Simple Tips to Help Combat Burnout at Work
We tackle burnout and take a look at strategies for people leaders and employees with the help of some of our expert partners, CEO of FLO Wellbeing, Mandy Millan and Co-founder of Select Wellness, Martine Beaumont.
Eda Caspillo, Marketing & Sales Coordinator
People leaders have always navigated emotional dynamics in the workplace — but not at the scale and intensity unleashed by the pandemic. Most of us have come across someone that has experienced burnout in some form in the last two years. So how should business leaders address one of the most prominent issues facing many workers today – burnout?
There is a collective feeling of angst thanks to the pandemic, the rising cost of living and the pressures caused by hybrid working. However, while it seems easier to push through tough times, there are practical solutions for employees and leaders to help combat burnout.
Our expert partner, Martine Beaumont, Co-founder of Select Wellness, explains, "when you are tempted to yet again push that act of self-care to the bottom of your to-do list, remind yourself it is so much easier to act now and prevent burnout than to have to pick up the pieces once you're there."
When you are tempted to yet again push that act of self-care to the bottom of your to-do list, remind yourself it is so much easier to act now and prevent burnout than to have to pick up the pieces once you're there.
– Martine Beaumont, CEO and Founder of Select Wellness
What are the effects of burnout?
In 2019 the World Health Organisation identified burnout–– workplace stress left unmanaged— as an occupational phenomenon, the feeling of being exhausted or trapped in a job with no options to grow, which is also characterised by cynicism and feelings of ineffectiveness. A study by Asana looked at over 10,000 knowledge workers across seven countries and found approximately 70% of people experienced burnout in the last year.
The occupational phenomenon is also causing physical changes to the brain – and these are anything but minor. Everything from mood swings, foggy thinking, or a change in temper can all be reflected in the physical functioning of the brain.
A study in Sweden compared 40 subjects who all had worked more than 60 hours a week, split into two groups - those suffering burnout and those who weren't. "The two groups showed key differences in the amygdala –– a brain structure critical in emotional reactions including fear and aggression." Participants in the burnout group had relatively enlarged amygdalae - they appeared to have significantly weaker connections between the amygdala and brain areas linked to emotional distress, specifically the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC).
How to address burnout as a business leader:
Burnout prevention needs to be an integral part of any workplace ecosystem. Here Mandy Milan, CEO of FLO Wellbeing, offers her practical tips to use if your or your team are experiencing burnout symptoms:
Reframe how you approach problems
Business leaders need to remove this mentality that there are two groups within the workplace - "us" and "them" when trying to solve the problem of burnout. Instead, start by addressing the root causes of burnout and remove any sense of isolation when dealing with the widespread problem.
Speak to your employees
As a people leader, your team need to feel comfortable asking for support when navigating complex emotions such as exhaustion, stress, and loneliness while at work.
The most useful way to offer support is by asking:
How do you feel about your workload?
Are you coping with your deadlines?
Are our systems, benefits and policies providing the support you need?
Utilise affective contagion
One of the simplest ways to support your team is to harness the power of positivity. Affective contagion or emotional contagion refers to transferring emotions and moods between individuals; this can play a huge part in your employee's happiness and engagement and can be a great tool to foster a growth mindset rather than a fixed one. Using positivity gossip is as simple as providing positive narratives through affirmations such as: "The presentation you did last week was so helpful", which can cause lasting change to the way one may perceive their self-efficacy.
What small ways can you get ahead of stress before it overwhelms you and turns into burnout?
The idea of multitasking can be detrimental to our mental health. It's like having multiple tabs open within our brains; switching between them will likely make you tired and distracted. The key is to focus on one task at a time, complete it and then move on.
Start by stepping away from your device. Find a quiet space to connect with your breath, notice your thoughts and try to be in the present moment - the here and now. This process is like a phone charger for your brain. Next, commit to your new habit every day for 2 minutes and build up to 5min - not only are you creating a new healthy habit, but you are also inviting creativity and improving your focus.
Recharge with nature
Go outside (preferably without your phone!) and immerse yourself in your surroundings. Whether in stillness or walking, notice the smells and sounds around you and allow the fresh air to recharge. Make a conscious effort to unplug for a couple of hours each day and head outdoors; you'll have more time to focus on the things you enjoy.
triiyo: a holistic wellbeing solution for your people
Providing employees with the right digital tools, that’s accessible at an employee’s own convenience, is a great way to support your remote workforce through typical work-life phases.
The Resource Hub has hundreds of articles from our expert partners across various work-life topics, Community Channels to build social connections, and Journeys which help employees and managers navigate complex life stages, such as mental health.
STAY TUNED for episode 2 of our new podcast, “PEP TALKS with triiyo” on Burnout.
About Select Wellness
Select Wellness are industry recognised experts in designing and delivering strategic wellbeing programs to organisations with budgets of all sizes. Our approach is to work with every person as an individual, there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to wellbeing. We offer digital online interventions as well as face to face coaching, counselling, workshops and seminars.
About FLO Wellbeing
Mandy Millan founded Flo Wellbeing with a mission to connect people at work with themselves, and each other, for a stress-free and happy life. To improve the overall health and wellbeing of people everywhere and to see businesses thrive from the implementation of her Corporate Wellbeing services. FLO Wellbeing is an Australian Corporate Wellbeing company that brings movement and mindfulness into the workplace through group Pilates, Yoga and Mindfulness sessions; as well as education through tailored Workshops and Retreats.
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triiyo is an employee-centric, connectivity platform that simplifies the way people connect and communicate during life transitions at work. The centralised platform provides a safe space for employees to confidentially access support, connect and share information throughout the entire work-life cycle.
triiyo’s mission is to connect the dots between life and work for happier, human workplaces.
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Speak to us today to find out about how we can support you and your employees through parental leave, remote working, and other challenging work-life transitions.