How Can You Identify Burnout in the Workplace?

Updated on June 10, 2022

Burnout is a severe issue in the workplace because it can lead to employees becoming unproductive and even leaving their jobs. In some cases, burnout can also lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Therefore, businesses should work to address burnout in the workplace so that employees can stay healthy and productive.

So, how can you identify burnout in the workplace? There are a few key ways businesses can address burnout in the workplace before it becomes a major issue.

Why Focus on Employee Burnout

Before we get into the signs of burnout, understanding why businesses should focus on employee burnout is an important point. For one, addressing burnout can help improve employee retention. 

Employees who experience high levels of burnout are more likely to leave their jobs than those who don’t. Finally, burnout can lead to decreased productivity. When employees experience burnout, they’re less likely to be engaged in their work, leading to lower quality work and less work overall.

Signs of Burnout

Employers need to always be aware of the signs of burnout to be able to address the issue before it becomes a bigger problem.

Here are seven signs of burnout to look out for in employees.

Employees Take More Time Off

One of the first signs that an employee is experiencing burnout is if they start taking more time off from work. Taking time off work could manifest by taking more sick days, calling in sick more often, or taking more vacation days.

If an employee is usually a model employee but starts taking more time off, it could signify that they are experiencing burnout.

Employees Become Less Engaged

Another sign that employees are experiencing burnout is if they become less engaged at work. Becoming less involved means they stop participating in meetings, stop caring about their work, or stop caring about the company’s goals.

If employees are no longer engaged, they could become less productive and eventually quit, which is costly for businesses.

Employees Show Negativity

If employees start to become negative, it could signify burnout. Negativity means that they may complain more often, are more critical of their work, and generally have a negative attitude.

The negativity can spread to other employees and create a toxic work environment. Some signs of negative behavior include:

  • Isolation from co-workers.
  • Increased absenteeism.
  • Negativity towards customers.
  • Decreased productivity.

If businesses notice that employees exhibit any of these behaviors, they need to take action. Otherwise, the negative behavior could continue and cause severe consequences.

Employees Make More Mistakes

Bosses that look at mistakes as learning opportunities are not generally alarmed when an employee makes one. However, if employees start making more mistakes than usual, it could be a sign of burnout.

Making more mistakes than usual can be costly for businesses, leading to errors in products or poor service.

Employees Don’t Meet Goals

If employees are not meeting their goals, it could indicate burnout. When someone is experiencing burnout, they often have a hard time focusing on their work and achieving their goals. When employees suddenly start missing deadlines or not meeting their goals, their employers need to step in.

Otherwise, the employees may become unproductive and eventually quit. Hiring and training new employees are expensive for businesses. That is why it’s essential to set and track achievable goals and have a system in place to hold employees accountable.

Employees Quit

One of the most severe consequences of burnout is when employees quit. While this step might seem drastic, you need to remember that when someone experiences burnout, they often feel like they have no other choice.

When employees quit, it can be inconvenient and expensive for employers because then a business has to worry about things like:

  • Training a new employee.
  • Finding a replacement.
  • Dealing with the loss of institutional knowledge.

Quitting can also hurt morale, as other employees may see that someone has left and may feel like they also have no other choice.

Employees Ignore Health and Safety

When employees experience burnout, they often have a hard time focusing on their work and may start to ignore health and safety protocols. This can be dangerous for both employees and the business. Ignoring health and safety protocols can lead to accidents, injuries, and even fatalities.

Wrap up

Burnout can happen to anyone, which is why learning “how can you identify burnout in the workplace?” is important. It’s crucial to identify the signs in employees. If a business thinks someone might be experiencing burnout, managers should have a conversation with them.

They should be understanding, provide employee well-being initiatives, and most importantly, encourage them to take some time off if they need it. Then, when they catch burnout early, they can help prevent it from turning into a bigger problem, thus helping their employees and their business.

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