job burnout

Signs of Job Burnout

What is job burnout?

The mayo clinic describes job burnout as “a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Sound familiar? An estimated 11 million Americans are currently experiencing job burnout.  Left unchecked burnout can affect your health, happiness, relationships, and job performance. The best way to combat job burnout is to watch for the warning signs early and make adjustments

Signs you’re experiencing job burnout: 

Exhaustion: This is usually the first sign that appears. Exhaustion can be mental, emotional or physical. It can feel like a sinking feeling that your tank is always empty. When you have reached the burnout zone you may experience a feeling of dread for the upcoming week, have difficulty sleeping or staying asleep. Exhaustion can lead to a domino effect for the upcoming warning signs. 

Frustration:  You may find yourself having an increased amount of frustration with your work or with your coworkers. Minor roadblocks may cause you to lash out at peers and cause unexpected conflict. You may also start to appear to be more cynical and pessimistic.  Some may describe you as having a bad attitude, using increased sarcasm and being overly critical. 

Detachment:  Detachment can come in two forms, detaching from coworkers and/or detaching from your job. You may previously have had a great working relationship with your peers, maybe even a great social relationship. You used to find pleasure in your workplace enjoying happy hours, book clubs, walks around the building and lunches. But as burnout starts to creep in you may distance yourself from the activities you once loved. Turning down offers to go out to lunch, passing on happy hours, and later even avoiding interactions of any kind. 

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The next phase is to distance yourself from your actual job responsibilities. Calling in sick more often, not returning phone calls, or regularly coming in to the office late. It’s also the first stage in our next warning sign. 

Slipping job performance: You may be working long hours, weekends and evenings but you still can’t manage to get your work done? That’s because job burnout can often lead to a lack of productivity. More than likely it results in a lack of motivation and enthusiasm for the job you once loved. 

Inability to wind down:  We all need time to unwind before our next work day but with the ability to be connected 24/7 it can be difficult to get that time to recharge. If you find yourself preoccupied and expending mental energy thinking about work at home, then its interfering with your ability to recover from the stresses of the day. 

Increased health problems: Chronic stress can lead to a reduction in your immune system, making you more likely to get sick. Frequent illness can cause a spiral effect resulting in an increase in sick days or PTO. It can also cause additional effects on your lifestyle. A stressful work environment can lead you to pick up unhealthy habits that can trickle into your personal life such as compulsive spending, overeating, poor sleep and over-consumption of caffeine or alcohol.

Stress can also affect our ability to concentrate and retain information.  It can cause you to focus more on the negative elements of a problem affecting your ability to effectively solve problems and make wise decisions. 

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So what is causing an increase in employee burnout? 

24/7 Communication: The top reason should be no surprise. The ever increasing use of technology has made it possible for people to be alert and “on call” 24/7, creating an environment that makes it difficult to disengage and disconnected. Some employers may even expect you to be available 24/7 and checking your emails frequently during off hours.

Work/Life Balance: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says the average American spends 40% of their day dedicated to their job. As a result, the U.S ranks near the bottom for work-life balance among developed countries. 

Job expectations: Many employees experiencing job burnout have reported the following: 

∙       Unmanageable workload – high performing workers can quickly change attitudes with perpetual work overload. 

∙       Lack of role clarity – According to the state of the American workplace only 60% of workers know what is expected of them at work. 

∙       Lack of support from management – Employees that feel supported by their managers are 70% less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis. 

∙       Unreasonable deadlines –  Most often this is a top down issue. Aggressive deadlines can affect the quality of work, the workplace environment, and the employee’s attitude. 

Making sure your company focuses on great management is an excellent way to combat job burnout.  As several factors that can lead to job burnout can be eliminated by employee satisfaction with your company’s leadership. 

How can you prevent yourself from experiencing job burnout?

Take relaxation seriously!  Whether that includes a long holiday, walks during your break time, or unplugging from your phone each night, it’s important to be able to recharge in order to be a productive and happy employee 

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Focus on healthy connection at work – Develop workplace relationships that include respect, communication and trust. Make sure your team is taking time to build healthy bonds with one another through team building activities.  Or join a club within your workplace in to build relationships with members outside of your direct team. Make sure to establish a healthy work/life balance with your coworkers as well. 

Know when to step away – Unfortunately there will always be toxic work environments.  Know when it’s time to step away in order to maintain your well-being. 

Excel SoftSources prides itself on its focus on strong leadership, work/life balance and a happy, healthy workplace. We encourage our employees to build relationships through team building events, group lunches and work from home opportunities. Helping us to retain talented employees that will work hard for you! Come work with us. 

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