I wrote the Amazon bestseller, “Back After Burnout” as a guide for entrepreneurs who have burned out to find their way to a life of joy and prosperity. But, founders and executives are not the only ones who experience burnout. In fact, many people lose interest in their jobs for a variety of reasons. I was curious about how business leaders look at the problem of occupational burnout, and how they address it. Of course, employer and employee interests are not always aligned. So, consider that lens when reviewing their advice below. Though I disagree with some of the tactics, I love the spirit of each of these responses to the question, “What is one unique sign of occupational burnout that you look for among your staff, and how do you address it?”
Here’s what they said:
- Addressing Attitude Changes with Job Rotation
- Reviving Interest through Task Diversification
- Tackling Meeting Cancellations with Responsibility Shifts
- Rekindling Passion through Open Conversations
- Boosting Productivity with Wellness Programs
- Reducing Miscommunication with Team Activities
- Combating Withdrawal with an Open-Door Policy
- Revitalizing Engagement with Personalized Plans
- Breaking “Soundboard Silence” with Flexible Hours
- Clarifying Expectations to Enhance Focus
Addressing Attitude Changes with Job Rotation
A subtle, yet impactful, sign of occupational burnout I’ve found is a significant change in an employee’s attitude towards their work environment or colleagues. If a formerly positive, engaged, and cooperative individual shows signs of withdrawal, cynicism, or disengagement, it’s often an indicator of burnout.
To address this, I implement a rather unconventional method: I permit the employee to work for another company for six months. Though seemingly disruptive, such an approach can provide a fresh perspective and reignite their enthusiasm, bringing them back revitalized and ready to contribute anew.
Reviving Interest through Task Diversification
One unique sign of burnout that I’ve identified among my staff is consistently missing deadlines. This isn’t always a sign of work overload, but could also mean a lack of motivation or engagement because of repetitive tasks.
When I noticed this, I had a one-on-one conversation with the employee involved. We talked about their workload, their responsibilities, and what might cause their delayed submissions. It turned out that the monotony of the tasks was causing a feeling of burnout. To address this, I decided to diversify their responsibilities, giving them a mix of tasks, some familiar and some new. This change not only brought variety into their daily routine but also sparked their interest and motivation.
Tackling Meeting Cancellations with Responsibility Shifts
At QBench, we like to go easy on meetings and regularly re-evaluate standing meetings. Our belief is that the ones remaining on the calendar are important and most people should be able to make some time for them.
If a staff member is repeatedly canceling attendance, then it’s a warning sign for burnout. We usually check in with the person after the second or third cancellation. There are non-burnout reasons for cancellation. If burnout is determined to be the cause, we work with the staff member to change responsibilities and allocate some additional time off.
Rekindling Passion through Open Conversations
As CEO of Authors On Mission, I’ve learned to spot subtle signs of occupational burnout. One unique sign is a shift in work-related passion. Passionate employees tend to have lively discussions, contribute ideas, and show enthusiasm about their projects. When burnout creeps in, this spark often dims noticeably.
Addressing this involves open, empathetic conversations. I encourage them to share their feelings and challenges. Providing flexible work arrangements or time off to recharge can be beneficial. Most importantly, I foster a supportive environment that prioritizes mental health and ensures employees know their well-being matters.
Last, we also invest in resilience-training and wellness programs, reinforcing the importance of self-care and providing employees with tools to manage stress and avoid burnout. This proactive approach is key to maintaining a healthy, engaged team.
Boosting Productivity with Wellness Programs
In the information technology industry, a unique sign of occupational burnout to look for is a decline in productivity and engagement. The demands of the IT field can be intense, leading to stress and exhaustion. Signs of decreased productivity, missing deadlines, or reduced enthusiasm during team meetings raise a red flag for potential burnout.
To address burnout, it’s important to prioritize open communication and employee well-being. Regular one-on-one meetings provide a safe space for staff to express concerns and challenges. Promoting work-life balance and flexible working hours empowers staff to manage their workload effectively. Fostering a supportive work environment, encouraging breaks when needed, and offering wellness programs to support mental and physical health are also beneficial.
Reducing Miscommunication with Team Activities
Burnout can happen to any employee, especially if they have been working non-stop for a long time. This results in some being more irritable than others. Because of this, some employees end up having miscommunications with other employees. This slows down productivity and creates an unhealthy environment.
Hence, if you see an uptick in office miscommunication, then this is a sign that there are people experiencing burnout. Solving this may not be easy, but introducing more relaxing and team-friendly programs, such as team-building activities or team dinners, should be done.
This should be followed with a revisit for their current job descriptions and tasks to ensure that they are only doing what is humanly possible to prevent further burnout.
Combating Withdrawal with an Open-Door Policy
One unique sign of occupational burnout among my staff is withdrawal from other staff members or projects they were once invested in. This can manifest itself in a few different ways, including lack of communication, refusing to take part in team activities, or turning down opportunities for collaboration. In order to address this issue, I have an open-door policy where staff can come and talk to me in private about any issues they are facing.
Additionally, I encourage team-bonding activities regularly so that everyone can stay connected. Finally, I provide support and resources for employees struggling with burnout, such as flexible working hours or vacation days if needed.
Revitalizing Engagement with Personalized Plans
One unique sign of occupational burnout that I look for among my staff is a noticeable decline in their enthusiasm and engagement during team meetings and brainstorming sessions. When an employee who used to actively contribute ideas and participate in discussions starts to appear indifferent, it may be indicative of burnout.
To address this, I prioritize regular one-on-one meetings with my team members to check in on their well-being and understand their concerns. During these conversations, I create a supportive space for them to express any frustrations or challenges they might be facing. By fostering open communication, I gain insights into the specific factors contributing to their burnout.
Once I identify the potential causes, I collaborate with the employee to develop a personalized action plan. This plan may include adjusting their workload, providing additional support, or offering resources for skill development or stress management.
Breaking “Soundboard Silence” with Flexible Hours
When I notice a once-vibrant staff member becoming unusually quiet during brainstorming sessions or losing their enthusiasm for innovative ideas, I immediately take note and act on it.
I either schedule a one-on-one talk to create a safe space for them to express concerns, or I adjust their workload and offer flexible hours to foster a healthier work-life balance. I use this opportunity to encourage open communication among team members and organize team-building activities to promote camaraderie.
By addressing “Soundboard Silence” promptly and compassionately, I recharge creativity and ensure my team’s well-being.
Clarifying Expectations to Enhance Focus
One of the most apparent signs of occupational burnout from employees is their opinions of their work. Some employees may struggle with productivity and focus, while others may be irritable, either with other members of staff or with their work. Many people within the travel industry are facing these problems.
One of the best ways to address these problems is to be really clear with these employees about what is expected of them. In many cases, they tend to be overwhelmed with their workload, or they strive for an impossibly high quality. By addressing this, they may realize that the bar isn’t as high as it seems.
Additionally, you should help to break up their day. Another big issue seems to be monotony, so finding new tasks that they can do while remaining productive can go a long way.