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Employee burnout signs

Sep 12, 2023

As organizations navigate today’s competitive market, the well-being of employees is essential to maintaining a productive and innovative workforce.

Employee burnout is a pervasive issue impacting workplaces worldwide. Burnout can affect the mental and physical wellbeing of individual employees and negatively impact the health of the companies where they work. 

To foster a positive and nurturing environment, businesses must recognize the signs of employee burnout and take decisive action. Read on to discover the telltale signs of burnout in the workplace and the top strategies to address the problem and mitigate its impact.  

What is employee burnout?

Employee burnout, also known as workplace fatigue, represents a distinct form of work-related stress, involving both physical and emotional exhaustion, along with a feeling of reduced achievement and a loss of one’s personal identity. While the Mayo Clinic states that burnout is not considered a medical diagnosis, it significantly affects both physical and mental health. Some experts even suggest that workplace fatigue might serve as the underlying cause of various conditions, including anxiety and depression.  

According to the World Health Organization, chronic workplace stress is categorized by the three following elements:

  1. Feelings of diminished energy or extreme fatigue
  2. Increased emotional detachment from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s work 
  3. Diminished professional efficacy

While individual factors, such as family life or personality, will influence who experiences burnout and how severely, some of the most common reasons behind workplace fatigue include: 

  • Excessive workloads and unrealistic expectations. 
  • Poor work-life balance and blurred boundaries. 
  • Lack of recognition and appreciation. 
  • Inadequate resources and support.  
  • Limited opportunities for growth and career advancement.  
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What are the business implications of unaddressed employee burnout? 

A 2023 State of Workplace Burnout report from Infinite Potential reveals that over 38% of workers are burnt out. This represents a notable increase from 34.7% in 2021 and 29.6% in 2020. Burnout in the workplace leads to valuable team members feeling depleted, pessimistic, overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted, and distracted — a mental and emotional state that doesn’t foster a conducive environment for optimal performance.

The report also indicates that, as a result of feeling burnt out, 57% of employees were less productive, and 47% claim they’ve been producing lower-quality work in the last year. These figures have undeniable ramifications for a company’s bottom line.

How to spot employee burnout — before it’s too late 

Taking a proactive approach to identifying employees at risk is crucial for timely intervention — not to mention your long-term business results.  

Here are some of the most common employee burnout signs to look out for: 

Physical and emotional exhaustion 

Keep an eye on employees showing signs of constant fatigue, irritability, and a lack of enthusiasm. For some, this might even look like exhaustion as soon as the day starts or consistent trouble sleeping, leading to highly distracted team members. 

Reduced performance engagement 

Watch for a decline in overall work quality and engagement levels; for instance, when an employee stops participating in meetings, avoids taking on new projects, or deflects phone calls and emails. This often extends to workers’ personal lives, causing individuals to lose interest in activities they previously found gratifying.  

Detached isolation 

Be on the lookout for employees who seem withdrawn and isolated from their colleagues — especially those who were formerly extroverted employees but have slowly distanced themselves. While periods of worker isolation are likely to ebb and flow, continuous solitude may signal a larger issue at hand. 

Negative attitude and cynicism 

Stay alert of employees displaying increased pessimism toward their daily tasks and workplace peers. Organizations should not underestimate the impact of workers’ negativity on long-term company culture and results.  

Physical health issues 

It’s beneficial to familiarize organizational leaders with the physical symptoms associated with employee burnout. This ensures that your business can recognize warning signs within your workforce and address them early on. Look for symptoms including headaches, chronic fatigue, decreased productivity, frequent absenteeism, increased errors, or signs of emotional exhaustion like irritability and cynicism.  

4 strategies to mitigate workforce burnout

Introducing strategies to minimize burnout into your employee value proposition is key to attracting, engaging, and retaining valuable talent in the modern workforce landscape. Consider the following methods for alleviating burnout and future-proofing your workforce:

  • Promote a proper work-life balance: Encourage flexible scheduling, offer remote work options, and implement policies that support a healthy work-life balance. 
  • Foster a supportive culture: Create an environment where open communication is valued by promoting teamwork within the workplace and providing comprehensive resources for individual stress management and mental health support.   
  • Introduce skill development and growth opportunities: Implement career advancement opportunities to give team members a sense of purpose and a path to grow within the organization.  
  • Leverage advanced talent management solutions: Work with staffing leaders and cutting-edge workforce solutions to streamline your employee management and workflows — enabling you to prevent workplace fatigue before it becomes an issue.  

Fostering a more resilient workforce with improved management 

While navigating the challenges of recognizing and addressing employee burnout, Employbridge stands as a reliable staffing partner to offer ample support. With 30 years of industry expertise and a cutting-edge workforce-as-a-service solution powered by Bluecrew, Employbridge provides the perfect blend of experience and adaptability to meet all of your changing workforce needs.  

By partnering with Employbridge, you will have access to top talent and valuable insights that support reduced burnout — allowing you to create a more resilient workforce. 

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