How to Combat Burnout in the Workplace?
In the midst of the pandemic, burnout became a pressing concern for many in Singapore, impacting mental health more than the restrictions themselves. Our work culture often prioritises professional responsibilities over personal well-being, leaving many feeling like machines rather than human beings.
In a survey of mental health across different Asian societies, Singapore was the only place where burnout was the leading factor affecting mental health during the pandemic.
For many, this looked like waking up just in time for work, continuing overtime and ending the day too tired to do anything else. Months into the process, this can make one feel more like a machine, than a human being.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines burnout as a “syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterised by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and reduced professional efficacy.”
It is a response from employees that could lead to an underlying problem in the way the workplace is structured. Burnout often comes out in the form of dread, anxiety, irritability and resentment.
With these feelings, one can be less productive and withdrawn, both at work and in one’s personal life.
How to Prevent Employee Burnout?
The most important asset to an organisation is its people and its employees’ well-being. And not addressing employee burn-out puts organisations at risk.
But worry not! There are ways to combat workplace burn-out. Here are four helpful tips that can create positive change:
Encourage Open Discussions
It's time to address the elephant in the room and have candid conversations about sensitive topics.
Working overtime, skipping lunch breaks, inadequate compensation – all these factors contribute to burnout. By opening up about these challenges, you can prevent your employees feeling burnt-out in the first place.
Prioritise Employee Well-Being and Benefits
At the heart of a thriving workplace lies the well-being of its employees.
It's crucial to let employees know that benefits are available for their use and that prioritising rest is essential.
In today's fast-paced society, finding time for rest can be challenging, especially when stress levels soar and tasks pile up. However, it's vital to recognise that operating from a constant state of anxiety and stress can take a toll on work output.
For optimal performance, employees must have their stress levels under control and feel well-refreshed and rested. Introducing a little playfulness in the workplace can go a long way!
This ensures that they can produce their best work and achieve their full potential. One way to foster a supportive work environment is by having regular check-ins or one-on-one meetings. Creating an open and trusting space allows employees to freely share their thoughts, ask questions, or express concerns.
Get to Know Your Employees on a Personal Level
It's important to go beyond the workplace and get to know your employees on a personal level.
Showing genuine interest in their lives outside of work reaffirms that they are more than just their job titles; they are unique individuals with dreams and passions. They are not mere products of the organisation, but valuable members who contribute their talents and hard work. When employees feel valued for who they are as people, not just for their roles, they develop a sense of irreplaceability.
This, in turn, boosts employee retention as they are more likely to stay committed to an organisation that recognises and appreciates their individuality.
Empower Employees to Prioritise Self-Care
Boundaries are rules that people set and abide by in order to protect energy, fulfilment and work-life balance.
Boundaries can look anything like not checking your phone past 6pm, or not working on the weekends. And employers should encourage employees to prioritise themselves. Setting boundaries is extremely important for work-life balance, and the best and hardest part is… you have to set and abide by them!
Addressing the question about how to combat burn-out in the workplace requires a collective effort.
Employers and employees alike must work together to foster a workplace that values well-being above all else.
By taking proactive steps, such as encouraging open discussions, prioritising employee well-being, fostering personal connections, and empowering self-care, you can pave the way to a happier, healthier work environment.
So, start the conversation and pave the path to a brighter, more empathetic future, where well-being is at the forefront of professional lives.