Posted by: healingtheworkplace | January 1, 2015

Healing the Workplace – How to Avoid Burning Out in 2015

Healing the Workplace – How to Avoid Burning Out in 2015

Years ago it used to be that burnout was only of concern to social workers and health care professionals. Now it seems that all of us are at risk for burnout. You can find the latest research on burnout in the article, Conquering Burnout, by Michael P. Leiter and Christina Maslach published in the January/February 2015 edition of Scientific American Mind.

Burnout is a syndrome that has three main components: exhaustion, cynicism and inefficiency. A syndrome is a group of symptoms that typically occur together.

There are lots of reasons why this syndrome should be of concern to both individuals and to the organizations that employ them. (Volunteers and informal caregivers are also prone to ill effects of burnout).

It seems to me that organizations are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve productivity and increase efficiency. Unfortunately workers who are suffering from burnout will be neither productive nor efficient.

Preventing burnout among workers may not be on top of the list but by educating themselves and taking the right steps employers can ensure that productivity and efficiency are not compromised.

According to Leiter and Maslach, the bottom line is that burnoutundoes a person’s ability to pursue a happy, healthy and productive professional life.”

Preventing burnout is something that organizations should pay attention to and there is a lot that can be done, here are a few suggestions:

  • Ensure that people have the tools and resources that they need to do their work (the right tools for the job and adequate resources)
  • Recognize and treat employees fairly and with respect (this applies to everyone in the organization not just supervisors and management)
  • Provide clear communication and keep employees “in the loop”, especially during times of change (which means always)

At an individual level we can prevent ourselves from becoming a victim of burnout by educating ourselves about what causes it and by being on the alert for possible signs that we might be at risk for it happening to us. Some of us are more at risk for burnout than others but by becoming aware of the causes of burnout we can take action to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Canadian leadership expert Lance Secretan has created a short job burnout survey that you can access on his website. If you are already experiencing the symptoms of burnout here are a few things that you should consider doing:

  • Talk to your employer (if you think that he or she will be open to finding solutions)
  • Visit your physician
  • Talk to a mental health professional (psychologist or social worker)
  • Tap into your employee health and wellness program (if you are one of the few workers lucky enough to have this type of resource)

Happy New Year!  The Dynamic Introvert Team!



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