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Burnout key on computer keyboard

How To Prepare For A Second Wave of Employee Burnout

Employees everywhere are feeling it.  Employee burnout. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, the compounding effects of stress and anxiety from social isolation, fears of contagion, added workloads where staffs have been reduced,  and (for many) the potential of financial ruin are mounting.  The cumulative effect is edging many of us close to, if not beyond, a breaking point.  With daily news media reporting on the spreading pandemic second wave in Europe, breakouts in colleges and newly rising infection rates in many states, we need to be prepared for not just a second wave of the virus, but the mental health impact of  a second wave of employee burnout.

The executive recruiting firm, Korn Ferry, recently published an article, Burnout: The Second Wave, which brought attention to this looming issue facing employers throughout the country.  The article is worth a read, but excerpts are provided below.

Employee burnout is increasing

According to the article, nearly six in 10 employees reported feeling burned-out last month, compared to 45% in April. Moreover, as it becomes clear that the pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon, more employees are blaming the virus for their burnout, citing it as responsible for increased workloads, lack of support, and unclear performance expectations.

Experts say the increase in instances of employee burnout is troubling given that employees have had some time to adjust to the “new normal” of remote working and fear of layoffs. What’s more, organizations have ramped up wellness efforts over the last four months. Now, however, the concern for organizations is employees sliding from burnout into anxiety, depression, or worse. “Organizations are looking hard at the impact that diminished informal interaction and personal support is having on employees,” says Mark Royal, a Korn Ferry senior director.

Current efforts are not enough

What many employers are finding is that Zoom check-ins and basic wellness activities like yoga classes, mindfulness training, and gym classes aren’t enough. In fact, instead of relieving stress, reports indicate that work-sponsored social activities over Zoom could actually be causing more stress. George Atkinson, a senior client partner at Korn Ferry, says right now wellness isn’t about programs or activities. Rather, he says, it is about “creating intimacy with employees to cut through the surface.”

“People need to vent, but they aren’t comfortable talking about these kinds of issues with managers or coworkers,” says Atkinson. That puts the onus on managers and leaders to proactively engage with employees, something they aren’t necessarily comfortable with, given that they are legally bound by what they can and can’t ask about home, kids, and health.

It’s not just the pandemic

But it isn’t just the work-life imbalance created by the pandemic that is leading to burnout. It’s also ongoing racial unrest, wildfires, and the upcoming election, among other factors, that together with the pandemic are creating a general feeling of hopelessness and lack of control, experts say. To be sure, part of the problem is that people haven’t had time to take a breath because they are being hit with one metaphorical body blow after another.

Another problem is that employees often don’t know that help is available for them. “Organizations need to proactively connect employees in need of help with available resources,” says Royal, pointing to benefits like psychological counseling, telehealth programs, employee resource groups, and company-supported childcare.

Managing employee burnout 

According to the Korn Ferry article, the most important thing leaders can do is to make sure employees know they are not alone in how they feel, nor should they feel guilty about it.  We agree, but we’d add several tips on how to handle burnout from an Espyr blog published last year.

  1. Learn your own strengths

If your job doesn’t fit your skill set, it’s easy to become disengaged.   Look at new projects or even new positions to get energized and send burnout packing.  “Workers who are truly engaged spend about four times as many hours doing what they do best every day, in comparison to doing what they don’t do well,” said Jim Harter, Ph.D., chief scientist of workplace management and well-being for Gallup. Getting involved in activities that develop your strengths further can help you feel even more energized, confident and motivated.

  1. Understand your weaknesses

In order to understand what you need to work on, it’s important to figure out what, exactly, is holding you back. Self-assessment is essential; without it you can’t even begin to grow. Can you improve your knowledge or skills? Learn new ones?  There are many online courses offering management and leadership classes.

  1. Develop strong partners at work

It’s not always true, but friends at work can help boost your efficiency and performance. Having friends at work can make it easier to seek advice without feeling judged, allowing you to gain access to feedback and information you might not otherwise get.  Developing strong relationships and having people you can rely on — plus being a reliable partner to others — goes a long way toward preventing burnout according to Harter.

Whether you’re concerned with burnout or not, numerous studies have shown that friends are truly good for your physical and mental health.  Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many health problems, like depression, high blood pressure obesity and even dementia.

  1. Communicate

If you are feeling burned out, don’t try to suck it up or hide it.  It won’t work.  A conversation with higher-ups can be valuable in fostering support, ideas and feedback for everyone involved.  A good manager will be open to discussing your situation, supporting you through a rough time, and working with you to address the stressors causing the burnout. Sharing what you’re going through and feeling heard is, in and of itself, a powerful step toward improving your situation.

  1. Identify a good manager

A recent Gallup study on stress and burnout at work found that employees who felt supported by their managers were overwhelmingly less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis. Employees who felt supported by their manager are about 70 percent less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis, according to Gallup.

  1. Keep good health habits

It goes without saying, but good basic health habits – eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep –  can go a long way  in relieving stress and thus burnout.

  1. Consider a change

Sometimes you’re just in the wrong place – the wrong job, a boss you don’t like, a company culture that conflicts with your personal values.  You may need a change – a new position in your company, a new company, maybe even a new career direction.

About Espyr

For over 30 years Espyr, has provided innovative mental health solutions to organizations operating under some of the most challenging conditions. Espyr’s portfolio of customized counseling, coaching  and consulting solutions help employers reduce healthcare costs by identifying and addressing employee mental health issues before they require more expensive, long term care. For more information on how Espyr can help your organization, call Espyr at 888-570-3479 or click here.

Burnout printed on burning background

Burned Out From Working From Home? Here’s How to Fix It.

Last year, we wrote about how the World Health Organization had officially classified “Burnout” as a legitimate medical diagnosis beginning in 2020.   Since our post last year, COVID-19 has created the equivalent of a tectonic shift in working by moving huge segments of the work force to work from home.  Has that change in work environment resulted in more burnout or less?  Do people get burned out from working from home? 

Burnout has received more attention over the past few years amid a flurry of reports documenting increasing occurrences across various occupations.  Last year a  Gallup study  of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always.   In high stress occupations, burnout rates can soar even higher.   For instance, a Medscape Physician Lifestyle Survey in 2015 reported the rate of physician burnout at 46%.   But, burnout can affect anyone regardless of their occupation.

 

Burnout printed on burning background

The number of people working from home had been steadily growing anyway, but with COVID-19 the percentage skyrocketed. In 2017, 5.2% of US adults worked from home on a regular basis.  In March, 2020, that number had grown to 51% of employed US adults according to a Harris Poll in early April. It’s likely that the work at home number has receded somewhat as employers reopened offices, though the recent spikes across the country in COVID cases may send more workers back home.  Regardless, many Americans’ are still working from home and it’s likely that a significant number of them will continue to work from home even after the pandemic is in our rear view mirror. (Yes, eventually the pandemic will be behind us!)

What is burnout? 

With so many of us working from home, we wondered whether burnout is more or less of an issue than it was a year ago?  To answer that question, let’s first understand what we mean by burnout.  According to the WHO, doctors can diagnose someone with burnout if they meet the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

The diagnosis is limited to work environments, and shouldn’t be applied to other life situations. 

It’s important to note that burnout is not just a mental health issue.  Major health risks that have been associated with job burnout include type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol and even death for those under the age of 45.

Is home a “breeding ground” for burnout?

A recent article by Natasha Hinde in the Huffingtonpost in the U.K. explored the issue of burnout for those working at home.  Hinde found that with “working from home the boundaries between work and personal lives are increasingly blurred. When your laptop is always within reach, it’s all too easy to check emails at 9 or 10 PM and easy to skip lunch when you’re buried in a project.”

“Working from home provides little opportunity for variety in your working day,” says Lucy Fuller, a UKCP-accredited psychotherapist. “There’s little chance for face-to-face, non-work social interaction and it comes with an intensity that would usually be broken up by traveling and dawdling on your way to work, in your lunch period and also going to meetings outside your place of work.

“Our days are therefore becoming grey and our brains are burning and clouding from sitting in front of a screen for so long. We’re effectively trapped in this way of work without a definite end point to look forward to.”

Psychotherapist Philip Karahassan, a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, doesn’t think people know they can burn out while working from home – “people usually see it as a more relaxing work day, where they can do work at their own pace” – which might mean they’re hurtling headfirst into it.

How to Prevent Burnout

In another blog from last year we wrote about how to prevent burnout.   Our advice last year holds true today regardless of where you’re working.

1. Learn your own strengths

If your job doesn’t fit your skill set, it’s easy to become disengaged.  Look at new projects or even new positions to get energized.  “Workers who are truly engaged spend about four times as many hours doing what they do best every day, in comparison to doing what they don’t do well,” said Jim Harter, Ph.D., chief scientist of workplace management and well-being for Gallup. Getting involved in activities that develop your strengths further can help you feel even more energized, confident and motivated.

2. Understand your weaknesses

In order to understand what you need to work on, it’s important to figure out what, exactly, is holding you back. Self-assessment is essential; without it you can’t even begin to grow. Can you improve your knowledge or skills? Learn new ones?  Look into the many online courses offering management and leadership classes.

3. Develop strong partners at work

It’s not always true, but friends at work can help boost your efficiency and performance. Having friends at work can make it easier to seek advice without feeling judged, allowing you to gain access to feedback and information you might not otherwise get.  Developing strong relationships and having people you can rely on — plus being a reliable partner to others — goes a long way toward preventing burnout according to Harter.

Whether you’re concerned with burnout or not, numerous studies have shown that friends are truly good for your physical and mental health.  Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many health problems, like depression, high blood pressure obesity and even dementia.

4. Communicate

If you are feeling burned out, don’t try to suck it up or hide it.  It won’t work.  A conversation with higher-ups can be valuable in fostering support, ideas and feedback for everyone involved.  A good manager will be open to discussing your situation, supporting you through a rough time, and working with you to address the stressors causing the burnout. Sharing what you’re going through and feeling heard is, in and of itself, a powerful step toward improving your situation.

5. Identify a good manager

In the Gallup study on stress and burnout quoted earlier, employees who felt supported by their managers were overwhelmingly less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis. Employees who felt supported by their manager are about 70 percent less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis, according to Gallup.

6. Keep good health habits

The same basic advice that will help in relieving stress is also true for burnout: eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.

7. Consider a change

Sometimes you’re just in the wrong place – the wrong job, a boss you don’t like, a company culture that conflicts with your personal values.  You may need a change – a new position in your company, a new company, maybe even a new career direction.

To this list, Hinde adds one more piece of advice that is specific to working from home:  setting boundaries.  “Create a specific area just for work and separate from personal life even if it’s only a corner of a room.   Set boundaries with the people around you, too.”  Of course, that can be more challenging with small children at home, but not impossible.   “Make clear what times you’ll be working and when you can spend time with them – and stick to that routine.”

Another great idea that Fuller adds is to think about how to create commute-type divides into your working day. “In normal circumstances we have a natural divide, which is your commute, but we now have to create our own transition,” says Fuller. “This might be doing exercise, putting music on that you love or taking a bath. “Whatever it is, use the activity to shake off your day and draw a line under your work to move into your leisure time.”

What if you already feel burned out?

Between working at home, social isolation and pandemic induced anxiety, we are all facing an unprecedented level of stress.  Your work and your health may be suffering as a result.  What if you’re already burned out from working at home?  Here’s what to do.

Take a break

Stop, get away from your many screens and tell yourself you’re doing a great job.  “Take a break outside of your home environment,” suggests Karahassan.  Go for a walk, preferably outdoors. And if you’re fortunate enough to live near a wooded area or forest, walk there. Exposure to forests strengthens your immune system, reduces blood pressure, increases energy, boosts your mood and helps you regain and maintain focus.  The Japanese call it “shinrin-yoku” or “forest bathing.” Even 20 minutes in a forested space is enough to produce positive changes in the body. “If you can’t go out, go in the shower, wash your face, just do something for you. That five or 10-minute break can give you the space to reset and take control of your thoughts and feelings,” Karahassan says.

Indulge in something that brings you joy

Take some personal play time.  Reconnect with old friends.  Read a book.  Listen to music.  Whatever it is, “Turn off your work screen and indulge yourself in something that brings you joy,” adds Fuller. “You won’t regret it.”

Take care of yourself physically

Avoid unhealthy vices like smoking and drinking and instead try to do things for your mental wellbeing – do some exercise, connect with loved ones, prioritize self-care, sign up to volunteer, and try to work smarter (not harder), says Hinde.

Practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness can help you live in the moment rather than thinking about the next Zoom meeting on your calendar. And practicing gratitude can promote feelings of positivity – write down three things that went well today, or for which you’re grateful.

Breathe

Breathing exercises are useful when things feel too much, so take five minutes out of your day, sit comfortably somewhere, and focus on your breath.

If these remedies don’t work, consider consulting with your employer’s EAP or wellness program, or discussing your feelings with your physician.  Don’t try to gut it out alone.

About Espyr

Espyr has been helping people achieve and maintain good mental health so they can perform at their best for over 30 years.  Clients in the most challenging occupations rely on Espyr’s innovative coaching, counseling and mental health advocacy programs to maintain employee health and well-being. For more information on how Espyr can help your organization, call Espyr at 888-570-3479 or click here.

Resilience is being able to bounce back from adversity or trauma

Can Resilience Be Learned?

The American Psychological Association (2014) defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress.  Clinically, it might not be that simple, but for most of us resilience is the ability to bounce back – to mentally or emotionally cope with a situation or return to the way we were before the situation occurred.  If we recognize the importance of resilience the next question we’re likely to ponder is whether we’re born resilient or can resilience be learned?

Resilience is being able to bounce back from adversity or trauma

An example of professional resilience

Annabelle Timsit, writing in Quartz magazine, recently described the tragic situation of a young French woman who, while caring for a new baby at the tail end of maternity leave, discovered she had breast cancer.  After a 15-month bout of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment she was thankfully cancer free. Unfortunately, her much anticipated return to work was shattered with news that her job had been eliminated.

For most of us, a one-two punch like this would have been a crushing blow.  For Patricia Acensi-Ferré it led to an entirely new career as she launched a consulting company coaching employees and employers on how to foster resilience in professional situations.

Why do employers need a resilient workforce?

Acensi-Ferré’s situation may have been more severe than typical, but personal situations that either distract us at work or disconnect us from work happen quite frequently. Situations resulting in employees taking voluntary leave can happen for many reasons.   On average, 273,000 women and 13,000 men take maternity or paternity leave in the US every month.  Many more take voluntary leave for other reasons,  burnout being one of the most common.  According to a recent Gallup study, burnout affects three out of every four US employees to some degree.

Increasingly, companies understand the value in supporting employees through personal transitions, crisis or burnout.   The reason for supporting those employees is quite clear.  When employees take voluntary leave the cost to retain or retrain them when they return can be very high.

Resilience can be learned

Resilience isn’t a trait people either have or don’t have — it involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed.

A good, comprehensive EAP, like what we offer at Espyr, will have coaches specifically trained on how to help employees learn to be more resilient.

Here are 8 strategies used by Espyr’s coaches for building resilience:

  • Nurture a positive view of yourself. Develop confidence in your ability to solve problems and trust your instincts.
  • Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. “You can’t prevent stressful events from happening, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events,” says Dr. O’Gorman, PhD., a psychologist in private practice in East Chatham, N.Y., and a spokeswoman for the American Psychological Association. “Try keeping a long-term perspective.”
  • Accept that change is a part of living. Certain goals no longer may be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that can’t be changed can help you focus on circumstances you can affect.
  • Look for opportunities for self-discovery. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship report better relationships, a greater sense of strength, an increased sense of self-worth and a greater appreciation for life. Take a lesson from Patricia Acensi-Ferré who relied on her personal resilience to not just overcome a trauma, but thrive as a result.
  • Make connections. Good relationships with family, friends or others are important. Accept help and support from those who care about you.
  • Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect good things to happen in your life.
  • Move toward your goalsDevelop some realistic goals. Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”
  • Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, get enough sleep, eat a healthful diet and limit alcohol consumption.

Consider writing your thoughts about stressful events in your life. Try meditation and other spiritual practices. Many people find these activities help them build connections with others and restore lost hope.

“Becoming conscious of your strengths makes you stronger,” says Dr. O’Gorman. “Resilience increases as you recognize the magnitude of what you’ve already accomplished and survived in your life and helps you believe you can meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

About Espyr

Want to know more about building a resilient workforce?  Espyr is a leader in Employee Assistance Programs, coaching and other innovative behavioral health programs, all designed to help your employees and company achieve their full potential.  To learn more call us at 888-570-3479 or click here.

 

 

 

Burnout can ignite like a flame in this match.

Seven Steps To Avoid Or Reverse Burnout

In our last post we defined burnout, described the causes of burnout and provided a do-it-yourself quiz to help you know whether you may be suffering from burnout.

We’ve all heard colleagues or friends talk about “feeling burned out.”  You may have felt that way yourself from time to time.  Medical researchers have studied burnout for a number of years, but the concept has always been a bit fuzzy.  But that’s changed now that the World Health Organization has officially recognized burnout as a legitimate medical disorder.  Workers and employers need to reconsider the causes and dangers of burnout.

How do you know if you’re suffering from burnout?

According to the WHO, doctors can diagnose someone with burnout if they meet the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

The dangers of burnout

Whether you may have a personal concern about burnout or you’re an employer with workers complaining of it, burnout should not be taken lightly.

A CNBC report last year quoted an article in the Harvard Business Review that stated burnout accounts for an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion in healthcare spending each year.  A 2017 study in the journal PLoS One cited major health risks related to job burnout.  Risks include type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol, even death for those under 45.

High stress jobs don’t always lead to burnout.  Stress, if managed well doesn’t create a health hazard, and in fact can be a good thing. Stress can give you a jolt of energy, motivate you to accomplish tasks, even give you a short term memory boost.

Conversely, employees can still suffer from burnout in low stress jobs. Some individuals and certain occupations are more susceptible to burnout than others.

Man feeling burned out, holding his head in his hands

Signs of burnout

Burnout is avoidable and if you suffer from it, it is reversible. There are red flags that will pop up and warn you that you’re in burnout mode and it’s time to do something about it.  Some signs of burnout are subtle and others are easy to recognize.  Some examples you should watch for:

Become aware of unhealthy eating

When you are stressed, it is important to watch your diet. Stress uses a lot of energy; consequently, your immunity breaks down and your system may be depleted of many important nutrients.

Recognize weakening relationships

Personal relationships can be easily damaged when you are experiencing burnout at work or at home. Projects can be both emotionally and physically draining, and when all your energy is depleted, you have nothing left to contribute to a relationship.

Acknowledge any continual anger

Anger is often generated as a result of burnout. Listen to your feelings and assess if there is irritation just under the surface. Ask a trusted friend to give you feedback. You will find that it can be helpful to discuss the aggravations of your job on a regular basis with an objective person (usually a person who is not associated with your job or with the particular problem you are experiencing).

Look at your interpersonal investments

In order to minimize your stress at work and at home, you may try to protect yourself by eliminating any extra interpersonal investment. To accomplish this, you resort to limiting the expenditure of your energy, time, and emotional involvement. This is usually when you become brief and curt with people.

Notice emotional distance

Isolation becomes an easy solution when there is a lot of emotional stress involved. In this protective mode, you move away emotionally to guard against experiencing even more burnout that could be generated by helping other people.

Burnout can ignite like a flame in this match.

Photo by Yaoqi LAI on Unsplash

Handling burnout

CNBC asked a panel of experts  how employees can avoid — and even reverse — burnout.  Here’s what the experts said.

1. Learn your own strengths

If your job doesn’t fit your skill set, it’s easy to become disengaged.   Look at new projects or even new positions to get energized and send burnout packing.  “Workers who are truly engaged spend about four times as many hours doing what they do best every day, in comparison to doing what they don’t do well,” said Jim Harter, Ph.D., chief scientist of workplace management and well-being for Gallup. Getting involved in activities that develop your strengths further can help you feel even more energized, confident and motivated.

2. Understand your weaknesses

In order to understand what you need to work on, it’s important to figure out what, exactly, is holding you back. Self-assessment is essential; without it you can’t even begin to grow. Can you improve your knowledge or skills? Learn new ones?  There are many online courses offering management and leadership classes.

3. Develop strong partners at work

It’s not always true, but friends at work can help boost your efficiency and performance. Having friends at work can make it easier to seek advice without feeling judged, allowing you to gain access to feedback and information you might not otherwise get.  Developing strong relationships and having people you can rely on — plus being a reliable partner to others — goes a long way toward preventing burnout according to Harter.

Whether you’re concerned with burnout or not, numerous studies have shown that friends are truly good for your physical and mental health.  Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many health problems, like depression, high blood pressure obesity and even dementia.

4. Communicate

If you are feeling burned out, don’t try to suck it up or hide it.  It won’t work.  A conversation with higher-ups can be valuable in fostering support, ideas and feedback for everyone involved.  A good manager will be open to discussing your situation, supporting you through a rough time, and working with you to address the stressors causing the burnout. Sharing what you’re going through and feeling heard is, in and of itself, a powerful step toward improving your situation.

5. Identify a good manager

A recent Gallup study on stress and burnout at work found that employees who felt supported by their managers were overwhelmingly less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis. Employees who felt supported by their manager are about 70 percent less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis, according to Gallup.

And two additional points that we would add:

6. Keep good health habits

Though not part of CNBC’s expert feedback, we would add some basic advice that will help in relieving stress and thus burnout: eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.

7. Consider a change

Sometimes you’re just in the wrong place – the wrong job, a boss you don’t like, a company culture that conflicts with your personal values.  You may need a change – a new position in your company, a new company, maybe even a new career direction.

About Espyr

Espyr is a leading behavioral health company offering a portfolio of coaching, training and assistance products that span a continuum of care from restoring well-being to enhancing personal and organizational potential.  Among our many training programs, we offer our clients training for their employees and management teams on how to avoid and reverse burnout. To learn more about how Espyr can help you call us at 888-570-3479.

 

 

Suffering Burnout? 8 Questions To Help You Know

Man suffering from burnoutEarlier this year, the World Health Organization officially recognized burnout as a legitimate medical diagnosis.  Burnout has received more attention over the past few years amid a flurry of reports documenting increasing occurrences across various occupations.  

A recent Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always.   In high stress occupations, burnout rates can soar even higher.   For instance, a Medscape Physician Lifestyle Survey in 2015 reported the rate of physician burnout at 46%.   But, burnout can affect anyone regardless of their occupation.

What is burnout?  

According to the WHO, doctors can diagnose someone with burnout if they meet the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

The diagnosis is limited to work environments, and shouldn’t be applied to other life situations.

Burnout is not just an emotional issue. A 2017 study in the journal PLoS One cited major health risks related to job burnout, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol and even death for those under the age of 45.

What causes burnout?

According to a 2018 report by Gallup, employee burnout has five main causes:

  1. Unreasonable time pressure. Employees who say they have enough time to do their work are 70% less likely to experience high burnout. Individuals who are not able to gain more time, such as paramedics and firefighters, are at a higher risk of burnout.
  2. Lack of communication and support from a manager. Manager support offers a psychological buffer against stress. Employees who feel strongly supported by their manager are 70% less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis.
  3. Lack of role clarity. Only 60% of workers know what is expected of them. When expectations are like moving targets, employees may become exhausted simply by trying to figure out what they are supposed to be doing.
  4. Unmanageable workload. When a workload feels unmanageable, even the most optimistic employees will feel hopeless. Feeling overwhelmed can quickly lead to burnout.
  5. Unfair treatment. Employees who feel they are treated unfairly at work are 2.3 times more likely to experience a high level of burnout. Unfair treatment may include things such as favoritism, unfair compensation, and mistreatment from a co-worker.

Think you may be burned out?

Almost everyone has times when we just feel mentally and physically tired or when we’re feeling down about our work.  Maybe we’re not as productive or feeling as creative as we know we can be.  Does that mean we’re suffering from burnout?  Maybe, but not necessarily.  We’ve put together a simple 8 question quiz to help you assess whether you may be suffering from burnout.  A caveat: this is an educational tool, not a clinical diagnosis.  Answer each question True or False.

 

1. I frequently feel out of energy or exhausted

 

2. My job seems to be more stressful than it used to be

 

3. I have difficulty concentrating on tasks at work

 

4. I’ve noticed or been told that I’m more irritable lately at work

 

5. I feel less creative at work than I used to feel

 

6. I get headaches or stomaches without any apparent cause

 

7. I don’t feel like I’m part of a team anymore at work, but I don’t care

 

8. Sometimes I just don’t care about the quality of my work performance or product anymore

 

If you answered True to 3 or more questions you may want to consider speaking to your supervisor or HR representative about the possibility of burnout.  If you answered True to more than 4 questions you should consider more formal assessments by consulting with your employer’s EAP or wellness program, or discussing your feelings with your physician. 

If you answered True to question 6 you should consider seeing your healthcare provider to rule out a purely physical condition versus possible stress-related cause for the issues. 

In our next blog posting we’ll talk more about the dangers of burnout and ways to beat it.

About Espyr

Espyr is a leading behavioral health company offering a portfolio of coaching, training and assistance products that span a continuum of care from restoring well-being to enhancing personal and organizational potential. To learn more about how Espyr can help you call us at 888-570-3479.

Webinar: Supporting the Health and Wellness of Nurses

Clinician stress is a significant and widely prevalent issue in healthcare. It’s an issue that can affect patient safety, negatively impact the patient experience and increase the cost of care.   And that doesn’t take into account the physical and mental health problems caused by stress and burnout on clinicians themselves.

Stress and stress related health issues affect all clinicians, but in many respects nurses may have it the worst.  In one survey, 60% of nurses said that they had suffered physical or mental health problems in the past year as side effects of work related stress.  In another survey, among those who quit the profession, 26% claimed stress was the reason.

Beyond the health implications for patients and nurses, stress affects nurse’s morale, job satisfaction, and job retention.

Solutions to stress and burnout among nurses require a multi-pronged approach focusing on stress reduction, stress management techniques and the development of resiliency or healthy coping skills.

Register Now For The Webinar To Learn More

To learn more about how to improve nurse’s well-being, whether you are a clinician, Chief Nursing Officer or an HR manager focused on the health and well-being of hospital clinical staff, join us for an informative webinar series on Supporting the Health and Wellness of Nurses. The first webinar, Clinician Well-Being, will be held on Feb. 19 from 1:00PM – 2:00PM EST.  The second webinar in the series, Balancing Patient and Clinician Needs in the Workplace, will be held on Feb. 26 from 1:00PM – 2:00PM EST.

The webinar series features an illustrious panel of subject matter experts:

Cathy Ward, PhD – former UCLA Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer

Dr. Julie Becker, BSN, MBA, DBA – Chief Experience Officer for RCCH Healthcare Partners, formerly Chief Experience Officer for Lovelace Women’s Hospital and former Director of Patient Experience for University of Wisconsin Health

Michael Rogers – Manager Employee Retention, MidMichigan Health

To register for the webinar click here.

Espyr is a leader in behavioral health.  We’ve worked with a variety of healthcare companies, first responders and other organizations that have employee populations operating in high-stress positions. To learn more how we can help your organization, call us at 888-570-3479 or go to espyr.com.