work burnout

Signs of Burnout at Work (And How to Avoid it!)


Since the pandemic there has been a push for flexible working, as more people are working remotely and becoming increasingly concerned about having a healthy work-life balance. Nowadays, people are more interested in company’s culture and are prioritising joining companies that offer flexibility, stability, and career progression.

However, when people work within a company that offers a poor work-life balance it can cause them to burnout. The World Health Organisation (WHO) conceptualize burnout as a feeling of physical and emotional exhaustion that leads to a mental detachment from one’s job, causing them to feel unmotivated and perform poorly. Although it is not a medical diagnosis, there as many detrimental mental and physical consequences such as: excessive stress, fatigue, irritability, high blood pressure and vulnerability to illness.

Causes of Burnout

Burnout is caused by a plethora of internal and external environmental factors. The most common causes of burnout are as follows.

1.      Lack of Control or Flexibility Within your Life

A common cause is feeling a lack of control or flexibility within your life. This can be mentally draining, particularly if you constantly feel like you have no control over your workload, which could lead you to feeling very cynical about your work – thus limiting your productivity.

2.      Dysfunctional Workplace Dynamics

Another common cause that contributes to a feeling of burnout, is working in a place with a dysfunctional dynamic. The environment around you massively impacts your mental state which can affect you physically long-term. When working with toxic team members or a bad manager it can make you feel undermined or micromanaged. This can impact your mental state negatively and lead to excessive stress levels and a vulnerability to illness.

3.      Work-life Imbalances

Having a work-life balance is crucial to avoid burnout. This is because without this a person tends to have little separation between their personal life and work life, meaning a person cannot ever fully shut off from their work. This can cause burnout in the form of fatigue. An unhealthy work-life balance may signify that you have an overloaded workload, and your priorities may not be in the healthy order.

4.      Lack of Social Support

Without a social support system at work or personally, a person can feel isolated, lonely, unmotivated and cynical. Which long-term can lead to potential severe mental health implications.

How to Avoid Burnout

To avoid burnout and mitigate the implications of the causes above, here are some solutions to try out.

Focus on Things Within Your Control

Make a list of all the commitments you currently have in life and evaluate which things you feel are out of your control. From here you can manage your expectations better and set more realistic goals. For instance, if you feel as though you are overloaded at work, then speak to your manager about lessening your workload or organising it into a priority checklist, so you can better organise you time.

Evaluate Your Professional and Personal Relationships

It is important to have a strong social support system and positive professional and personal relationships, so that you have people to lean on in periods of burnout. Thus, evaluate the relationships in your life critically and assess which are beneficial or not. From here, you can gauge if a relationship is unhealthy for you and set necessary boundaries as a result. For example, if you have a pessimistic employee who has a negative impact on your mood, then try to re-direct the conversation into a positive one and avoid being dragged down by them.

Establish a Work-life Balance

Evaluate your current priorities and workload and make attainable daily to do lists. Through doing this, you can schedule time for yourself to exercise or try a relaxing activity.

Exercise Mindfulness

It is important to exercise mindfulness through writing down things you are grateful for each day and accepting that there is no such thing as ‘perfection.’ This will help you go into situations with openness and patience.