Did you know that burnout isn’t just a slang term that people use to describe stress? It has an official definition, and there are three components that must be met for an individual to be considered to be experiencing burnout. These components are:
- emotional exhaustion
- reduced personal efficacy
Emotional exhaustion refers to that feeling of dread, numbness, or apathy that seems to grow the longer you continue to work in the same way, that doesn’t lift even after taking a bit of time off.
Depersonalization is the sense of detachment those suffering from burnout experience. They become increasingly detached from the “why” behind their work and lose any sense of purpose or the enjoyment they once received from their job. They may also become increasingly irritable, cynical, and resentful.
Finally, reduced personal efficacy refers to the reduced productivity, fulfillment, and confidence that you experience when suffering from burnout. While an individual may have once been very good at their job, experiencing burnout may override this.
Does this sound like anyone you know? Do you have an employee that used to go above and beyond and now struggles to meet deadlines and the minimum requirements of their job? Do they seem constantly irritable? Do they seem apathetic about the quality of their work? If so, pay closer attention. They may be experiencing burnout.
But what can you as an employer do? Isn’t it up to the individual experiencing burnout to prioritize their self-care and fix it?
According to this TedTalk, not necessarily. Emily and Amelia Nagoski state that “The cure for burnout is not self-care. It is all of us caring for each other. We can’t do it alone. We need each other.” That’s where you come in. As an employer, while you (well, your company) may not be the sole reason for someone’s burnout, chances are it is a huge contributor.
If you suspect an employee of yours, or even a loved one, is experiencing burnout, let them know that you care, and that you are there to help. Facilitate opportunities for connection and wellness, for R&R, adopt an open door policy, give some extra personal days off, etc. Whatever method you choose, do it with kindness, and make your shoulder available for your employees to lean on. Trust us, you’ll be thanking yourself later!