Workplace issues seem to be on the rise as people are required to give more of their time to work. With the economy and challenges with unemployment rates throughout the nation, people often have to cope with bad work situations. Sometimes this dissatisfaction can grow not only into a stressful situation, but can lead you head first into workplace burnout.
Work related issues are often the source of burnout for people when they've experienced exposure to high levels of stress for extended periods, but what are the specific causes of the stress?
- Unclear communication from leaders - There are certain leaders who don't effectively communicate directives to his or her staff members. When this behavior occurs consistently it fosters an environment for possible workplace burnout to develop.
o Unrealistic expectations - Every work situation is going to encounter busy times that require increased workloads, but when the expectation creates a "nose is to the grindstone" environment then the stage is set for burnout.
o Fear of reprisal - Along with the unrealistic expectations is usually coupled a passive message of reprisal for failure. This underlying sentiment causes fear within the ranks, creates disengaged workers, mitigates open communication, and can result in poor service to clients.
o Lack of control - No one likes to be controlled, and when people aren't given a voice in the office to determine some aspects on how they accomplish tasks it sends a clear message of their lacking value to the organization.
o No recognition - When people work hard at doing a good job for an organization they should be recognized. Most employees would settle for a simple thank you. Leaders who miss this cue continue to disenfranchise their workforce, and build a growing level of dissatisfaction that eventually leads to reduced retention.
When people are placed in this type of environment, eventually the continued stress transitions to full blown burnout. So what signs should you look for if this is your story?
o A sense of exhaustion. You never feel rested, even on the weekends lying in that comfortable bed.
o Lack of Focus - You notice that your ability to concentrate has become more difficult. It might take you longer to do tasks that require you to analyze or evaluate data, and realize your memory is slipping because you're consistently forgetting processes and the instructions provided.
o Your Performance is Waning - Procrastination had never been a part of your vocabulary, but now you're struggling to meet your deadlines. Your performance or lack of it is getting noticed.
o Frustrated and Moody - You're finding it more challenging to be in those cubicles, and everything seems to be irritating. You're also struggling with co-worker relationships because people have to walk on egg shells around you.
o Dissatisfied and Apathetic - It doesn't really matter that all the areas of your work are slipping, and you could possibly be facing termination. Secretly you hope it happens, so you can just be free of your cubicle.
o Disengaged and Isolated - You've been worn down, and don't want to be bothered by anyone including outside of work. You don't talk to anyone, you stay to yourself, and you don't initiate or pursue things that brought a feeling of enjoyment in your life.
It's tragic that this occurs, so how can it be prevented? Here are 4 steps you can take to beat the burnout blues:
o Remind yourself about your talents and gifts - You might feel beaten down, but you need to remind yourself about your accomplishments and worth. Look at awards you've received, previous good evaluations, and other areas in your life where you're succeeding.
o Focus on the things you enjoy about your job- There might be some tasks or interactions that you enjoy. Try to find ways to increase your time doing those things without neglecting others.
o Take care of yourself - Get your sleep, some consistent exercise, eat a balanced diet, and spend time with the people in your life that care about you. Create a balance by not letting your mind wonder to work when you're at home.
o Make a Decision - If you've tried all these things, gone through your Employee Assistance Program, taken time off, and you're still feeling all the symptoms of burnout. You should seek some help through a counselor or your medical provider. Then start looking for a job, proactively save money, and get your health concerns addressed. Either the job is going to win or you. Untreated stress can lead to a myriad of serious medical conditions.
Therefore, don't let the flames of burnout catch up to you, but instead use this information to take control, make choices, and make changes that will lead to improved fulfillment and happiness in your life.