Stress and burnout at work: Symptoms and solutions

Stephanie Byrne-Roche

November 12 2020

Employee stress and burnout are, unfortunately, common issues in the modern working era.

Just last year in fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised burnout as an “occupational phenomenon”. Separate research conducted by the Mater Private found that almost 70% of employees experienced some form of stress (which leads to burnout) at work.

The impact of coronavirus on the workplace is adding to these problems.

But what is it exactly that causes stress and burnout at work? Let’s find out.

What is burnout?

The WHO defined burnout as a “syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”, and listed the following signs as primary burnout symptoms:

  • Exhaustion or a lack of energy.
  • Reduced professional efficacy.

A stressful year

This year, the coronavirus pandemic has led to many changes in the workplace and how work is done. These changes can add to employee stress and burnout.

The impact of the virus has not only affected businesses throughout the world, but it has also affected their people in unpredictable ways.

For instance, many employees are now working from home. While this enables businesses to continue working through the pandemic, it can lead to certain problems.

Traditionally, heavy workloads and conflicts with colleagues increased stress. More recently, the ‘always on’ culture in the modern workplace is a key driver of burnout. In this turbulent time, remote workers are finding it difficult to separate their work and personal lives, meaning they’re working for longer than they should. This conundrum negatively affects employees’ lives outside of work, and in turn, leads to symptoms of burnout.

For employers, burnout has developed into a health and safety issue. And as employers have a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees, this includes protecting staff mental health against the negative effects of burnout.

Support for your employees

Support for your employees can be provided in various ways.

One option is to offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which gives employees access to a confidential 24/7 helpline. EAP counsellors will assist employees with any problems they have without them having to approach either their employer or the health service.

Training managers to spot the signs of poor mental health is also important. Early intervention can help resolve mental health problems before they become critical.

Need instant advice?

If you’re a Peninsula client, you can call our 24/7 helpline for instant, unlimited advice on what to do about employee stress and burnout.

Not a client? No problem.

You can still claim a free advice call with one of our HR experts today.

To speak to an expert now and get the latest guidance on employee stress and burnout, call 1890 252 923.

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