By Steve Miller, Provisional Psychologist

    Burnout can present as a sudden lack in confidence in one’s abilities. It can manifest as an employee convinced their work will always be rejected or who becomes more tentative than usual.

    This may result in loss of confidence and can also leech into personal lives, with people believing that they’re incompetent, disliked or unwanted.

    Burnout can sometimes lead to depression with feelings such as lethargy and disconnection and physical ailments including such as headaches, digestive issues and increased susceptibility to flu and colds.

    There are certain steps that colleagues, co-workers, employers and even high-ranking employees can take to reduce employee burnout, which is also supported by research.

    1. Ensure that fellow co-workers are not disrespected or devalued but that their role is affirmed and appreciated.
    2. Encourage a sense of social belonging through activities that might foster belonging-affirmation intervention (e.g. writing about a sense of belonging within a company, especially for minorities or groups that may be under-represented). This has been shown to reduce not only employee burnout but increase the duration of the employee lifecycle.
    3. Look to ensure that the correct people with a higher rate of personal self-efficacy are employed and retained especially in leadership positions. Research has found that those with higher rates of the personality variable self-efficacy have more optimistic self-beliefs. This in turn results in lower employee burnout, as they tend to use control coping strategies for environmental demands. This is the ability to change the given situation instead of using merely avoidance control strategies.
    4. Maintain boundaries between ones working life and their actual life. This might be achieved by ensuring that the latest technological advancements for the working life (ie. mobile phone, laptop, tablet) remain solely at work.
    5. Aim to have in place a good complaints system with its own department (i.e Human Resources) in order that employee complaints (eg excessive workloads and unrealistic time constraints) are addressed as soon as possible.
    6. Lastly, research has shown that exercises such as Yoga may be a useful tool for coping with burnout if all other prevention methods have been exhausted.

    Photo: Luis Villasmil

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