With 2022 fast approaching, many business owners and workers alike are feeling the last-minute rush that the festive season brings. With the pressure of end-of-year targets and the rush to get work completed so we can all start the new year with a fresh start, motivation and patience wears thin, and thus the risk of burnout is heightened. As HR Consultants, we understand the importance of looking after yourself during these times, and the devastating effects that mental health issues can have on you, your employees and on your business. In this blog, we’ll be discussing some of the steps you can take to protect and help yourself and your employees who may be struggling with burnout.

First, let’s cover what exactly burnout is.

According to Mental Health UK, burnout is a “state of physical and emotional exhaustion”. It is usually caused by prolonged stress, specifically derived from the workplace. Over the past two years, there’s been a continued change in routine within all industries around the world, which could be a major factor in added stress in many workplaces. Remote, flexible/hybrid and office working can all affect people differently, and being suddenly thrown into different ways of working can be hard.

A study from Capterra, concludes that 54% of their respondents said that stress increased when working from home due to there being no separation between work and personal life, so those within purely remote positions may be feeling that struggle.

Recognising burnout:

A study from THE OUT reported that 70% of people have experienced burnout in the last 12 months, which is a staggering figure. With this in mind, one would assume it would be easy to spot. However, it can be difficult to recognise, especially in remote working environments.

Have you noticed a change in someone’s behaviour? Do they seem less productive and more negative? These are some of the qualities someone experiencing burnout may display. Handling this may be particularly difficult, as it involves the personal feelings of the individual, but treading lightly with an open and kind mind will make them see how important and respected they are within your company.

Other signs may include:

  • Negative outlook
  • Feeling hopeless and alone
  • No sense of accomplishment
  • Loss of motivation
  • Tiredness and/or a drained feeling

And of course, try to recognise it within yourself, do you feel any of these burnout signs? You can then start to think: What do you need to change? After taking the time out to ponder on this, make sure to focus on looking after yourself during these stressful times, and don’t forget:

“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
― Eleanor Brownn

Helping your employees:

What can you do to battle burnout? Below are just some of the main areas to address…

  • Talk about it

It’s important to check in with your employees, especially over this pressure-filled period. Normally this time of year is stressful, even without the added strain from the pandemic, and some may need extra support. Remember that the simplest of actions can make all the difference: an “Are you okay?” may truly help someone out.

Along with this, 1-to-1’s, group catch-ups and informal chats can all make someone feel more open to talking about how they’re feeling, and why they may be feeling that way. A strong workplace support network can help people know that they aren’t alone. It lets them know that any thoughts and concerns will be heard and that they will be helped.

  • Take mental health seriously

One of the most important steps in avoiding employee burnout is to be sure to take mental health seriously. Depression, anxiety, and other MH problems can sadly be ignored or degraded in the workplace, which can worsen symptoms. It’s crucial to remember that mental health issues can affect anybody and that burnout doesn’t just happen in ‘bad’ workplaces. You can help keep mental health prioritised by appointing a mental health first aider or even training yourself with MFHA.

  • Check your workplace culture

Some causes of burnout in the workplace can be due to a poor culture fit. For example, if you currently prioritise deadlines, with heavy time pressures and workloads, this is obviously likely to cause stress. Consider hiring more people to increase capacity, rather than praising people for staying late and overworking.

It’s also important to make sure communication between managers and employees is on top form: are they well-trained, up to date and the best fit for the team? If you are in a remote working position and are struggling with how to communicate with your employees virtually, take a look at our previous blog for tips.

Helping yourself:

Think about you for a moment, have you used the above topics to help for your own anxieties? If not, then please do so, and also make sure to:

  • Speak to loved ones, others in your workplace, and professionals
  • Take a break
  • Focus on self-care
  • Try to fix any problems that your burnout is being fuelled by

Take it one step at a time, and we promise you’ll come out the other side better than you’ve ever been.

333 can help:

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with burnout or for any other HR Support, please feel free to get in touch.  We’re here to help you and your employees, at any time. This last slog of the year can be hard, but your business and you can come out stronger in the end. Call 0333 050 3330, use our contact page or email us at lisa@triplethreesolutions.co.uk.