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How to avoid stress and workplace burnout

How to avoid stress and workplace burnout

Strategies for reducing stress and preventing professional burnout

Professional burnout is one of the main issues to be addressed in modern companies. Regardless of the field, industry, or specialization, a significant percentage of employees have symptoms or signs of burnout. Here, it should be clarified that burnout is not what we commonly use in casual conversation for situations that stress us out and annoy us, but which we still manage to control. In fact, the syndrome is defined as an intense psychosomatic condition in which the employee is so stressed that they are unable to perform their daily tasks. This condition is accompanied by other symptoms such as:

– Intense physical fatigue
– States close to depression
– Feelings of anger and sadness
– Emotional exhaustion
– Sense of depleted energy
– Mental distance and negativity towards work
– Reduced sense of efficacy at work

Identifying the burnout syndrome is particularly important for investigating its causes and developing means to avoid it. Specifically, according to researchers in the field, there are many potential causes of burnout primarily associated with:

– Intense work characterized by high demands on the mental and physical resilience of the employee
– Low levels of support
– Inability to express own opinion and exert control over work-related issues
– Lack of recognition for efforts
– Toxic interpersonal work environment

Stress exposure leading to burnout affects both the physical and mental health of an individual. In terms of physical health, it can lead to headaches, insomnia, heart diseases, and diabetes. In the psychological aspect, it can lead to depressive states, affect short-term memory, attention, and other cognitive processes that play a leading role in our daily activities. Such conditions have consequences not only for individuals but also negatively impact the effectiveness of the companies they work for. When employees suffer from burnout, their productivity declines, they become less creative, and start making mistakes at work. If it spreads throughout the entire company, this can have a negative impact on productivity, the quality of services offered, and the ultimate outcome.
In such cases, the question to be addressed is not who suffers from burnout but why they are burning out. The focus cannot simply be on the employees but also on the entire work environment. Is there a good match between people and the workplace environment that allows them to do well?
Big companies implement various strategies to avoid stress and burnout among their employees. Some of the common approaches they use include:

1. Flexible Work Arrangements

Many companies are offering flexible work hours, remote work options, and compressed workweeks. This gives employees more control over their schedules, which can help reduce stress and achieving work-life balance.

2. Training and Education

Different training programs on stress management, resilience building and time management can acquire the skills employees need to manage with workplace pressures more effectively.

3. Work-Life Balance

Encouraging employees to take vacations and disconnect from work during non-working hours helps prevent burnout.

4. Physical Health Care

Providing wellness programs, gym memberships, healthy lunch, and ergonomic workstations can contribute to employees’ physical well-being, which in turn can help reduce stress levels.

5. Creating Supportive Work Environments

A culture of open communication, empathy, and support can make a significant difference in managing stress and burnout. Encouraging teamwork, recognizing achievements, and a sense of belonging can also contribute to a positive work environment.

6. Regular Check-ins and Feedback

Managers can make regular meetings with their team members to check on their well-being, discuss workload concerns, and provide constructive feedback. This helps identify the potential sources of stress before they escalate.

7. Setting Realistic Expectations

Ensuring that workloads are manageable and realistic prevents employees from feeling overwhelmed. Clear communication about job responsibilities, deadlines, and priorities can help employees prioritize tasks effectively.

8. Setting Boundaries

Encouraging employees to set boundaries between work and personal life, such as turning off email notifications after work or delegating tasks when feeling overwhelmed, can prevent burnout.

By implementing these strategies, big companies can create healthier work environments where employees can thrive and avoid the detrimental effects of stress and burnout.

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