Employment Legislation

How Can You Recognise and Prevent Employee Burnout?


How Can You Recognise and Prevent Employee Burnout?

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In May 2019 the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” and stated that from 2020 burnout will become a recognised medical condition.

A recent Gallup study of 7,500 full time workers found that 23% were often in “burnout mode” and about 44% “sometimes” entered a burnout mode.

So, what is burnout and how is it different from stress?

What is Burnout

Mental health professionals define burnout as a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress at work.

How to Recognise Burnout

Employers are encouraged to manage burnout in their workplace and support employees that have symptoms of burnout.

Signs that employees may be in burnout mode include:

  • An unexplained drop in performance
  • A change in mood
  • Poor motivation and concentration
  • Frustration and irritability

How To Prevent Burnout in the Workplace

To prevent employee burnout, employers should have policies and procedures in place that promote wellbeing and help prevent stress. Managers should be appropriately trained to ensure any imposed deadlines are reasonable and workloads are being shared fairly between employees.

Businesses may need to review their internal policies and include burnout as a mental health condition. If an employee’s ability to carry out day to day activities have been affected by burnout, he/she may be protected by the Equality Act 2010 and be deemed disabled for the purposes of this Act.

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