9 Factors Contributing to Burnout and How to Manage Them

Several surveys show that job burnout is on the rise. People are emotionally exhausted, disconnected from their jobs and coworkers, and less productive and efficient. As a result, they are more likely to suffer health implications, take sick leave, and quit their jobs.

Not surprisingly, burnout has increased during the pandemic, especially among healthcare professionals, leading to widespread concern. According to Jennifer Moss, author of the new book The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It, while many employers recognize the problem, they frequently do not recognize the solutions. She contends that instead of blaming employees for not being adaptable enough, employers should change the policies and workplace cultures that spawn burnout in the first place.

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What is burnout?

Burnout is dissatisfaction that causes physical, mental, and emotional reactions. Burnout has biological consequences such as high blood pressure and decreased immunity, while emotional consequences include disordered eating and excessive sleeping. Procrastination and forgetfulness are examples of mental responses. Furthermore, burnout can make you feel defeated or alone in your situation. This has an impact on your physical, psychological, and emotional health, as well as your cognitive function, reducing your ability to focus and find motivation.

9 Factors Contributing to Burnout

According to the World Health Organization, various models help explain and predict burnout, which is now an official medical diagnosis. The Areas of Worklife Model (developed by Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter of the University of California at Berkeley and Acadia University, respectively) recognizes nine areas where you may experience disparities that lead to burnout.

1. Workloads that are challenging to manage

A demanding workload can disrupt the work-life balance in cases of burnout. Work that is repetitive can also lead to burnout. The amount of work you do should ideally match your capacity to do it, but chronic overload drastically alters balance, and monotony depletes motivation. Set priorities before you begin your day to manage workload-related burnout. Plan your work schedule and make time for regular breaks. When possible, delegate tasks and solicit assistance from coworkers or managers.

2. Lacking control

Professionals may feel a lack of control if they do not have access to resources or find it difficult to participate in work-related decisions. Employees may also notice a lack of appreciation for their efforts or believe that managers do not believe in their abilities. If job objectives frequently change, preventing them from working on preferred projects or restricting promotion opportunities, they may experience a lack of control.

To counter this, make a detailed list of the areas over which you have no control, then figure out how to encounter each element. Examine whether you effectively communicate your needs, and then talk with your boss about issues you can control, such as work hours, breaks, and projects, to reach an agreement or set boundaries.

3. Earning limited rewards

Employment rewards are perks of working, but when they are scarce or non-existent, feeling appreciated can be difficult and lead to burnout. Perhaps the rewards aren’t commensurate with your time and effort, and the return on your investment isn’t motivating you to do more. First, determine what a reward means to you. It could be a pay increase or positive feedback from management or coworkers. Then, request it. Speak with your boss about a raise, solicit constructive criticism from a coworker, or create your own reward system.

4. Lack of community

Workplace relationships must be rewarding, and an absence of support can lead to burnout. Jobs should ideally have supportive and trustworthy relationships that foster and endorse your career goals. If you believe your work relationships aren’t what you expect, consider increasing your efforts. Send a congratulations email to a coworker who has landed an account, or inquire about the individual in the next office’s weekend. Encourage a supportive and engaged community to boost your own morale.

5. Unjust treatment

When there is a sense of unfair treatment, it affects job performance and motivation, and it frequently leads to burnout. Perhaps one coworker is given credit for a collaborative effort, or your manager always authorizes another coworker for deadline extensions. This is your chance to speak up and request recognition. Address unfair treatment as soon as possible and without prejudice.

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6. Values that do not coincide

Burnout takes place when a company’s values do not coincide with your own and can occur when management or ownership changes. When you place a high value on something but your company does not, you may lose motivation to contribute to the company’s mission. Consider how important those values are in this situation and whether you can compromise on them.

7. Toxic work environment

Potentially toxic environments, whether due to unclear job expectations, micromanagement, or negative attitudes, can lead to burnout. Companies that use negative tactics create hostile environments that sap employee enthusiasm and increase stress. Take some time to examine your work relationships to determine how you react to different people, and then set boundaries around those people. Try changing the subject of a negative conversation or excusing yourself from a situation. Include positive influences and mentors to help you navigate difficult situations.

8. Unfair expectations

Unjustified job expectations can arise as a result of pressure to succeed in your position or constant concern about job performance. It’s critical to understand where the expectation comes from, whether it’s from you or your employer. If the expectations are yours, rethink your priorities and goals to make them more manageable and attainable. If the expectation stems from the job, figure out how to approach tasks more efficiently, such as by breaking them down into smaller steps or asking for help.

9. Challenging leadership

You may experience burnout as a result of poor leadership at work. This can manifest as taking on last-minute projects with looming deadlines or failing to complete a task due to a lack of communication between you and your manager. Consider talking with your manager about how you’re feeling and how you’d like to improve communication. Discuss the advantages of improving communication between you, such as increased confidence in finishing your work and increased productivity.

What does burnout look like?

Burnout is distinct from daily job stresses, which are typically caused by having too many tasks or choices. Patterns usually emerge that can warn you of impending burnout. You might notice a difference in your energy levels or outlook on life, for example. These components can differ throughout life, but if you notice it happening for several days in a row, you may be suffering from burnout.

Examples of burnout patterns include:

  • You have more bad than good days
  • You are constantly exhausted
  • Your work no longer excites or challenges you
  • You don’t think it’s worthwhile.
  • Your emotions are numb
  • You are unmotivated to achieve your objectives
  • You believe you are unappreciated and undervalued at work

Tips for managing and resolving burnout

Here is a list of ways to deal with burnout before it worsens:

  • Understand how to say no. To avoid overextending yourself, set clear boundaries and recognize your limitations. Learning to say no to one thing enables you to say yes to another.
  • Begin a gratitude list. Change your focus to what is optimistic in your work life, which can reduce stress and improve health. Make a list of two or three things you are grateful for each day.
  • Seek outside assistance. Seek help from colleagues, mentors, or family members to solve job problems or express concerns. A supportive network can assist you in overcoming challenges and achieving job satisfaction and fulfillment.
  • Divide your space into sections. Practice putting everything back where it belongs so that work does not follow you home and vice versa. Determine what is most important by establishing clear professional and personal objectives and then devise a strategy to achieve them.
  • Self-care is essential. Self-care can help you explore your own interests while also looking after your health. Eat healthily, get plenty of rest and exercise, and engage in your favorite pastimes or hobbies on a regular basis.
  • Set a good example. Set a good example in the office by increasing your engagement with key people, avoiding negative influences, asking for what you need, and accepting your limitations.

Closing thoughts

Burnout is more than just being tired. It is a multifaceted problem that necessitates a multifaceted solution. Before you quit, consider what is causing your burnout and make an effort to make changes. If, despite your best efforts, little has changed, consider whether it makes sense to stay or if it’s time to go.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]


BurnoutChallenging LeadershipLacking ControlToxic Work EnvironmentWorkloads
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