Workplace burnout, officially recognized as an “occupational phenomenon” by the World Health Organization (WHO), has become a pressing concern in today's professional world. Characterized by severe fatigue, negativity, and reduced effectiveness due to chronic workplace stress, burnout demands our attention. It’s a collective buzzword, these days, but what are the key insights needed to recognize it, address it, and prevent it? Let’s dig in.
Burnout Is a Multidimensional Challenge
In the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), WHO defines burnout as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress with three key dimensions, which include:
1. Feelings of energy depletion
2. Increased mental distance from one's job
3. Reduced professional efficacy
Recognizing burnout involves assessing emotional or physical exhaustion, extreme negativity about one's role, and reduced effectiveness at work. According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index report, 60% of Gen Z workers between 18 and 25 years old say they are “merely surviving or flat-out struggling” with burnout and these feelings.
"Persistence is the quickest answer," advises Robert Bogue, president of AvailTek LLC. Taking a day of rest can also be a revealing test, he says. "Burnout persists even after you take a break."
Identifying and Addressing Burnout in Yourself Holistically
There’s a big difference between a slow day and burnout. Burnout goes beyond physical tiredness; it manifests when we cease to show up authentically and wholly. These mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual effects indicate a need for intervention.
Elizabeth Malson, president and founder of U.S. Nanny Institute, underscores the importance of acknowledging these feelings as the first step to addressing them. "Acknowledging burnout is the first step to addressing the emotional and physical symptoms of burnout," says Malson.
Once its presence is addressed, resolving burnout is a process that involves regaining balance, focusing on physical and mental recovery, and practicing self-care. These mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual effects indicate a need for holistic intervention, including lifestyle adjustments and mindfulness practices.
The Role of Employers in Fostering a Healthy Work Environment
Preventing burnout is a shared responsibility. With increased work demands and fewer resources, employees face a higher risk of burnout. Chuck Runyon, CEO and co-founder of Anytime Fitness, emphasizes the importance of focusing on team and values during challenging times. Employers can play a crucial role in preventing burnout by assigning tasks aligned with employees' strengths and interests, recognizing and rewarding efforts, and fostering a sense of purpose in the workplace.
Lauren Herring, CEO of IMPACT Group, adds, "It's hard to feel burned out when you're totally engaged in the work." Managers can contribute by understanding their team members' preferences and ensuring that they work on tasks that align with their interests.
In a world where burnout is on the rise, understanding its dimensions, recognizing the signs, and implementing effective strategies for recovery and prevention are paramount. As we navigate the complexities of modern work, open conversations, empathy, and proactive measures are crucial. Burnout is not an insurmountable challenge, but rather a call to action for individuals and organizations alike. By prioritizing well-being, fostering supportive work environments, and acknowledging the significance of work-life balance, we can collectively combat the scourge of burnout and build healthier, more resilient workplaces.
By prioritizing well-being, fostering supportive work environments, and acknowledging the significance of work-life balance, we can collectively combat the scourge of burnout and build healthier, more resilient workplaces.
This article was originally published in Certainty News.