Burnout and its effects


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Do you ever feel exhausted or dreadful about continuing your job or study? Burnout is nothing but prolonged stress comes with feelings of emptiness, apathy, and hopelessness. It is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged exposure to stressors. Small amount of stress is common in workplaces, it often keeps employees energized and motivated in achieving their targets. However, when exposed to stress for a long period of time, it might lead to a state of permanent exhaustion which can cause burnout. According to surveys, almost 50% of workers experience burnout at some time in their careers, and it’s growing more common in the workplace. 

Burnout can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health, affect their productivity, increase absenteeism, and hamper job satisfaction that can be detrimental for both individuals and the organization. Some of the common causes of burnout in a workplace can include:

  1. Workload – An excessive workload is one of the most prominent causes of burnout. Employees may experience emotions of stress and overwhelm if they are assigned an excessive amount of work. Unrealistic deadlines, a lack of support from coworkers, and an inability to manage the workload can all make this worse.
  2. Lack of Control – Burnout can also be caused by a lack of control over one’s work. Employees may experience sentiments of dissatisfaction and helplessness when they believe they have little influence over decisions that will affect their work. In hierarchical companies where decision-making is centralized at the top, this can be particularly problematic.
  3. Lack of Support – Some burnouts may also be aggravated by supervisory or coworker indifference. Employees may experience loneliness and a sense of alienation if they believe they are working alone. This can be particularly challenging in remote work environments when employees do not have the chance to communicate with coworkers face-to-face. 
  4. Conflict – Conflicts among coworkers or superiors can also contribute to burnout. Conflicts between coworkers that are not resolved can make them feel stressed and frustrated. This can be particularly difficult in workplaces when there is a lack of trust and communication.
  5. Job Insecurity – Burnout may also be induced by job insecurity. Employees may experience tension and worry if they believe their jobs are under danger. This can be particularly problematic in fields where layoffs and restructuring are common occurrences.

Work-related stress can contribute to burnout, but stressors from other areas of life can also induce burnout in an individual. If left unchecked and untreated, burnout can have a long-term effect on individuals. In terms of job performance and productivity, burnout has the following effects:

  • Negative impact on mental health

Burnout can have a significant negative impact on mental health, and can lead to other mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. It’s important for employers to prioritize employee well-being and take steps to prevent burnout in the workplace.

  • Decreased Productivity

Burnout can have a significant impact on productivity. When employees are experiencing burnout, they may struggle to concentrate, make mistakes, and take longer to complete tasks. This can lead to decreased productivity and an increase in errors.

  • Increased Absenteeism

Burnout can also lead to increased absenteeism. When employees are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, they may be more likely to take sick days or time off. This can have a negative impact on the organization as a whole, as it can lead to a decrease in overall productivity and an increase in workload for other employees.

  • Decreased Job Satisfaction

Burnout can also lead to decreased job satisfaction. When employees are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, they may start to question the value of their work and their contribution to the organization. This can lead to a decrease in motivation and engagement, and may eventually lead to turnover.

  • Health Problems

Burnout can also have serious health consequences. When employees are experiencing burnout, they may be more likely to experience physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach problems, and sleep disturbances. They may also be more susceptible to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

  • Negative impact on reputation

Finally, burnout can negatively affect an organization’s reputation. When employees are experiencing burnout, they may be more likely to make mistakes or engage in behaviors that are not in line with the organization’s values. This can lead to a decrease in trust and confidence among stakeholders.


While the best way to deal with burnout is to prevent it from happening in the first place, this is not always possible. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for employee well being, and what suits one individual, workforce, or industry may not suit another. Ideally, every risk factor needs to be addressed, and sustainable, supportive and protective systems need to be put in place. Employers should prioritize mental well-being in their organization, but first they need to understand the stressors within their organization. By conducting surveys designed for this purpose, occupational stress can be evaluated. While burnout is a serious issue, there are steps that organizations can take to prevent it from occurring. Here are a few strategies that can be effective:

  • Encourage Work-Life Balance

Encouraging work-life balance is one effective way to prevent burnout. This can include offering flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or flexible hours, and encouraging employees to take breaks throughout the day. Employers can also provide resources to help employees manage their personal and professional lives, such as wellness programs, counseling services, or employee assistance programs.

  • Provide Clear Expectations

Providing clear expectations for employees can also help prevent burnout. This can include setting realistic goals and deadlines, providing feedback and recognition for good work, and ensuring that employees have the resources they need to succeed in their roles. Managers should also be available to answer questions and provide guidance when needed.

  • Foster a Positive Work Environment

Fostering a positive work environment is also important for preventing burnout. This can include promoting open communication, providing opportunities for collaboration and teamwork, and recognizing and rewarding good work. Employers can also promote a culture of respect and inclusivity, which can help employees feel valued and supported.

  • Encourage Self-Care

Encouraging self-care is another important strategy for preventing burnout. This can include providing resources and education on stress management, mindfulness, and other self-care techniques. Employers can also encourage employees to take time off when needed and provide resources for mental health support.

  • Monitor Employee Well-being

Finally, monitoring employee well-being is important for preventing burnout. Employers can use surveys and other tools to assess employee satisfaction and identify areas where improvements can be made. Managers can also meet regularly with employees to check in on their well-being and provide support when needed.

Burnout is a severe problem that many individuals face at work. It may have negative effects on productivity, absenteeism, and job satisfaction that are detrimental to both individuals and companies. Organizations can take measures to prevent burnout, such as promoting work-life balance, setting clear expectations, creating a happy work atmosphere, supporting self-care, and keeping an eye on employees’ wellbeing. A tool like Traitfit’s Occupational Stress Index can be used to assess employee stress levels, after all prevention is better than cure. Employers may guarantee that their staff members are productive, healthy, and engaged in their work by implementing the following actions.


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