10 Effective Ways to Avoid Workplace Burnout
With the nature and stresses of modern workplaces, burnout is affecting more and more people. A study by Indeed found that over half of respondents experienced burnout in 2021. This was up from 43% in the year prior.
The condition of burnout itself is characterised by reduced professional efficacy, alienation from one's job, and feelings of exhaustion. In other words, burnout is the sum of accumulating stress at work, and it can affect just about anyone.
People suffering from burnout may think about leaving their job —but that is not always possible, and may not be the best solution. Fortunately, there are effective ways to prevent burnout. Below are 10 ways to prevent burnout.
1. Establish Boundaries
Managing stress at work means establishing clear boundaries between work and home life.
It's almost impossible to avoid burnout if your work interferes with your life at home. This is why it's important to balance your work-life commitments.
For instance, you should stop checking work emails before going to sleep. This is one of the most common causes of workplace burnout. If you can't avoid checking emails at home for whatever reason, try to set reasonable limits and abide by them.
2. Balance Your Tasks
A good way to help manage stress at work is to switch gears from time to time.
As an example, when you've completed a very complex and demanding task or project, tackle something simpler and less demanding next. This is one of the best ways to avoid burnout at work, since it balances your workload and introduces a little variety.
3. Take a Break
Dealing with burnout isn't easy, and that's why interrupting your workday with short, restorative breaks is critical.
It doesn't even have to be anything major—adding just a few five or ten-minute breaks is a good start. With any luck, you can expand on the length of these breaks. The point is to set a reasonable goal, sprinkling short breaks throughout your day to change your work habits to something healthier.
Even something as simple as going out for lunch is an excellent way to refresh your mental energies. And you'd be surprised by the benefits of a short walk. A little exercise can do wonders for managing stress at work, by calming your nerves and helping you relax.
4. Develop New Interests
It's easy to become single minded when it comes to new jobs. You want to impress your boss, and turn in the best quality work.
But becoming too focused on your job, to the exclusion of all else, is a sure way to court workplace burnout. Again, this is all about maintaining that all-important balance between work life and home life.
Don't neglect outside interests—something to take your mind off your job, and help you disconnect from work-related stresses.
5. Finding (or Rediscovering) a Purpose
A career should be about much more than simply earning some spending money.
If you feel that you're alienated from your job, that it doesn't fulfil you in any meaningful way, then it is inevitable that signs of burnout at work will start to appear.
Find ways to rediscover your purpose. Look at ways to change the way you do your job, in the hopes of finding greater meaning. How does your work affect other people? How can you change the way you do your job to make other people's lives better?
These are some of the questions you can ask yourself to rediscover meaning and purpose in your job.
6. Manage Stress
Managing stress at work is absolutely critical to avoiding burnout. However, if we all knew how to manage workplace stress, workplace burnout may not be an issue.
But there are plenty of effective techniques and strategies that you can use. Create a list of aspects of your job or your workday that cause the most stress and discuss these with your manager or HR to see if you can find ways to manage these stressors.
It might also be worthwhile to practice some meditation or relaxation techniques to lower your stress levels. Whatever you do, don't ignore stress.
7. Take Back Control
Workplace burnout can be caused by a lack of control—whether actual, perceived, or otherwise.
Research has shown that people are happier when they feel they have control over circumstances in their life. In the workplace, the feeling of being out of control may be unavoidable, but there are places in your work life where you can reassert control.
For one, you can choose the degree to which you are available after work. Limiting after-hours emails or calls from the boss is one way to re-establish this control. You can also re-establish your priorities, and manage the expectations of your manager or the wider team through ongoing communication.
8. Build Relationships
Co-worker relationships can do a great deal to help alleviate stress at work. After all, there are many benefits to being part of a team culture.
Building good, strong relationships with your colleagues leads to teamwork which makes you feel engaged, happier and more productive at work. You will feel an increase in job satisfaction which will help reduce stress. If you do feel stressed, you can always talk to your colleagues and ask for help.
9. Achieve a Quick Win
Sometimes accomplishing a goal can help to restore your sense of confidence and achievement. It doesn't matter what it is—clean up your workspace, finish a less complicated task, complete a book, work on a hobby. All that matters is that you achieve a quick win to rebuild belief in yourself which can help to prevent burnout.
10. Exercise Frequently
It is important to stay active by exercising as often as possible. Exercise is a natural stress reliever - it recharges your battery, and you'll be surprised by how much more productive you are after a short workout. Whether going for a run, or even just taking a stroll in the park, exercise can do a great deal to mitigate your feelings of burnout.
While it may not be possible to avoid workplace burnout altogether, these strategies outlined above can help to manage burnout. However, sometimes the causes of burnout are deeper and longer-lasting. In this case, a change of career might be in order. If you are thinking of changing careers, contact Drake New Zealand and we can help you find a job that suit your skills and interests, or join the Drake Talent Network today to be notified of great new jobs as soon as they're posted.