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Helping Employees Avoid Burnout Syndrome

written by: •edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 5/19/2011

A survey by ReliaStar Life Insurance concluded that 4 out of every 10 Americans are stressed by their jobs. Moreover employees who felt stressed were twice as likely to suffer from the burnout syndrome. Read on to know more about how to identify and deal with employee burnout syndrome.

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    What is Burnout Syndrome?

    Employee Burnout The burnout syndrome has become an increasingly major and costly issue that affects the employees of many organizations. Many Employee Assistance Programs and counseling programs have been initiated by organizations to counter the problem of burnout. As such, work lost to depression and other job stress costs the US organizations, an estimated $ 300 billion per year.

    Burnout syndrome is the mental, physical, and emotional effect of stress experienced by any employee of an organization and lowers the overall employee productivity. It is more like a pathological reaction to stress, which is caused at a work place resulting in lower efficiency and productivity. Many a times, work stress affects an employee’s personal life as well.

    The first sign of a burnout syndrome is frustration, which becomes chronic at a higher stage leading to fatigue, depression, and loss of efficiency. The early stage of burnout syndrome is when the victim loses his/her initial charm and works just for the sake of working and not because she/he enjoys his/her work or life anymore.

    Gradually, the victim becomes sluggish and can face an increase in the number of absences at work. Many people try to cope with burnout syndrome by over sleeping. However, eventually this syndrome begins to affect the immune system - making sufferers prone to colds, headaches, weakness and other health issues.

    Fortunately, by taking care of a few simple and cost effective steps, organizations can avoid or mitigate the impact of the burnout syndrome. To help the employee, it is first necessary to ascertain the causes of employee burnout so that they can be eliminated. The next section takes a look at this.

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    How to identify the causes of Employee Burnout?

    The first step is observation. The next step is to gather information like performance review reports and behavioral reports about the employee from other managers and colleagues. Analise the information and determine whether the syndrome has been a trend or a recent failure in performance. To help further, it may also be necessary to intervene by:

    Meeting the employee and getting to know him/her and his/her perception about productivity and performance. Following, let the employee know about the changes that have been noticed in his or her productivity and general attitude.

    It is a good idea to determine factors that could motivate the employee in changing his or her attitude.

    Next, identify new factors that may motivate the employee. This could be an area where the employee could be made to experience a sense of achievement. Secondly, the work of the employee should be recognized and appreciated and should also be rewarded.

    With a little bit of planning and organizing, employers can completely alleviate the chances of employees facing the burnout syndrome.

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    How to Deal with Employee Burnout?

    • Limit the overtime hours for all employees. Tasks should be systematically scheduled in a way to avoid overtime hours. Avoiding overtime hours would not only save the employees from work load but also save millions of dollars that are spent on overtime pay. Even when overtime is needed, inform the employees well in advance so that they can budget time away from personal matters and ease the disturbance caused by unplanned hours of work.
    • It is a great idea to plan for seasonal work demands in advance by employing temporary or part – time employees so that they can restrain the work of full time employees.
    • Allowing employees to do what they like and feel comfortable would help ease the stress. Some employees feel very comfortable working in casual attire, while other like to listen to music at the work place. Not always are organizations able to accommodate the likes of their employees. However they should try to do whatever they can, given the structure of the organization.
    • Having an Employee Assistance Program can be invaluable to an organization that experiences disruption at the work place.
    • A good physiologist or therapist could also help the employees of the organizations. Regular meetings with these professionals could minimize the risk of burnout syndrome.
    • Monotonous work also leads to victims of burnout syndrome. Shuffling of employees and rotating them around different work and make their daily routine for interesting.
    • Have one casual day per week where the organization does something which could make the employees happier at work is a good idea to mitigate the chances of a burnout syndrome. This could be anything from stocking coffee creamers or doing a sponsored breakfast or just anything that the employees collectively enjoy.
    • It is a great idea to encourage employees to get some fresh air and natural sunlight which could rejuvenate them and ease their fatigue during the work day. Providing comfortable seating would also help employees ease their tired minds and bodies.
    • Encourage employees to take vacations every now and then rather than taking a whole week off at a stretch. Shorter but more often vacations could also minimize the risk of employees facing the burnout syndrome.
    • Finally it is important to consult the employees and know how they feel. Proactive attempts by employers and managers could help keep stress levels down for employees.

    Following these steps to avoid employee burnout syndrome, you (as the manager) will not not only save a person's health and job but also help your team progress toward greater efficiency!

Using Human Resources in Small Business

This article series aims to offer information on how to hire and use talent to increase your company's performance. It covers how to hire new employees, how to train them for max performance and how to keep them motivated for excellence.
  1. Hiring Employees in a Small Business
  2. Tips on Increasing New Hire Productivity
  3. Using Employee Coaching to Increase Business Productivity
  4. Making Your Employees Part of the Team – How to Motivate Employees During Economic Slowdown
  5. Helping Employees Avoid Burnout Syndrome