How to Prevent Employee Burnout in the Workplace

We’re all human, and we all have limits on how much work stress we can sustainably handle. When we cross our personal stress threshold, burnout ensues.

Employee burnout is a major burden on working professionals. Approximately 61% of Americans have experienced burnout at their current job. Among women, this rate is even more alarming at 68%. Worse yet, over one-third of workers think their employer is doing nothing to help them manage work stress. 

Even if you think that your team already manages stress well, you can’t go wrong with implementing preventative strategies to keep burnout at bay. If burnout is already an issue within your workplace, then you’re going to have to take action to combat work-related stress.

What Is Employee Burnout?

Burnout is defined by the Mayo Clinic as: “[A] special type of work-related stress[...]a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Many people who are overworked report feeling burnt out. 

Mental health ailments such as anxiety and depression are associated with burnout, according to recent peer-reviewed research. A healthy, pro-social work environment, therefore, is one that prevents burnout through adequate stress management strategies.

Some of the signs and symptoms of employee burnout include according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Excessive stress
  • Sadness, irritability, or anger
  • Alcohol or substance misuse
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure

Top Strategies for Burnout Prevention and Recovery

If you want lasting systemic change, motivational phrases won’t do the trick. You need to enact cultural changes in the workplace so that your team feels better equipped to handle stress. Below, we’ve listed some of our top burnout recovery and prevention strategies so your team can stay strong through both the good times and the tough times. 

Provide Comprehensive Therapy Coverage 

If your employees have reached their limit (or, in many cases, even long before that), they will need to talk to a professional to develop more personalized coping strategies. Comprehensive health insurance policies that cover psychotherapy or counseling can make these vital services more accessible to your team. Remember, a healthy team is a productive team. 

Adequate Staffing and Deadline Support

An understaffed team is much more likely to feel mentally exhausted and disgruntled at work. Ensuring that you have sufficient personnel dedicated to a project is essential for keeping stress at manageable levels. The same goes for deadlines. If they stack up too close to one another, or if they’re too tight, you’re much more likely to run into endemic burnout problems.

Host Walking Meetings

Instead of another stuffy boardroom meeting or a Zoom session, consider inviting a small team out for a walk to get some fresh air. While you’re out stretching your legs, you can discuss your project and go over each of the relevant discussion items in a more relaxed environment. 

While you’re outside, why not grab a coffee or a snack together? With Ritual for Teams, you can easily place orders for food and drink at countless local cafes and restaurants. This way you can treat yourself to something tasty while you’re outside together. 

Offer Paid Mental Health Leave

Sometimes workplace burnout inevitably arises despite our best efforts to rein it in. To nip it in the bud, consider offering your employees a number of paid mental health days per annum that they can redeem in order to recharge their batteries, find peace, and come back to work feeling refreshed and engaged. 

Encourage Vacation Day Usage

Employers that offer “unlimited paid time off” often unwittingly encourage burnout. Since employees don’t have a defined number of days they’re allowed to take off, the result is that they sometimes err on the side of caution and don’t actually use them. Team members who have a certain amount of paid vacation days are more likely to utilize them and, in turn, are more likely to stave off burnout. 

Host Wellbeing Workshops

Sometimes we all need a little reminder to put ourselves first and practice self-care. To encourage your team to prioritize their health and wellness, occasionally bring in a wellness expert to host a workshop or seminar on a well-related issue such as sleep, inner purpose, physical fitness, or mindfulness meditation.

Monitor Workloads

Successful teams are those that encourage team members to step up to the plate and take on additional responsibilities from time to time. However, there is a fine line between delegating responsibility and overworking your team. 

Check-in with any new team members who have recently assumed new responsibilities. If they feel overworked, consider allocating some of their responsibilities to another team member. A more balanced, equitable distribution of labor can help everyone avoid burnout and maintain morale. 

Invite Feedback, and Be Responsive

When it comes to job-related stress, many employees won’t express their feelings until it’s too late and they’re already in over their heads. To prevent burnout and employee disengagement, consider creating an anonymous tip box or “input jar” where team members can bring forward any concerns they might have about your company’s work culture. 

Listening, however, is only half the battle. It’s equally important that you respond. If your employees notify you that they’re chronically overworked, you may have a serious cultural issue in your office. By applying the strategies already listed above, you can make genuine positive changes for the better that, together, can prevent burnout. 

Pickup, Don’t Burnout

Burnout takes a serious toll on teams. Preventing burnout, however, pays dividends in the long run. In fact, a Hewitt study found that companies with engaged employees are 78% more profitable.

Preventing burnout starts with taking small positive steps that add up to real change. As a team leader, one thing you can do is encourage your team to spend downtime together over snacks or lunch. 
Treat your team to something special with Ritual for Teams. A key component in preventing burnout is building a collaborative, team-based work environment. Grabbing coffee, snacks, and lunches for the office—all while taking advantage of sweet rewards and promotions—can help bring your team together, keep stress levels low, and prevent burnout. To find out more about Ritual for Teams, contact us to get in touch today.

Get in touch