Burnout, Why it Happens, and How to Reduce It

Anne Lackey

Two minutes into a consulting call with a client and she shared this scenario with me:

Miranda, one of her hardest-working employees, was showing all the classic symptoms. She was late to work twice that week, which was unusual.

Also, she was making little mistakes like forgetting to add items to our calendar and basic spelling errors.

This is an employee who was known for her impeccable organization and now she seemed hopelessly scattered. My client and she have worked together for years, so she was honest when asked “what was going on?”.

“I’m just trying to get through the day,” she said, “That’s all the energy I have.” It was obvious even from a continent away – Miranda was experiencing burnout.

It wasn’t a cause for panic, but it worried my client, and it should worry you as well. Burnout is one of the major causes of turnover.  Your organization is feeling it and you are too more than likely.

These are the crucial moments in an employer/employee relationship that require a thoughtful and human response.

In these moments, with the appropriate response, you can help your employee weather a burnout blizzard.

Why does burnout happen?

I’ve been around the block a few times, so I know that burnout is pretty common. A recent Gallup study determined that about two-thirds of all employees feel some level of burnout at work.

It’s important to know what causes burnout so you can help your staff deal with it.

Some of the causes of burnout, according to the Mayo Clinic are:

  • Lack of control – no way to influence job-related decisions like workload, schedule, or assignments.
  • Lack of resources to get the job done well
  • Unclear job expectations
  • Not enough social support – feeling isolated at work leads to stress. This is becoming more common as the workplace continues to shift to remote and virtual employees.
  • Feeling unappreciated or undervalued

Fortunately, burnout can be addressed successfully and can even lead to a more productive working relationship when handled properly.

At HireSmart Virtual Employees we reduce burnout by focusing on the causes.

  • Whenever possible, give your employees control over their schedules, whether that means when they take their breaks, how they order and prioritize tasks, even giving them an opportunity to select their own tasks.
  • Make sure your staff has the tools they need to be successful. Whenever you remove unnecessary frustrations from the workplace, you are preventing burnout.
  • Clearly identify your standards and expectations when assigning tasks and projects.
  • Weekly check-ins help you identify employee issues before they get out of hand.
  • Saying “thank you” to your staff, even for little things, provides a positive boost and keeps them motivated.

Burnout is real and so are the potential consequences for yourself, your business and your employees.

Sometimes your answer is as simple as a new team member, someone to help lighten the load. Because our Virtual Employees cost 50-75% less, you can afford to hire additional people to lighten the load without adding excessive payroll overload.

Are you seeing signs of burnout in your staff? If so, it may be time to look at your staffing needs to keep that burnout at bay.

If you’d like to learn how HireSmart Virtual Employees can help your business with staffing solutions to manage burnout, click here to book a free consultation.