How To Help Employees With Burnout

Employee burnout is many things – one of the only things it’s not is good for your business. With mental health awareness growing in the workplace, you’d think it would be all stamped out by now. The truth is, it’s probably gotten worse.

With more and more workforces going remote or hybrid, there’s an even greater chance of employee burnout happening. Even those in the office aren’t spared. And it’s bad news for managers and CEOs. If your employees are burned out, they’re not going to be as productive, efficient, or even friendly to customers and other members of staff. They might even end up leaving your company, which leaves you with one less employee and even more work to catch up on.

Let’s take a closer look at employee burnout and what you can do to ease the work blues.

What Is Employee Burnout? 

Employee burnout, also known as job burnout, is when workers feel exhausted, stressed, and tired for either a short or prolonged period of time because of their work. If left unaddressed, it often leads to disgruntled, sad, and even angry employees – some of whom might even leave your company.

Workplace burnout is common; up to 79% of American employees struggle with it on a daily basis. But what actually causes it to develop? There are many contributing factors but the most common are:

  • Employee stress
  • Facing unrealistic deadlines, an overwhelming workload, or long hours
  • Personal workplace issues, such as harassment, bullying, or unfair treatment
  • The way employees work and are treated by management, such as a lack of recognition or praise or low pay
  • Personal and challenging issues at home or away from the office, including the death of a loved one or chronic illness
  • Poor employee experience
  • Lack of mental health awareness in the workplace

Not all employees will be open about the way that they are feeling, which is why it’s so important to keep an eye for signs and symptoms of burnout so you can address it head-on.

Signs of Burnout

Though every employee will experience burnout differently, there are a few common signs to look out for, including:

  • Physical exhaustion 
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of engagement or motivation
  • Lack of productivity 
  • Isolation 
  • Poor communication
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Flu and colds (because of increased stress levels).

It’s not always easy to spot job burnout, but it’s important to keep an eye out for any unusual or strange behaviour, especially if it deviates from your employee’s normal pattern of working.

Why Is It Important To Recognise Employee Burnout?

The mental health of your employees is incredibly important to your organisation’s success. Workplace burnout can stem from a number of factors including lack of appreciation, lack of recognition, and poor work conditions (long hours or tight schedules).

If employees don’t feel appreciated or valued, the work that they’ll produce for you won’t be of a high standard and employee engagement will plummet. Productivity will lag, having a knock-on impact on customer service and the standard to which your business delivers its services or products.

What’s more, you risk losing staff and having a high turnover rate. Not only does this negatively impact business results in the short term, but it also gives you a bad reputation amongst potential candidates and future employees. Your staff all have their own lives – just like you do – so it’s important to recognise burnout and take steps to remedy it when it does happen.

A lot of employees will be too afraid to speak out openly for fear of being judged by another team member or seeing it as a personal failure. This is why you have to make it a priority to spread awareness about mental health in the workplace and support employees who are suffering from burnout and emotional exhaustion.

Give them the social support they need and let everyone know that it’s okay to seek help and take a day off. It’s all about helping employees feel heard, understood, and respected.

Seven Tips To Prevent Employee Burnout

Recognise and Praise Employees

Empower employees and show them that you value the work they do with regular rewards and recognition. Research consistently shows that praise and reward boost motivation and gives staff a sense of accomplishment, meaning, and purpose.

When you offer rewards to employees, you’re essentially making them feel valued and recognised. It will also give them an incentive to work even harder, keeping productivity and engagement levels in your company high.

Rewards can be anything from coupons or meals out to cash prizes and promotions. Whatever you do, make sure it’s genuine and sincere. There’s no use dishing out rewards to employees if they’re not actually hitting targets and goals.

Make sure you voice your expectations and standards, giving your staff something to work towards. Another important factor to note is timeliness – when you make promises on something, don’t delay.

Offer Up Flexible Work Schedules and Rethink Your Work Model

It’s the most obvious solution but often the most brushed under the rug – rethink your work model. How tired are your employees? Do they need a break from time to time?

Consider reaching out and asking your staff directly how they feel. Remember, they have their own personal lives so you’ve got to ensure they’ve got a good work-life balance. If someone has a particularly heavy workload, consider giving them an extra day off down the line.

Try bringing in flexible work schedules to give everybody more time to do what they want and get on top of things. This is especially important if they’re working from home and needing to juggle childcare and family responsibilities on top of work.

Spread Awareness About Mental Health in the Workplace

If you haven’t already, make sure mental health is an open and non-judgemental word in the workplace. Make it part of your organisation’s mission and ethos to spread awareness and create safe spaces at work for discussing mental health.

This might mean making mental health support more accessible to your employees, letting everyone know that your door is always ‘open’ to discuss issues big and small, and giving your team members a mental health day off in times of particularly bad distress or anxiety or getting a mental health professional on board.

Set an Example

Promoting awareness about mental health starts with setting an example yourself. Show your employees that you prioritise your own health and that you’re unapologetic about it – this will encourage employees to do the same and start putting their mental health first too.

If you, as a manager, happen to be feeling burned out voice it loud and clear. Showing your staff that it’s okay to have bad days will give them the confidence to speak up and discuss their mental health more openly.

Create a Healthy and Happy Workplace Culture

One of the most important things you can do is create a happy and positive work environment. Make sure everyone has smooth schedules and leave room each month for ‘check-ins’ – little sessions that give your employees a chance to open up about their mental health and any issues they might be facing. These can be done standalone or as part of regular performance reviews – the point is, you want to encourage employees to be open about their mental health and feel confident enough to voice the problems they’re facing.

Another thing to consider is creating a workplace culture that’s community-driven and built on team spirit. Help build up employee relationships by planning days out of the office. Everything from parties and quiz nights to team-building activities can go a long way in making your staff feel connected. When it comes to employee schedules, make sure you stamp down on overloaded timetables and consider giving everyone the chance to leave early once a week.

Automate Manual Tasks

An easy way to combat burnout is by automating all the manual tasks that eat up your employee’s time. This could be anything from emails and admin to billing, just make sure you give them enough time to focus on their job and their passions.

Not only will this help reduce burnout and energy depletion, but it will also take some of the stress off your staff’s shoulders, rather than dumping even more work on their schedules

Bring Nature Into the Workplace

Nature is often touted as a ‘green prescription’ – a phrase that highlights just how powerful and healing being out in the open can be. Make sure you give your employees a chance to get outside and soak up some of the fresh air every once in a while.

You could do this by incorporating weekly walking meetings into your schedule or even having specified outdoor lunch days during the summer. According to studies done by the University of Minnesota, nature can even help reduce stress – in fact, up to 95% of those interviewed in the study said their mood and stress levels improved after spending time outside.


Employee burnout shouldn’t be an uncomfortable word in the office or at work. As a manager, you should feel confident enough to tackle the subject head-on and make mental health a known and spoken-about topic in the workplace. This is the only way you’ll get your employees to open up to you and start valuing the importance of their own mental health.


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