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The concept of employee burnout has never been as real as it has been in the year 2020. Thanks to the incredibly drastic turn of events that occurred this year, it has become crucial that organizations take stock of their employee’s mental health and well-being.

It’s common for companies to offer praise and incentives for individuals who put in the extra mile and get the desired results. These incentives are in place to help push people into outperforming themselves and their peers. The monetary rewards act as great motivators, but they also have a dangerous side effect!

When was the last time you heard of organizations rewarding an employee for taking good care of themselves and their mental health? There are barely any rewards in place here. In fact, this is barely even a topic of discussion for most companies as they see the performance at work to be the ultimate judge of all parameters.

During this point in our collective history, the topic of mental fortitude has become more relevant than ever. Helping employees prevent burnout is a crucial part of running a quality organization.

To shed some light on this crucial sphere of work, we discuss the concept of burnout and how an organization can help prevent an employee from facing this dilemma.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a phenomenon that occurs in the mental state of an individual when they have worked themselves to the point of physical or mental exhaustion. It is a fact that every individual has a limit or a threshold beyond which they’re incapable of performing competently.

This threshold tends to vary significantly from one person to another, and it also differs based on an individual’s line of work. This also comes down to every individual having a different breaking point whether physical or mental work. Some people are capable of performing physical tasks endlessly, but they can experience burnout pretty quickly when challenged mentally.

For others, the case works the same in the opposite scenario. They can have a massive mental threshold, but they can face physical burnout quickly.

What is the reason behind the burnout at work?

There are various other complex factors at play that determine an individual’s point of burnout. Some of these include an individual’s level of passion, concentration, motivation, and engagement.

Of all these factors, it is widely considered that the level of satisfaction experienced by a person in their work line has a direct impact on their burnout levels. If a person is in love with their job, they will be able to work themselves to the bone daily without ever experiencing any burnout of any kind. They don’t think of their “work” as work, but as passion.

Any amount of time invested in a job that a person enjoys is time well spent as far as the individual is concerned.

If a person is lucky enough to find a line of work that they enjoy deeply on every level, it is likely they’ll never experience burnout in their life.

Unfortunately, a vast majority of the population never finds a job that they care so deeply and passionately about. Most jobs come down to the bottom line which is money and the possibility for growth.

In such cases, these people are more prone to experiencing stressors.

Stressors are factors in a person’s line of work that contribute to building up stress in a person’s life. Every person has a different set of stressors and it is important to be wary of these factors. Some of the most common stressors include factors such as lack of recognition, extended work hours, lack of social bonding, lack of self-care time, the uncertainty of the future, and poorly defined roles.

If preventive measures are not taken to combat these stressors, they tend to build and compound over time. Given insufficient time and lack of the right measures, these stressors can lead to burnout.

Why burnout is dangerous

As previously mentioned, burnout is highly dangerous for an individual, but it has a negative effect on the organization. The toll that takes on a person’s emotional, mental, and physical states can be truly dangerous. This problem needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.

When it comes to burnout, acting preemptively is the key. There is no telling how a person is responding to these challenging times, hence an organization must keep a check on this factor by having measures in place to prevent the build-up of stressors.

If your employee is feeling emotionally or mentally distressed, it acts out in a particular set of ways. This includes an individual feeling irritable, emotionally detached, having high tempers, or feeling low.

Physical burnout has its own set of recognizable symptoms as well. Some of these include sleep disorders, developing headaches or migraines, and even issues to do with cardiovascular health.

How to prevent burnout

It is not all that complicated to have measures in place to help prevent employee burnout. You can either do this yourself within the organization or you can employ the help of organizations such as Talenx.io that will help you with this endeavor.

To successfully tackle the issue of burnout, you need to pay attention to a few key factors. These factors will help motivate and engage an employee and ensure that the concept of burnout is beyond their reach. We discuss these factors in the section below.

Autonomy

It is a great advantage to an organization when their employees can carry out their work in an autonomous manner. This not just works well for a company, but it also makes an employee feel important and valued.

The goal here is to empower employees to take charge of their respective roles and even take ownership of their actions. Whether it’s achieving a set goal or the completion of a project, accountability is key.

Employees should feel like they have the power and control to be able to carry out the task assigned to them. They should also not feel restricted in their operation. They should have the liberty and freedom to explore their own paths and think outside the box.

You can support them in this endeavor by reviewing their work from time to time. During these reviews, you can provide invaluable feedback on their work and even validate a job well done.

It helps an employee know that their work is being closely monitored and appreciated by their peers and superiors. It motivates them to work harder as they feel like their actions are being valued by the organization.

Sense of belonging

An organization is a fictional entity. The only real thing about them is the employees and personnel who make up any given group. For a person to contribute meaningfully to a cause, they should feel a sense of belonging to the larger group.

There is a need for affiliation with the organization within each person that acts as a powerful motivator. You can stoke this fire by creating an open platform within the organization and allowing individuals to have the platform to speak their minds. Access to such a platform is truly crucial.

Employees need to feel like they have a safe space within the organization where they can be heard. They should have an outlet to share their ideas.

It’s also important for employees to feel a sense of community within the organization. Apart from being able to share their professional point of view, they should also be comfortable discussing personal interests.

You can improve the bonding between the members of your organization by making them collaborate on tasks from time to time. Even organizing team building and team bonding exercises is a great way to build your group’s strength.

Once a person feels like their work is a larger subsection of their social peers, they will be more willing to work harder towards the company’s common goals. If all the goals of individuals align with organizational goals, the results will be truly spectacular.

Challenging work

Boredom is one of those silent stressors that takes an immense toll on the mindset of an individual. If a person does not feel challenged in their line of work, they’ll probably lose interest very quickly. This will directly affect the quality of their performance in the short run and long run.

For a member fully engaged, it’s first of all vital to assign the right individual for the right task. This comes down to having an excellent human resource department or enlisting the help of an organization such as TalenX.io. They will help you find the right employees for the right roles and ensure that you have an ideal fit on every level.

Once an employee is a part of your organization, you can continue to counter boredom by helping them engage deeply with their work. This requires finding a balance between their comfort zone and exploring the boundaries outside their comfort zone. Gently nudging an individual towards expanding their horizon is the key to help them counter boredom at all points.

The notion of competition

Handling competition within a company can be a tricky business. It is an unspoken truth that every person wants to improve their standing within the organization. Despite being a part of a larger team, an individual also strives to step into the spotlight. People want to contribute to the team but also want their contributions to be recognized.

It is the role of the organization to maintain a healthy environment of competition within the organization. This can be done by being completely fair and honest with your group.

When the rightful individual receives the promotion that they deserve, no one feels bad about it. The politics and discontent only begin to brew when undeserving individuals rise to the top while the hard workers are left at the ground level.

You can do this by maintaining transparency within the organization. Allowing employees to witness the rankings or hierarchy within the team is a great step. If people know exactly where they stand in the organization and what they need to do to rise to the top, everything becomes a lot easier.

Excitement

Apart from a handful of jobs, most roles tend to be repetitive. How does the organization counter this, you may ask? The answer lies in making work a little more exciting to all parties involved.

If it’s possible to shift the dynamics of a role slightly to garner a bit of uncertainty, it can be great for a person. Handing out research-based tasks where the outcome is uncertain is an excellent method of doing this.

When a person knows everything about their line of work, they feel little excitement every day. A great job is one that can challenge and excite an individual. If they get to learn something new from a job they’ve been in for a decade, it can be a great atmosphere for an individual.

Final thoughts

If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that employees are the heart of any organization. Without the cooperation of millions of people around the world, the economy would have come to a standstill during the lockdown.

Workers all over the world took one for the sake of the larger good and continued to work impeccably to keep companies afloat.

Once this disaster subsides entirely, we believe that organizations should repay this favor by focusing more on employees’ happiness levels.

Preventing burnout is the least that can be done for their sake!

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