Stress in the Workplace: Signs Your Employees are Burning Out


Stress is one of the leading causes of death in the world; it fuels heart problems, cancer and much more. Not only does stress lead to physical manifestations of diseases but it can also lead to mental health problems. It is crucial for employers to regulate stress-levels in the workplace by introducing fun activities and promoting a work-life balance. Conversely, employees who are chronically stressed may underperform or even burnout. Some of the signs of burnout that employers should be on the lookout for are as follows:

  • Fatigue- Fatigue is one of the most common and early symptoms of burnout. Employee fatigue can range from decreased socialization to the inability to keep up with the work schedule due to tiredness. Sometimes, people experience both fatigue and insomnia leading to a vicious and perpetual cycle of exhaustion.
  • Difficulty Concentrating– If you find that your employees have a problem concentrating on their work and often forget their tasks, they might be burning out. Despite their best efforts, some employees cannot focus on their job due to feelings of low self-esteem, alienation, and loss of future goals, among others. It is important for the HR official to have an open and empathetic conversation with the employee; merely berating someone for low performance will do little to no good.
  • Mood Swings- If your employee displays patterns of erratic behavior and is constantly shifting between feelings of anger and sadness, they may be physically and/or emotionally exhausted. Sometimes employees find it difficult to have an honest conversation with their higher-ups, due to a fear of being looked upon in an unfavorable light. If employers can spot the danger signs and initiate conversation, it can make the job less intimidating for the workers.
  • Cynicism/ Hostility– When employees are good at hiding their emotions, it may be difficult to spot burnout symptoms. Instead, the company should look at more indirect signs such as pessimism about the future, newly developed hostility towards certain subjects, feelings of hopelessness etc. 

What are some steps that employees can take to prevent burnout?

  • Take regular breaks. It is scientifically impossible for anyone to concentrate for hours at a stretch. Thus, rather than wasting time by trying really hard to concentrate, employees should just take well-deserved breaks. Examples include going out for coffee, chatting with other employees and stretching.
  • Have intense bouts of productivity. While working, employees should aim to concentrate very intently on the work they are doing and not get distracted. This strategy works hand in hand with taking breaks, as having intense bouts of productivity will give employees more chances to take breaks.

What are some steps employers can take to prevent burnout?

  • Provide positive workspaces. Including napping pods, music/disco rooms, reading spaces etc. provides a lot of incentive for employees to work hard. Additionally, painting the workspace in positive bright colors or having a greenroom can be great mental boosters as well.
  • Receptively listen to employees: Employers should openly listen to the concerns of employees. If an employee is worried about their health and wellness, it is imperative that the employer do whatever is needed to make them feel better.
  • Invest in corporate wellness programs. This is where Optimity comes in handy! Optimity aims to foster productivity and reduce burnout in the workplace by promoting health and fitness activities. Workplaces that use this platform have reported an 84 percent increase in health score. The benefits of Optimity transcend the simple prevention of burnout: the company feels well-integrated, employees cultivate great relationships with their colleagues and they get monetary rewards for being healthy!


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