A manager, even not of the highest level, must be able to identify the signs of burnout in the work of any of his employees. And the person himself should also watch himself in this respect. Especially since scientists have proven that this syndrome is not invented. And if you don’t begin to fight the problem in time, everything can end very sadly.
To orient yourself in time, you need to be able to understand the signs of burnout. And they can be very different: from the usual lack of strength to cynicism about their responsibilities. On the other hand, such behavior of employees can be provoked by some other factors. And only after fully understanding the situation should appropriate measures be taken.
The essence of a burnout syndrome at work
Not so long ago, professional emotional burnout syndrome was officially recognized as a factor that worsens a person’s well-being and affects the overall state of the body. In 2019, it was included in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), therefore, this condition is subject to the same treatment as other diseases of the nervous system.
ICD-11 gave its definition of this disease: emotional burnout is a syndrome formed as a result of constant stress in the workplace, which was not successfully overcome. It should be noted that emotional burnout affects only professional activity and does not depend on the state of other spheres of life.
The Gallup Institute found that people suffering from professional burnout visit the doctor more often, and more than half of them, more precisely, 63%, go on sick leave. As for relations at work, such employees are two times less likely to communicate with management about achieving their goals, 13% less confident in their work, and 2.6 times more likely to quit their next job.
The data show that burnout directly affects the level of ability to work and can even lead to job loss. It takes quite a long time to come out of this state and fully recover – from several weeks to a year and a half. Such a period is too expensive for both the person and the HR specialist, who is supposed to monitor the efficiency of each employee and reduce the cost of hiring and training personnel.
The saying “burned out at work” is not quite correct in this case, since professional burnout is not always associated with overwork. An important role is played here by a person’s ability to separate work and rest, to switch from one to the other in time. How a person has a rest and how satisfied he/she is with his/her professional activity is also important?
Causes of professional burnout
Most often the signs of emotional burnout at work appear in employees that have a lot of contact with people and are subject to nervous breakdowns. Such specialists include workers of social services, psychologists, doctors, lawyers, sales managers, heads of enterprises, employees whose work is of a daily routine character.
Besides professional belonging, a tendency to emotional burnout depends on a person’s character and inner state. Sensitive, sensitive people, introverts, and idealists, who acutely react to negative things around them, more often suffer from this syndrome. That is why women are more prone to professional burnout than men, because of their innate emotionality.
Let’s list the main reasons for burnout at work:
- Monotonous work with routine duties. Like working with numbers. For it, use excel homework help or delegate this to someone else.
- Excessive workload or, on the contrary, a little busy working day.
- Unfriendly colleagues, the unhealthy atmosphere in the team (nagging, taunts, angry jokes).
- Professional activity, forcing daily contact with strangers.
- Low salary, lack of motivation, and career growth.
- Lack of self-organization.
- Lack of a well-organized motivation system in the company.
Frequent changes of management, lack of clear job descriptions, performing other people’s duties, improperly delegated responsibility.
Most psychologists agree that emotional burnout is a kind of body protection from traumatic factors. A person’s nervous system, like any other in the body, cannot be exploited endlessly. It has a limit to the number of psychological processes that occur daily, such as attention, communication, perception, and problem-solving.
In other words, one person during the day can talk to a certain number of people, pay attention to them, perceive a certain amount of information, solve a certain range of tasks without harming himself. If this specialist constantly exceeds the established limit, the nervous system begins to work at its full capacity, its exhaustion occurs, and then emotional burnout.
3 groups of burnout symptoms at work
In psychology, the symptoms of burnout at work are classified differently. Let’s consider the case when all the signs are distributed into three groups:
1) Symptoms of emotional burnout on the physical level:
- chronic, not passing fatigue;
- muscle weakness;
- frequent headaches;
- low immunity;
- poor sleep;
- eye fatigue, visual impairment;
- pain in the joints and lower back.
Weight also reacts to nervous tension. For those who try to “eat” stress, it rises. Others noticeably lose weight after a major experience, such as a divorce or layoff.
2) Signs at the level of social behavior:
- Decreasing the level of communication with others to a minimum because of a desire to “run away” from them or resentment;
- unwillingness to be responsible for anything, slacking off on obligations, laziness;
- shifting the blame for one’s failures and grief to everyone else, resentment, constant irritation;
- jealousy of more successful people, whining that someone else is having better luck in life
- complaining about one’s own life and a large amount of work involved
- pessimism about everything that is going on.
Many run away from reality, joining the downshifter movement. Some develop an addiction to sweets, alcohol, or drugs.
3) Psycho-emotional signs:
- Complete indifference to both one’s own life and what is going on around one;
- low self-esteem, lack of confidence in their abilities;
- disappointment in others;
- loss of motivation for professional growth;
- irascibility for any reason, constant irritation, and dissatisfaction with others;
depression, bad mood because of the feeling that life is not successful.
Clinical signs of burnout at work are similar to those of depression. In both cases a person suffers from fictional loneliness, considering himself/herself doomed. It is very difficult to concentrate on anything in such a condition. Still, emotional burnout is easier to overcome than depression.