What is burnout? Burnout is what happens when someone deals with a long term exhaustion and therefore the interests that the person had for what they did will soon be good. Burnout happens to everyone even though some professions seem to be more prone to it, such as soldiers, paramedics, doctors (especially if they work in the emergency room), teachers, authors and musicians but even though you work in an office you can be subject to burnout.
Burnout can be subjective too as people react differently to the same events, but it can occur in anyone and the best is to not have burnout occur is to avoiding before it happens. In Japan they have a specific word which is “karoshi” which actually means “death from overwork” and burnout has vast effects on the employee or manager as they may become more withdrawn to do even the simplest task. Usually in the workforce burnout is explained by having a high job demand and low job control at the same time, of course each job and company will have different situations.
The main characteristics of burnout at work is noticing more tardiness, absenteeism, a low mood in the workplace, more angry employees that will yell at anything or anyone especially if this is out of character for them and of course if customers’ complaints get higher.
The best way to avoid arriving at the burnout stage is to recognize the signs. Two psychologists, Freudenberger and North, have actually divided this process in twelve different steps, some of these phases are: a strong compulsion of working harder, neglecting your own needs on a personal basis therefore dismissing friends, families and hobbies, inner emptiness and depression to name a few.
To avoid burnout the first step is to noticeis if in the company there are certain periods where there can be work overload, and since long term periods of overwork will creative burnout it is best to act before hand. In these period the company, or an employee can suggest it, can hire additional full time employees or even temporary ones to avoid a major cost in the long run.
If your company has an EAP (Employee Assistant Program) take advantage of it, which includes confidential counseling, or even workshops to handle work pressures.
Another good tip is to talk about it be it with your significant other or friends and if you feel pressured and overworked sometimes talking about it can help.
Take a few days off, if you know that there is a overwork coming and at that point you know you can not miss work, take the days right before that period so you can come back energized.
Try not to withdraw from your personal life as much as you want too because then your burnout will be more pronounced.