part of a thriving community. Work relations, deprived of emotional depth and the sense of belonging, alienate employees, especially with the rise of remote work. 
  5. Not being treated fairly. The lack of fairness is a tipping point to propel employees to burnout. If you don’t feel you are respected, this is a warning sign.
  6. Having to adhere to the wrong values. It can be challenging to adhere to the alien values or to work for a company that regularly fails to deliver on its proclaimed values. If you feel dissonance between the job you do and your sense of what’s right, you may be at risk of burnout. 

To assess your state, Matt Plummer, the founder of Zarvana, suggests asking yourself these questions from time to time: 

  • Workload: Is the quantity, difficulty, or emotionality of my work too much?
  • Control: Am I generally motivated to do my work?
  • Reward: Do I feel thankful for my job regularly?
  • Community: Would I like to attend a social function with my co-workers?
  • Fairness: Do I feel respected by my company and superiors?
  • Values: Am I proud of my company?

Source: Inc. These Are the 6 Signs You're Heading Toward Burnout, According to the Berkeley Professor Who Pioneered the Term

Written by Anna