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Employee Burnout: Signs, Solutions & How To Prevent It

Author: Emma Williams
Author: Emma Williams

Chief Research Officer at HIGH5

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Employee burnout is a significant problem that any company can face. Have you ever lost all the motivation that drives you at work and come to a state of stress and severe depression?

This condition causes a feeling of helplessness, hope and energy is lost, and stress and nervousness become the main rulers over an individual’s life. Therefore, it is very important to be familiar with what employee burnout is and how to treat this type of problem.

This article will answer questions regarding this condition and will help to look at things from a different angle.

What Is Employee Burnout?

Employee burnout is a condition that happens to employees when they exhaust their mental and physical energy. The stress and frustrations they face negatively affect the individual and he falls into a vicious circle from which it seems difficult to get out.

The cause of this condition can be the work environment, as well as certain business tasks that demotivate the individual and the desire to progress.

The job can be stressful, and the lack of support and strength can easily push employees into a corner. In addition, reasons for burnout at the core represent employee expectations and self-disappointment.

Employee burnout can happen to anyone regardless of their current situation. Everything begins and ends with the employee’s understanding of himself and his job, as well as the environment in which he works.

How Does Employee Burnout Affect Organizations

The cost of employee burnout is not only a personal problem of the employee; it also becomes a problem of the whole organization, as well as the whole team.

By losing key employees, the organization can disrupt its rhythm as well as lower its revenue.

Here is a list of 5 examples of how employee burnout can affect an organization:

Loss of Employees

Employee motivation does not feel comfortable in the atmosphere in which they find themselves and often go to other employers.

That way, very good and hard-working people can leave the organization for reasons that aren’t all that serious.

Low Morale

The prices of shares of companies that have employees with high morale have more than doubled compared to the prices of ones that suffer from low morale.

That alone speaks volumes about how vital morale can be.

Worsened Health

Effects of Employee burnout can lead to heart problems, gastrointestinal problems, and even death.

When we look at things from an organization’s perspective, on average most companies spend about 100 million a year for health care.

Collective Disappointment

It is very important to have a healthy team, which communicates and creates together.

If employee stress levels occur due to disagreement in the team, it can affect the job and the further performance of business obligations.

Unfinished Tasks

If a high-performing employee burnout occurs, productivity weakens and it becomes difficult to motivate employee morale.

If employees are not motivated, there is a reduction in the employee’s performance such as quality, speed, and efficiency needed to do things quickly and successfully.

How Do You Deal With a Burnout Employee?

Employee burnout can truly be devastating to a team. One way you can ease employee burnout is by giving employees more breaks. Ensure that they feel comfortable with taking a break during the day.

If they need to take some time off of work, be open to that as well. Also, try to resolve workplace conflicts as quickly as possible. These conflicts can be draining to everyone involved.

Assigning tasks based on strengths can help the individual become more motivated and passionate, which helps combat burnout. Additionally, ensuring employees have adequate time off of work is crucial for maintaining their overall well-being and productivity.

What Are the Five Symptoms of Burnout?

Every employee expresses their burnout differently. This is why knowing your employees and consistent communication is important.

However, you should watch out for the following burnout warning signs: employees who are unengaged, lack of passion in an employee, productivity dips, employee complaints of exhaustion, and employees who are often sick or stressed.

6 Causes of Employee Burnout

This problem can arise in various ways, depending on the situation in which the employee finds himself. Stress, feelings of helplessness, and weakness are just some of the feelings that occur when an individual finds himself in this situation.

It is of great importance to determine what causes such feelings, in order to later succeed in escaping from this state (read more on employee experience management).

Here are some of the most common causes:

Unequal Treatment in the Workplace

If employees agree that their unfair treatment is not the same, as well as that they feel uncomfortable at work because of that, the problem is very obvious.

When there is no team spirit and tasks aren’t fairly distributed, there is dissatisfaction and disappointment in all employees.

Precisely because of this, when a person does not trust his manager as well as his associates, the work collective disintegrates.

Too Much Workload

Lazy employees often find themselves overloaded to the point where their batteries run out. Once an optimistic worker can very easily become demotivated and stressed.

Managers often give tasks to the engaged employees they believe they can fulfill. However, that is not always an efficient solution.

Employees get overburdened, and often in an effort to do extra work efficiently, motivation gets lost and the employee begins to feel uncomfortable at work.

Lack of Manager Support

When an employee has a sense of support from their manager, they are much more likely to stay in their organizations and perform their business tasks with ease and without pressure.

If there is no adequate communication between the manager and the employee, pressure appears, and it most often causes stress, anxiety, and a feeling of fear.

Constant Pressure

Those employees who have additional time to do their job are less likely to experience the impact of Employee burnout.

On the other hand, employees who face unrealistic time pressures are often affected by stress and frustration because they are unable to meet their obligations on time.

Fear of Failure

It is known that everyone makes mistakes sometimes and that is completely normal. However, some workplaces tend to punish their employees for each error they make.

In such places the environment becomes much more stressful, the employees all work under great pressure and in fear of making even a small mistake.

This way of working is not healthy and very often causes signs of burnout.

Insufficient Payment

Human health risk often increases when it comes to monetary compensation for a given job.

Sometimes business demands can be extremely high and strenuous, and the compensation an employee receives for the work done is small.

Then there is a riot and the employee immediately thinks that he was not paid as much as he should have been.

How Do You Identify Employee Burnout?

The best way to identify employee burnout is to directly ask your workers. Ensure they trust you and feel comfortable telling you that they are burnt out. Also, watch for employees who seem exhausted.

If an employee must begin an especially large or stressful project, monitor their productivity. Large dips in productivity could signify a lack of engagement or burnout.

How To Prevent Employee Burnout?

If employee burnout occurs, it is important to be familiar with the techniques that will help improve this condition.

No problem will go away on its own and it is important to work on it. Once the problem is identified, it needs to be resolved.

Here are some techniques that will help channel stress in this condition:


Relaxation is very important in moments when we are affected by stress. In order for an individual to relax, he can undertake breathing exercises.

Also, meditation is an ideal escape from reality where a person can relax and exclude himself from the world that awakens negativity in him.

What to Do About Employee Burnout – Solution & Technique Example


Without motivation, it is impossible to work, impossible to live, and perform tasks effectively. When motivation is lost, it needs to be found.

Positive thoughts must replace negative ones. It is necessary to find at least one part of the job that is interesting to him and start little by little, until the motivation returns on its own.

Talking and Sharing Your Problems

If the environment is an overburdening problem, one-on-one talks with your co-workers can help prevent gaps and inconveniences. Sometimes people can’t figure out what the real problem is and what its essence is until they talk.

Types of Burnout in the Workplace

There are different types and levels of burnout that people are not even aware of. When these conditions can be differentiated, they can be affected much more easily.

These are the three basic types:

Overload Burnout

When it comes to this type of employee at risk for burnout, employees are geared towards working much harder.

They risk their private lives as well as their health for the sake of a job that is becoming too cumbersome and demanding. Their ambition comes first, and everything else suffers.

Under-challenge Burnout

This implies a feeling of inviolability, a lack of opportunities that could represent an opportunity to learn. Boredom is involved, and it’s hard to ensure employees work because they don’t have a passion for their jobs.

The energy in the collective is also low, and individuals cannot find the strength and motivation to work, so employee risk for burnout occurs.

Neglect Burnout

Feeling helpless is something that can be a big problem. An employee can often feel like they can’t complete certain tasks, and are also falling behind in their work.

Such a person is also not motivated and has no desire to prove himself in the collective because he feels like he is below everyone else.

Key Statistics on Employee Burnout

It is known that this condition can be common and can happen to anyone. It often occurs because of personal reasons or situations that the person cannot control.

However, it is very important to prevent employee burnout crisis in order to improve the organization’s operations, preserve the driving energy in the team and maintain quality employees.

According to recent statistics conducted by Gallup, numerical data have been obtained on the consequences of burnout in organizations.

Namely,  the survey which included over 7,500 full-time employees found that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes.

Burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job.

It’s interesting to note that those employees who feel supported by their manager are 70% less likely to get employee burnout.

Employee Burnout: How to Deal in Pandemic and Remote

In times of a pandemic, when we all feel alone and demotivated, the pressure is greater than ever, and feelings of stress and fear are inevitable.

Many people started working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this led to even greater chances of employee burnout.

First of all, the business environment is an important driver for every employee.

When many found themselves in their homes, without any colleagues, it became difficult to create the same energy and atmosphere as in the office. The lack of workplace community became even more obvious.

Excessive business tasks, impaired team communication, less feedback, as well as space for personal growth are just some of the factors that led to employee burnout during the pandemic.

Author: Emma Williams - Chief Research Officer at HIGH5
Author: Emma Williams - Chief Research Officer at HIGH5

Emma is a certified strengths and career coach with more than 25 years of international experience in helping individuals and organizations achieve success by nailing and maximizing their unique value propositions. She is an entrepreneur, proud mother and a C-level executive at HIGH5TEST, where she leads its coaching and research programs.

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