Work burnout is no joke. You’re stressed. You’re fatigued. The work is piling up with no end in sight. And it’s all starting to take a toll on your health, both mental and physical.
A study conducted in 2018 by Blind, a workplace app, revealed that nearly 60 percent of tech employees consider themselves burnt out. The extra pressure to succeed and the competitiveness inherent to the tech industry tends to create a breeding ground for work exhaustion. And burnout is far from just an individual struggle. Given that it leads to less productivity, less creativity, and poor talent retention, burnout has a significant impact on the entire business.
This issue is not without solutions, however. No matter where you work, here are some concrete steps to take to stop work burnout in its tracks.
5 preventative steps to combat work burnout
Self-care is not just a trendy term
The idea of taking some “me time” when you’re overwhelmed with work might seem ridiculous. There are only 24 hours in a day, and you’re already spending far too many of them with your face lit up by a screen.
But if you’re concerned about work burnout, you really need to make time for yourself. This doesn’t mean taking time off work, but finding a few minutes for self-care here and there throughout your day.
Leaving your desk to grab a midday coffee is one way to go about it. If the weather is nice, you can suggest having a meeting outside instead of the usual conference room to take in the fresh air. It can even be as simple as looking away from your screen for 5 to 10 minutes. Together, these seemingly insignificant breathers become pretty significant when work-related stress starts to rise and begins to severely impact your overall health.
And if you’re worried about the time you’re spending on this, consider that “me time” can actually reboot your brain, helping you with concentration and productivity. So those minutes you spend meditating will be made up exponentially when you return to your work.
Communication is key
When the stress you’re experiencing is directly linked to the work you do every day, then a key step would be to have a chat with your supervisor. Keeping it to yourself won’t lead to many benefits, but if your manager or team lead is aware that you’re reaching (or have reached) a state of work burnout, then a solution-based conversation can take place. Mental health resources and adjustments to your workload can come into play in order to ensure that you don’t reach that state again.
Although it might not lead to tangible solutions, finding a listener among your colleagues can also improve your well-being. Carrying burnout alone can get quite heavy, but speaking to someone you trust may take the load off. So, finding a supportive teammate with whom you can share your worries can also serve as a burnout prevention tactic.
Fun is not to be taken lightly
All work and no play brings burnout someday (that’s how that goes, right?). If you or someone on your team is feeling stressed or overwhelmed, fun activities not related to work but involving your colleagues can breathe joy back into your job. Spending a few days in the wilderness, going out for karaoke, showing off your cooking skills at a company potluck, or even having a beer or two can improve the way employees feel about their workplace environment. Not dreading that trip into work each morning will go a long way in combating stress and anxiety.
And don’t wait for your managers or CEOs to organize activities. Take initiative and round up the troops if you’re feeling inspired. Regularly-scheduled team outings can also go a long way in adding some light at the end of every tunnel.
Think about why you’re doing the job you’re doing
This one may be the toughest of all, but it can work towards improving your well-being if you’re reaching the breaking point. Take a moment to remind yourself why you’re in this position in the first place.
- Why are you in this job?
- How does your work impact other individuals?
- How can you infuse more meaning into your professional routine?
Thinking of the reasons why your job may be a calling instead of an eight-hour-long daily chore can give you a fresh perspective.
Many people don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing what jobs they work, of course. Even in those situations, considering your job purpose can reset your motivation. If the goal of each workday is the paycheck you get every couple of weeks, put that paycheck at the front of your mind. What are you working towards? What are your personal goals? Put your work in perspective and you’ll quickly find that you approach the job with rekindled purpose.
From collaboration to motivation
A collaborative atmosphere at work is also not something to disregard when it comes to preventing burnout. Isolation is the foe (this is especially true for remote workers), while teamwork is the friend. Working collectively not only makes one feel supported, but it increases innovation and productivity.
Plus, collaboration inherently causes more awareness among coworkers about individual challenges and struggles. This awareness can lead to more considerate delegation of work. It may also result in the improvement of internal processes which create stress or fatigue for certain team members.