Gemma Hart works remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Gemma has gained experience in a number of HR roles but now turns her focus towards growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts in productivity and professional growth. Connect with her on Twitter: @GemmaHartTweets.
Burnout is a very common occurrence in workplaces around the world. It affects everyone from business leaders through to part-time employees, and its impact is considerable.
In fact, 48 percent of U.S. workers feel mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the workday, compared with 39% of the global average. With stress levels so high among workers and burnout a common occurrence, it’s time to take proactive steps to reduce burnout.
In this article, we explore all you need to know about burnout and how it can be reduced using organizational strategies.
Signs of Burnout in the Workplace
There are many signs of burnout and it can manifest itself differently depending on the individual. Some of the most common include:
- Regularly arriving late to work
- Reduced enthusiasm, goals, aspirations, and commitment
- Increased absenteeism
- Poor treatment of work colleagues
- Making careless mistakes
- Uncooperative behaviour
- Increased cynicism and apathy
The Great Resignation
Millions of employees are looking to quit their jobs in what has become known as ‘The Great Resignation’. After the life-altering impact of the coronavirus and the shaking effect it had on job security alone, many people are taking control of their lives and resigning from their jobs in pursuit of better things. In the words of organizational psychologist, Melissa Doman, “this generation-defining traumatic event has made them take a long, hard, honest look at how they constructed their life, or how their life was constructed for them.”
Perhaps you’re also considering quitting your job. However, before deciding to quit it’s important to consider how you can reduce burnout and job-related stress first. After all, if you don’t tackle the route of the problem you’ll just end up in a new job that leaves you just as stressed and burnout as your last job. It’s important to prioritize management strategies so that you can cope during high-stress times and take back control of your life. The strategies we have shared help reduce burnout so you can cope with stress and make big life decisions with clarity and confidence.
Common Causes of Burnout
Before you make changes to help address burnout, you need to understand what may have caused the burnout in the first place. Below we have listed the most common causes of burnout in the workplace:
👉 Lack of Control: many employees start to feel the creeping effects of burnout when they realize they have no/very little control over their work schedule, job assignments, workload, and work flexibility.
👉 Unclear Job Role and Expectations: it is not uncommon for burnout to be experienced by employees working in a role that hasn’t been fully clarified. If you are unclear about what your role entails and what is expected from you, you’re more likely to feel uncomfortable at work and experience burnout.
👉 Lack of Work-life Balance: sadly, many organizations encourage 80+ hours of work per week and applaud employees who rarely take time off. This encourages a negative work culture that values output over employee mental health and wellness. If work takes up most of your time and you are struggling to maintain any semblance of work-life balance, you are more likely to burn out quickly.
👉 Negative Working Environment: it goes without saying that a bad working environment can have a huge effect on burnout. Factors such as micromanaging, bad leadership, and feeling undermined by colleagues can all contribute to feeling burnout.
👉 Lack of Support: if you are struggling at work, it’s important to have people you can call on who can offer their support. Without the appropriate support, feelings of isolation can set in and you are likely to feel stressed. Lack of support is a common cause of employee burnout.
Below are the best strategies you can use to avoid burnout.
Book Time Off Regularly
If you can feel yourself burning out, it’s important to schedule time off. Taking regular breaks from work when you can is important for protecting your mental health and getting some rest. Some companies are now offering unlimited holidays, while others are providing mental health days so that you can get away from work and get the rest you need.
If you are already suffering from the effects of burnout, taking time off work may be a necessity in order to receive treatment. While it can feel daunting to request time off work for treatment, it is best to approach your employer as soon as you can so that you can get better.
Sometimes a well rested night will also keep you away from stress in a surprising way. A study by Sleep Junkie shows that 90% of supervisors who slept well believed it has a positive effect to work.
Schedule Your Time
One of the most effective ways to manage employee burnout involves scheduling workloads. Using scheduling software, you can schedule the time you want employees to make available for work or specific projects and how much time each task should take. These tasks can then be arranged in order of priority, ensuring time is made available for supervision needs and support.
At ClickUp, we provide the ultimate scheduling solution and created the one app to replace them all. You can store all your work in one place, schedule your tasks, manage your workload, upload your documents, chat with your colleagues, set goals, track your progress, and so much more. There is no better organizational tool and no better way to reduce burnout.
Delegate Work to Others
Burnout is so often caused by people who feel the need to tackle all work requirements on their own. Delegating is a great way to reduce symptoms of burnout. Below are some common daily tasks that could be delegated:
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Customer service
- Administrative tasks
- Data entry
- Packing and shipping
- Tech and IT support
Delegating to other people and automating as much work as possible will help free up time for other things, reducing your workload enough so that you have time to tackle those priority tasks. What’s more, thanks to the Multiple Assignees function you can now split up the work between members of your team. No matter how complex the work is, with the Multiple Assignees function you can get your best people working on it.
List Your Top Three Priorities
If you are approaching burnout, then it is time to evaluate your work priorities. You can’t reach all your goals or get all of your work done at once. Things have to be achieved one at a time, so it’s important to know what you would like to prioritize.
A helpful question to ask is, what are your top two or three top priorities? Once you know what your priority tasks are, your workload can be restructured around these. ClickUp’s Task Priorities function lets you flag what needs to be done, by who, and by when so that employees can plan their work schedule effectively. Prioritizing tasks in this way ensures your whole team stays on track, no matter how big the project is.
Another trick is to apply the Pareto principle, aka the 80/20 rule.
This is when you spend 80% of your time on the 20% of your tasks that are most important to you. Working in this way is often an effective way of preventing and reducing burnout.
💡 ClickUp Tip: You can also create task checklists on ClickUp to apply the Pareto principle.
Track Workplace Interruptions
How often are you interrupted while working? It could be a phone call, a meeting, a text notification, a coffee break, or a colleague stopping by for a chat. It might sound extreme but tracking your workplace interruptions is a great way to analyze how you spend your time so that you can make positive changes.
Jotting down every interruption throughout the day can be helpful for visualizing your distractions. It also allows you to eliminate any interruptions that are unnecessary. For example, do you get up from your desk every day at 10:30 am in search of something to eat? Keeping some snacks in your desk drawer could be a great solution, saving time spent searching the cupboards or heading to the shops. Small changes like this can help reduce wasted time, keep on top of your to-do list, and reduce burnout.
The Time Tracker feature from ClickUp is one of the best ways to track and manage your time. Whether you need accurate time tracking for invoicing or you need employees to better manage their time at work, ClickUp lets you time track with confidence.
Nobody is immune to the effects of burnout. However, it is possible to proactively take steps to avoid the effects of burnout in your professional life.
The most important thing to take away from this article is that, with the right organizational strategies, there are steps you can take, such as implementing a complete task management tool like ClickUp, to better manage your time and reduce the effects of burnout.