“Job burnout can cause workplace culture erosion and a general feeling of negativism within the organisation. Employers and leaders must take the necessary steps to provide employees with much-needed support.” Rowena Hennigan, a remote work expert, founder at RoRemote shares how to avoid burnout in a remote workplace.
The World Health Organization, in 2019, has defined burnout as an “occupational phenomenon”, finally labelling such condition as a legitimate, negative experience that organisations need to address, characterised by three dimensions:
feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
reduced professional efficacy
Recognising burnout as an occupation condition represents a huge step towards preventing it; measuring burnout is, however, quite challenging. The MBI – Maslach Burnout Inventory – is the first scientifically developed measure of burnout and has gained, since its first publication in 1981, a lot of popularity in research studies around the world.
Burnout and imposter syndrome disproportionately affect younger workers – 42% of young workers are affected by both of these conditions. Lack of clarity, too many notifications, and hours of meetings all have real consequences beyond annoyance — they directly contribute to these occupational hazards.
Burnout and success at work – Almost one in four workers experience burnout four or more times per year, while 40% think it’s an inevitable part of success.
Burnout is the number one reason why women either have or are planning to quit their job – 42% of women experience burnout, compared to 35% of men.
Burnout and Remote Work – 69% of remote employees are experiencing burnout.
(Over)working from anywhere – 38% of employees suffer remote work burnout because they feel pressured by management to work more hours.
Is your organization open to discussion? The very first step is talking about it so, as a leader, you should create an environment where it is safe to talk about burnout and promote awareness within the entire organisation.
Prevent employee isolation. Executing in solitude is not enough for most employees. Companies need a playbook to bring back debate, open dialogue, and proper brainstorming in an increasingly remote world.
One-on-Ones with your team. It is more difficult to open up in group discussions so, as a manager or leader, you should have one-on-one conversations to make sure your team is happy and motivated. As Remote Work advocate Rowena Hennigan puts it, “it is all about having honest conversations”. Approach these conversations with empathy and care.
No unnecessary meetings. Zoom fatigue is real, and having many meetings inevitably affects our productivity, “and that is how burnout is manifesting for a lot of people who are in the hybrid and remote model”, says Mindletic COO, organisational psychologist Ieva Sapalaite. Moreover, switching constantly between tools, topics and tasks is extremely draining.
Calibrate workload and time off. According to Ieva Sapalaite, “The issue with burnout starts when your team is overloaded”. If you are overloaded, you cannot have sufficient mental space to take care of your team. The same goes for them: if they are overworked, they won’t have the energy to think about anything else, their well-being included. Make sure they take time off, throughout the year but also during their working day.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Burnout can cause workplace culture erosion and a general feeling of negativism within the organisation. Employers and leaders must take the necessary steps to provide employees with much-needed support. Everything starts with awareness and open discussion: you need to have a clear understanding of employee experience so that you can tailor an action plan to mitigate feelings of burnout, prevent costly churn and protect workers from burnout in a remote workplace.