Employee burnout is physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that accompanies workplace stress and makes employees feel dissatisfied with their work. Employees are a company’s most valuable asset, and employers should pay special attention to their mental health and overall happiness at the workplace. 

This is because anything that comes in the way of the two can easily affect employees’ morale and the company’s production. However, it can be difficult for most mid-sized and large companies to spot employee burnout. As a result, employers could easily be burning out employees without realizing it. 

Here is what you need to know about employee burnout, its causes, signs, and how to manage it. 

Difference Between Employee Burnout and Depression 

Employee burnout is a type of unmanaged stress that is work-related. On the other hand, depression is a severe medical condition resulting from many factors and exhibits long-term and recurring symptoms.

It is worth noting that cases of depression are best managed using medications, while a healthier working environment can manage employee burnout. 

Common Causes of Employee Burnout 

Various factors contribute to employee burnout in the work environment. They include:

1. Unrealistic workload

Assigning too much work with little time to do it will increase cases of employee burnout. Deadlines will pile up, making the employees feel overwhelmed. 

2. Unreasonable time pressure 

If employers allow their employees enough time to do their job, they will not experience burnout.

However, imposing unreasonable deadlines will result in enormous pressure on the employees. Employees who miss one deadline will fall behind on their work and become less motivated.

3. Lack of role clarity 

If employees do not know what the supervisor or employer expects, they will feel uncomfortable and more exhausted at the workplace. Therefore, discussing job expectations with employees is always best to avoid confusion and unnecessary job stress. 

4. Lack of social support 

Employees who feel isolated in their personal life and work environment are more likely to feel stressed while performing their duties. In the long run, this will worsen and result in burnout if the employee does not get social support from colleagues or management. 

Signs of Burnout In Employees

Employees who experience burnout at work will get less work done and perform poorly. The following are the most common signs of employee burnout in workplaces:

1. Increased cynicism 

As an employer, it can be challenging to spot increased cynicism among employees. Most of the time, increased cynicism is spotted by colleagues. However, employers can always tell if a cynical attitude is developing among their employees by engaging them in conversations. 

For instance, if employees respond sarcastically to advise or feedback, it could signify their passion for the job has dwindled.

Workplace cynicism is something to take seriously as it can significantly affect employees’ trust in their colleagues or the company’s leadership. If the issue is not mitigated in good time, the company’s production levels will suffer immensely. 

2. Increased mistakes 

Another sign of employee burnout is the inability to concentrate. If employees’ concentration levels are low, they will constantly make mistakes or even forget crucial deadlines and company meetings.

Also, such employees will switch from one project to another because they feel like they cannot get the job done. 

Therefore, if employers notice that one of the employees is having difficulty concentrating at work or meeting deadlines, it is best to talk to them. Ensuring that they inquire about the things that may be stressing them at the workplace and help the employees cope with the problem healthily. 

3. Increased absenteeism 

Employees experiencing burnout usually suffer emotional, mental, and physical symptoms. Therefore, such employees are likely to take time off or miss work more often.

Employees experiencing or on the verge of burnout usually take these days off with the hope that they will come back feeling refreshed and motivated. 

However, it is not always the case. Frequent absence means a shorter time to meet deadlines. The employee will feel even more stressed and miss more work days.

4. Exhaustion 

It is normal to feel exhausted after long working hours. However, if employees constantly complain about feeling exhausted, especially in the morning, they may be experiencing burnout.

Severe cases of burnout increase employees’ stress levels and make it difficult for them to relax or even sleep at night. 

This would explain why employers are likely to hear employees complaining of exhaustion, muscle ache, or headaches when they report to work early in the morning.

In some cases, the issue of exhaustion may transform into something more serious such as hallucinations, inability to concentrate, physical pain, and difficulty recalling information. 

How to Manage Burnout Employees 

As an employer or manager, there are various effective ways of managing burnout among employees and helping them rediscover their passion for the job. They include:

1. Talk to your employees. 

As a company’s leader, knowing what is happening with employees is almost impossible unless you engage them.

It is crucial to ensure that managers schedule one-on-one meetings with the employees to get their feedback and learn how they feel about things in the company. During these sessions, they learn new information that may be causing employee burnout.

For instance, the environment may be toxic, or the employees may struggle to meet strict deadlines. Conversing with employees will help develop adjustments that make everyone feel comfortable in the company. 

2. Reward your employees 

Most of the time, employers offer performance-based rewards to their employees, which sets them on the path to severe burnout. This is because the employees usually feel obligated to work hard to receive these rewards like everyone else. An employer needs to rethink how they reward their employees and offer incentives.

For instance, employers can reward employees solely because they matter to the company so that employees feel appreciated for their work. 

3. Prioritize mental health 

There are many news articles about the horrific endings of employees who have had their mental health ignored at the workplace for many years. Employers should take employees’ mental health seriously to avoid such occurrences. 

Prioritizing employees’ mental health can be as simple as ensuring everyone is taking care of themselves, promoting outside breaks, implementing a wellness program, or increasing natural light in the office. 

4. Don’t micromanage 

Many employers are always tempted to micromanage their employees to ensure that they make progress. However, constantly micromanaging employees put them in a tight spot and is likely to increase their stress levels. 

Managers should trust employees to do the job with minimum supervision. Showing employees that you trust them will enhance their confidence and reduce burnout cases in the company. 

In a Nutshell,

Employee burnout is a serious problem that employers should address. Creating a healthy and supportive working environment where everyone feels appreciated should be every employer’s focus. If unsure where to start managing employee burnout among remote employees, consider reaching out to Workpay for help.


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