Are you losing your best most productive employees, ruining your reputation, and hurting your bottom line?
If your employees are stressed due to lack of support and unrealistic workplace expectations you may be headed for a rude awakening. Let’s flash back to this December when mega successful start-up luggage brand Away was put on blast for glamorizing a toxic, unrealistic work environment by former employees, dragging not only the company but the founder through the mud with slack screenshots to prove every claim. Though this may be an extreme case, corporate burnout rates are skyrocketing. The Washington Post reports; 95% of human resource leaders say burnout is sabotaging workplace retention, often because of heavy workloads and poor management.
What Is Burnout?
So what are we talking about when we say burnout? Burnout is not a stressful meeting or a one off insane deadline. Burnout was termed by Herbert Freudenber, psychologist and author and is described as chronic stress, that doesn’t allow the stress cycle to complete before another stressor is introduced.
Our stress works in a cycle; external stressor, internal appraisal, physiological response, internalization, and coping. This is the body’s natural process to heal from external stressors. When the cycle is interrupted by another stressor, and then another stressor; a snowball like effect begins to happen causing lack of energy, decreased motivation, and even physical health concerns. Burnout is not considered a medical term but is soon on its way to becoming a concern for the medical community as more and more employees are seeking medical attention for the mental and physical symptoms of burnout.
Signs of Burnout
- Becoming cynical and critical at work
- Having trouble starting work or projects
- Becoming irritable and impatient with co-workers, clients, & customers
- Lack of satisfaction from achievements
- Feeling disillusioned by work
Physical Symptoms of Burnout
- Lack of energy
- Loss of concentration
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Digestive Issues
- Nausea & stomach problems
- Self medicating with food, alcohol, or drugs
- Various other unexplainable stress related symptoms
The symptoms, causes, and effects of burnout go way beyond what we think of as workplace stress.
This new phenomenon is hurting not only your employees but also your bottom line. Employees who experience burnout are often a company’s most talented and highly productive employees. Not only are companies at risk for losing their top tier employees, it’s likely absenteeism and healthcare cost will also rise before these employees make their exit. Major companies are at risk for losing their best talent because they fail to implement a workplace focusing on balance and wellbeing.
What Causes Burnout?
- Unclear or overly demanding job expectations
- Feeling there is more work than time
- Employees feeling they have no control over their work
- Work that is monotonous
- Working in chaotic environments
- Working long hours without time for socializing
Redefining Corporate Culture
What does all this mean for corporate culture? If you want to save money and keep your rockstar employees, changes to company culture must happen. Employers must find new and creative ways to support their employees’ physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s time to overhaul the way we think about work and the workplace, in order to create a culture where employees and companies thrive. This issue needs long term solutions that serve both the employers and employees of every company. According to the Google Teams Study; a study done by Google to determine what factors create a successful team, physiological safety was key in creating teams that work and get results. This means feeling safe and healthy in the workplace is more important than we may have previously believed.
- Creating clear expectations and boundaries for employees
- Time management education for both managers and employees
- Encouraging clear lines of communication
- Corporate wellness initiatives
- Scheduled time to socialize with other team members
- Encouraging work-life balance
To truly solve burnout these initiatives must be supported and encouraged by those in upper management. Many times corporate wellness initiatives fail, not because they aren’t well implemented but because employees aren’t encouraged to take advantage of them. No one will take advantage of the meditation class in board room A if they think it will set them behind other employees or hurt them in the long run. Putting kombucha in the breakroom and having a once a year corporate health fair is not the answer to create a culture of productivity and wellness in the workplace.
To truly address this issue systemic change has to happen and employees must be incentivized for taking care of their long term physical, mental, and emotional health. Regardless if you are scaling a start-up or you are an employee at a business, it is important to know and understand the signs and seriousness of burnout not only for ourselves, but also for our employees.
If you are battling burnout on your own it’s important to get help from a mental health professional. Stress and time management skills as well as exercise and socialization are key to reigniting your flame. The more we openly discuss the problems facing us in the workplace the closer we are to creating better solutions to battle burnout. Together we can create better work environments for all of us to thrive.
Content courtesy of Alli Bradley, founder of Private Yoga Soho, based in New York City
CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR, ALLI BRADLEY
Alli began practicing Yoga and Reiki as an extension of her BFA in Dance Performance and quickly found her passion within these ancient practices. Her multidisciplinary background in Yoga, dance, somatics, and energy healing ground her work in curated individualized practices. Currently she is a NYC-based private Yoga instructor and founder of Private Yoga Soho.
Her mission is to bring movement and expression to people throughout all walks of life. To learn more about her work visit www.privateyogasoho.com
Keep up with Alli on Instagram: @privateyogasoho