Top 10 tips to avoid workplace burnout
Stress in any workplace is inevitable. Deadlines approach faster than the speed of light, problems arise at the last minute, and sometimes there’s simply too much work to do in your average work day. When correctly dealt with, stress can sometimes be a good thing; it will allow you and your employees think faster and clearer, and even can make prioritising responsibilities easier.
However, if you or your employees are stressed for an extended period of time, it can lead to burnout. Stress isn’t the only cause though – exhaustion, inefficacy, and cynicism can combine to create the perfect storm. Employees who feel that they have little to no control of their work, do not get appropriate recognition for accomplishments, and take on too many responsibilities are more susceptible to burnout. Stress and burnout cost Australian companies nearly $10 billion dollars in productivity last year.
Here are our Top 10 tips for warding off burnout in the workplace. Remember, be proactive, and don’t allow the stress to reach maximum levels before making a few of these changes.
1. Listen to your body
Know the symptoms of a burnout – feeling tired most of time, lower immunity, frequent dull pain, loss of motivation, sense of failure, procrastinating, taking out your frustration on others, etc. Don’t ignore that incessant thud in your head or feeling of helplessness. The longer the symptoms are ignored, the longer the path is to complete recovery.
2. Start the day with a relaxing ritual
Not everyone is in to meditation, but it is a great way to balance your mind and body before a busy day. Other ways to begin a productive day include stretching or exercising, enjoying a cup of tea or coffee alone, or reading something that inspires you.
3. Keep a balanced diet
Did you know that eating vegetables regularly will give you more sustainable energy than an energy drink? Choose oatmeal over donuts – the glucose from whole oats releases slower, allowing you to maintain a higher attention level. Split your three larger meals a day into five smaller ones. Always eat breakfast: it will jumpstart your metabolism and help you maintain energy throughout the day. Change just one of these things in your diet and expect to see some great returns.
Read related articles on Business Review Australia:
- Top ways to avoid the Monday blues
- The force of the young worker
- Speeding up productivity: how to take your foot off the brakes
4. Get enough sleep
Most healthy adults require around eight hours of sleep and can function for sixteen hours of wakefulness. Of course, each person is different and will have different needs. But, you and your employees should take sleep seriously. Keeping a regular schedule, avoiding heavy meals and alcohol before bed and minimizing noise and light before and during sleep will help recharge your batteries overnight.
Many business professionals have busy lives both at work and at home, and oftentimes workouts are at the bottom of the priority list. But even just taking a short walk during the day (say, during those two, ten-minute breaks you have during the week?) can add years to your life. Exercising also allows you to sleep better, and influences you to make healthier choices when eating.
6. Take a break
Those two walking breaks a day are a great way to escape the office for a quick breather. Not only will it be good for your physical health, it will rejuvenate your mental health. A change of scenery, fresh air and the lack of technology will leave you feeling refreshed for the rest of the work day. If you can’t get out for a walk, try to find a quiet place to relax away from technology.
7. Clarify your job description
Are you going above and beyond at work and no one notices? Set up time to meet with your boss to go over your job description. This will give you the opportunity to share what you are expected to do outside of the set requirements. A receptive boss will notice that you are overloaded, and attempt to help distribute some of your work. It may also be the evidence he or she needs to provide you with an increase in pay, making your effort a little more meaningful.
8. Ask for a change in duties
If you feel like you have been stuck with the same responsibilities for a long period of time, and have lost the passion to perform these responsibilities, see what is available for you. Ask your superiors if they are willing to give you new work or different duties, whether it is a new sales territory or a different machine.
9. Set boundaries – learn to say no
Saying “no” at work is one of the most difficult things for a driven employee to do, but at a certain point it becomes impossible to accomplish any more work in one day. Turning down certain assignments and projects leaves room for you to work on your core responsibilities and to work on things that matter to you and that you have a passion for.
10. Take time off
If you’ve reached the end of your rope, and have nothing left to give at your job, take a holiday. More than likely, your superiors do not want to lose a hard working, driven employee to burnout, and would be willing to give you a couple of weeks to recharge your batteries. When you get back to work however, don’t fall back into old habits; burnout will happen again if nothing changes.