What is burn out and how to manage when it happens?

Do you find you’re trying to engage people in the office and getting nothing back? Are your workers slow to respond to your e-mails, or forgetting that they received them? Do you struggle to connect with people at work or feel exhausted after an attempt at interaction. Are you getting nothing back in meetings. You might be feeling the results of burnt out employees.

Burn out is extremely common with in the workplace, these past two years it has become even more of a concern with the added emotional toll of COVID. Burn out is the consequence of a psychological gap between somebody’s current functioning and the expectations or responsibilities they have. Many things can impact a person’s current functioning or capacity and a person with burn out however may not always present as you would expect.

Some common symptoms are apathy, absences at work or arriving late, being slow to complete tasks and a low mood. Personality plays a major part here; more conscientious people may “hide” their burn out better than more “laid-back” people. In complete contrast however, somebody who previously was the office cheerleader may become moody or irritable.

Burn out looks different for everybody and it can lead to more tense interactions. It can be upsetting discovering that your employees are struggling. It can be easy to take it personally when receiving feedback that about pressures experienced by staff if the staff feel these are due to poor management. Your reaction in these interactions is important. If you (a team leader) are about to approach a staff member who appears to be falling behind, it is particularly important to prepare yourself for some negative feedback. Ideally, you want to approaching staff at a time that you feel able to listen without judgment or defensive responding. This will help to provide a culture of psychological safety, help your workers to feel supported and help to reduce the symptoms of burnout.

Burn out may be experienced on a personal level, however it needs to be addressed at an organisational/cultural level.

If you have concerns about experiencing burn out or would like further information how to foster a workplace culture, contact AXIS today.