How Can Employers Prevent Workplace Burnout And Stress?

Every month, Aduro’s Content and Media Labs team produce a Hot Topic podcast. This is a sample of what our members experience through their well-being program. Aduro creates interactive digital content for our members that resonates, motivates, and engages them towards making impactful positive change in their lives.

July 2021 – Hot Topic – Recovering from Burnout and Stress?

The average American will spend at least 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. That is a large portion of one’s life; so it makes sense that everybody wants to be happy and fulfilled in the workplace. Too much stress inexorably leads to workplace burnout. Unfortunately, a study conducted by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) revealed that 40% of workers reported their jobs were very or extremely stressful, with 25% viewing their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. 

Job stress can be described as the detrimental physical and emotional reactions that occur when the job responsibilities do not fit the employee’s qualifications, skills, or demands. In the UK alone, from 2019 to 2020 there were an estimated 828,000 workers affected by work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. This represents 2,440 per 100,000 workers and results in an estimated 17.9 million working days lost. Employees feeling burned out at work is not just harmful to the employees but also to the business itself.

Employee burnout cases have become so rampant that the World Health Organization has officially recognized it as an occupational phenomenon. Fortunately, the management can take on a more active role in keeping job-related stress and burnout under control. Read on to find out how employers can help employees recover from burnout and stress.

What is Stress and Burnout?

The workplace can be a breeding ground for stressful situations. No employee is alike, and the clash of diverse personalities, as well as the fear of losing a source of income, can all contribute to job stress. Stress comes from the difficult experiences we have in life, and stress is our response to these situations, issues, and problems.

When the stress becomes too overwhelming to handle, employees will soon find themselves burned out. Burnout is closely connected to stress. However, there is a difference between stress and burnout. Burnout is actually a stage of our stress response. It’s the final stage of a response to stress and it’s what happens when we can no longer adapt to the difficulties we’re experiencing, and we can no longer keep going.

Herbert Freudenberger, an American psychologist, coined the term “burnout” in the 1970s. Burned out means feeling empty and mentally exhausted, lacking motivation, and incapable of caring. Feeling burned out at work is more common than you think. If you feel as if you’re suffocating in responsibilities, or being completely depleted, then you are definitely experiencing burnout. When you have these symptoms taking steps to recover from burnout and stress is very important.

Negative Effects of Stress and Burnout

An employee experiencing work stress will exhibit work performance decline, depression, anxiety, and sleeping difficulties. Stress can also cause serious chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. People who are experiencing burnout frequently do not see any hope for progressive change in their circumstances.

Research published by the Harvard Business Review found that workplace stress has been linked to nearly 120,000 deaths and nearly $190 billion in healthcare costs in the United States. Workplace burnout also leads to lower team confidence and employee engagement, which can have a significant effect on job satisfaction, employee morale, relationships with customers, and future performance. That is why in order for employees to manage workplace burnout and stress, the management needs to be involved in keeping the workplace culture in check.

How To Manage Stress And Burnout?

Reducing stress in the workplace should be a priority for employers. If employees are happy and well taken care of they will be in their best condition to perform. Their productivity will rise and they can contribute more to their team. However, sometimes when employees experience one stressor too many, they find themselves unable to continue. They are left with no choice but to take time to rest and recover. A report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that 75% of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress now than a generation ago. 

What happens whenever a person experiences stress is that the body does a little bit of damage control so it can keep going. A report said that nearly 70% of American workers reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most stressful time of their career. That is why it is time for employers to take solid steps in minimizing stress and workplace burnout. Building employee resilience is also important in keeping employees healthy and engaged.

Burnout and stress management should be an important business goal for any organization. If employees don’t rest and recover to keep pushing through stress marathons, their bodies will begin to adapt to being constantly stressed and that wears them down and it will start to have a negative impact on their mental and physical health.

Read on to find out how employees can recover from burnout and stress.

Reducing Stress In The Workplace

A healthy workplace environment starts from the management. Encourage employees to take measures in keeping stress at bay. Here are some tips on how your employees can reduce stress at work.

Practicing Self-Care

The need for self-care is obvious, according to Paula Gill Lopez, PhD, an associate professor and chair of the department of psychological and educational consultation at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. According to the World Health Organization, self-care is “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”

Self-care is not a new concept. For generations, people have taken measures to prevent disease, improve wellness, and deal with sickness, both with and without the support of a healthcare professional. Self-care can take many different forms. It could be as simple as getting enough sleep each night or stepping outside for a few minutes to catch some fresh air. It is also by accomplishing small tasks; no need to be overambitious or set massive goals. Practicing self-care will help decrease stress and prevent workplace burnout.

Metta Meditation

Metta meditation is a type of Buddhist meditation that has been practiced for thousands of years. “Metta” means positive energy and kindness toward others in Pali, a language spoken in northern India that is closely related to Sanskrit. This meditation technique is also referred to as loving-kindness meditation. The goal of metta meditation is to cultivate kindness for all beings, including yourself, family, and friends. It is very helpful for employees experiencing workplace burnout.

Regular practice of metta meditation can be helpful towards a healthier mind and body and can help you recover from burnout and stress. Metta meditation promotes self-compassion. It can also help to reduce anxiety symptoms, which are harmful to one’s mental health. Some types of physical pain can be reduced with this type of meditation. Metta meditation can also help to strengthen social bonds.

Recovering From Workplace Burnout

The first step to recover from burnout and stress is to acknowledge that you are stressed and burned out. Here are the steps and tips for employees that can help them recover from workplace burnout.

Commit To Non-Working Hours

Encourage employees to plan time outdoors with their friends and family. They work non-stop during the workdays, so dedicating time for the people that matter in their life during their day-off is a very important step in recovering from workplace burnout. Spending time with family is such an important part of living a fulfilling life.

Choosing to stay in during weekends is a good idea. Listening to music instead of the news is also good practice. With everything going on in the world, news can add to your worries. Reading a good book with your favorite cup of coffee at your local coffee shop is also a good idea to get away from work stress. During day-off, it is good practice to tell your team to avoid messaging or emailing each other with work-related things. Make work communication off-limits during rest days so everyone can recharge fully.

Lift Up Your Sense Of Self-worth

Encourage employees to not stress over failures. Everybody has their strengths. However, many of us fail to recognize this fact, and instead focus all our energy on our flaws and this is one of the leading causes of workplace burnout. We can sometimes surprise ourselves with how much we have accomplished by reminding ourselves of our achievements and abilities.

Recognize employees for their hard work and reward them for a job well done. If your employees feel valued, they will feel a sense of accomplishment and can help them recover from workplace burnout.

Be Kind to Others

If you are feeling detached or feeling cynical one of the best things you can do to recover from this type of workplace burnout is to actually go out and be kind to others. Helping can be healing. Offer someone encouragement, buy someone a cup of coffee and give a listening ear. Acts of kindness need not necessarily be extravagant. As long as it is genuine and you feel happy doing it then no kind act is small.

According to a study conducted by Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness generate emotional warmth, which causes the release of the hormone oxytocin, which causes the release of nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels, resulting in a reduction in blood pressure. Being kind will result in feeling good but also better overall health and wellness.

Seek Additional Support

Encourage employees to reach out to mental health professionals if they are feeling too stressed out. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Professionals can give better advice and recommendations. They can also prescribe medication if necessary and they can guide employees to better mental health.

Seeking mental health care is critical because a professional counselor is best equipped to evaluate symptoms and assess the state of mental health. Their knowledge is critical for creating recommended treatment methods that will enable us to live a happy, healthier lifestyle. A medical professional can help you in more ways than one in your journey to recovering from workplace burnout and stress.

Managing Stress For A Better Quality of Life

Work-related stress is a rapidly increasing issue in the world. It affects not only the quality of life and well-being of employees but also the productivity of businesses. Work-related stress occurs when various types and combinations of job demands exceed a person’s capacity and capability to cope. Burnout is a reaction to long-term or chronic job stress that is defined by three major dimensions: depletion, cynicism, and thoughts of lessened professional ability.

Fortunately, employees can keep workplace burnout and chronic stress at bay by having a well-balanced lifestyle. They can do this by practicing self-care, being kind to others, valuing self-worth, time off work, seeking mental health support, and meditation. By doing these things employees can feel energized, renewed, and experience high morale in the workplace.

To promote workplace overall health, contact Aduro and keep burnout and stress away from your employees.