5 Ways to Prevent Workplace Burnout
Posted on 30-11-22 by Jack Woolsey
As we approach the end of the year with deadlines looming or targets to hit, coupled with the added goings-on which occur on the run up to Christmas, it is no surprise that pressure can build up and affect our mental health.
Regardless of the trigger, mental health issues can spill over into our work and create a vicious cycle whereby personal mental health issues impact our work and then in turn any work-related issues can impact our personal lives.
One work specific mental health issue is burnout.
Burnout can be defined as a syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress not being successfully managed, this leads to a lack of satisfaction and productivity within our careers.
Research conducted by Westfield Health in 2022 reported that 46% of UK workers are close to burnout, with the Glassdoor Economic Research team reporting that incidents of burnout have increased by 48% between 2021 and 2022.
As much as stress can provide the necessary pressure to thrive, this is only in moderation, and it is important to recognise when it might be too much. The relationship between burnout, depression and anxiety can create this vicious cycle whereby work and personal life impact one another and in turn exacerbate the symptoms experienced in both areas.
In modern day, especially with the work from home culture created by COVID, it is important to take the time to recognise any potential for burnout. Doing so will allow us to thrive long-term, both personally and professionally, rather than running ourselves into the ground by avoiding the bigger picture.
5 Ways to Prevent Workplace Burnout
1) Knowing when to switch off from work
Prior to the pandemic, most people worked from an office or workplace separate to their home – creating a natural, routine time to switch off for the day. Now with working from home common place in many industries, our workday can easily seep into our personal time.
If WFH, try and create a work space, take the time to plan your day as if you were in the workplace and when the time comes to clock off, take yourself out of the room and create that feeling of having arrived home from the office ready to recharge for the next day.
2) Set boundaries with yourself, colleagues, and managers
Understand your workload and your limits. Trying to juggle too many plates will only lead to them all smashing. Establish your limits, plan your weeks, understand when to say no and then communicate this with your team.
3) Create time for mental breaks
There is a tendency to walk away from your laptop on your lunch break, open your phone straight up and start dealing with a million and one other tasks – be it professional or personal. Sometimes, this is necessary – for example, you have a deadline which requires you to work through your lunch and that’s fine, but it’s important to recognise this time is given to allow your brain to recharge and go back in feeling refreshed. Use this time to let your brain do this when you can.
4) Create an open, supportive workplace environment
Whether you’re a junior member of the team, a line manager or even the director, it’s important to create a situation where employees/colleagues feel like they can communicate any issues, stresses, and potential triggers to burnout. Identifying this sooner can allow the creation of a plan to minimise the risk of burnout and protect employee mental health in turn allowing them to be their most productive and successful self.
5) Allow yourself recovery time
If you’ve had a particularly stressful period at work, allow yourself the time to relax and recover from this. Be this by completely switching off from work for the weekend or booking some time off to do the same. This will allow you to return to work back up at maximum productivity, rather then trying to continue at an unsustainable depleted level.
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