Burnout and stress can both make for overwhelmed employees who don’t give their best effort to the job because they no longer enjoy it. Typically, continuous unresolved workplace stress causes the feeling of burnout. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as a sensation of feeling mental distance from the job, low energy, negative and cynical about most things, and unproductive.
Misconceptions About Stress
Some employees and managers feel that stress is good because it can cause the adrenaline rush necessary for creativity and meeting deadlines. However, too much stress for too long can have a devastating impact on the physical and mental health of employees. In 2018, the research firm Gallop Poll announced that a full-two thirds of American workers currently experience job burnout or have in the past.
How Can Employers Help?
Employers should understand that most workers already feel some degree of stress from their personal lives before even arriving at work. While companies may not be able to help that apart from offering family-friendly policies, it’s entirely possible to reduce stress on the job that leads to burnout. One simple way to start is to speak to employees frequently to evaluate their stress level and to start looking for and recognizing signs of burnout. For example, tardiness, absenteeism, and missing deadlines may go beyond just behavioral issues to genuine problems with job burnout.
Recognize Employees for Their Hard Work
When an employee gives even more than expected, recognizing and appreciating their efforts is the least an employer can do. Although workers certainly appreciate verbal thanks, it’s also a good idea to go beyond that sometimes and provide a small token of appreciation such as a gift card for dinner or an entertainment venue.
Let Employees Know About Resources
Employee assistance programs, on-site gyms, and recognition of mental health are simple ways for employers to demonstrate concern for the well-being of employees. Be sure to let each new employee know these resources exist as soon as possible.
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