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Preventing Burnout at Work

Workplace burnout is an increasingly widespread reality in the modern corporate world. This phenomenon, characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism and reduced professional effectiveness , can have negative impacts on both individuals and organizations. Preventing it not only improves the quality of life of employees, but also results in greater productivity for the company.

Recognizing the Warning Signs

The first step in preventing burnout is recognizing its warning signs. These may include increased fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, reduced interest in work, and health problems such as headaches or sleep disturbances. Being aware of these symptoms allows you to intervene before burnout becomes a serious problem.

Stress and burnout both derive from exhausting situations of psychophysical discomfort. However, they are not synonymous:

  • stress does not always result in a full-blown burnout syndrome, while the latter always involves a massive dose of stress.

  • stress can be limited to a limited period of time and resolve on its own . Burnout indicates the emptying and exhaustion of a person and is a more difficult condition to resolve .

  • stress can arise from relational factors, but also from various generic and overly demanding working conditions. Burnout is more linked to excessive interpersonal demands, to work relationships that imply a stressful emotional investment in the long run .

Strategies to Reduce the Risk of Burnout

In more recent times we have begun to reflect on burnout not only as a subjective element, linked to the different way of managing stress of individuals, but rather to the organizational dimension. According to psychologists Cox & Griffiths, burnout is linked to "aspects relating to the planning, organization and management of work, as well as to the respective environmental contexts and

social, which have the potential to produce harm of a psychological, social or physical nature"

To reduce the risk of burnout, it is therefore essential to adopt effective strategies at an individual and organizational level.

Among the individual ones:

  • Work-Life Balance: Encouraging a good work-life balance is essential. This can include flexibility in working hours, remote working opportunities and encouraging regular breaks.

  • Stress Management Training: Offering training in stress management techniques, such as mindfulness and time management, can equip employees with the tools to better cope with work challenges.

  • Coaching, psychology and support programs: Providing access to psychological support, such as counseling or employee assistance programs, can help manage stress and improve mental well-being.

  • Mindfulness and yoga: These disciplines that combine physical exercises with breathing techniques and meditation, which can relax both the body and the mind, reducing the physical symptoms of stress, can improve the quality of sleep, a crucial factor in the prevention of burnout, helps to develop greater awareness of one's body, allowing one to recognize the signs of stress and tiredness and act accordingly.

  • Physical activity: knowing how to listen and protect your body is essential to intercept the signs of burnout. Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress. During physical activity, the body releases endorphins, known as the "happy hormones," which can improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.

  • Creating healthy habits: Knowing how to set up your daily routine in a healthy way, taking preventative care of yourself, from nutrition, to sleep, to the ability to manage time, are key elements. With the My Trainect APP, thanks to the behavioral design model, we use technology to support people in creating healthy routines and taking care of themselves

From an organizational point of view, the structure and functioning of the work environment influence people's relationship with their work, in 6 areas:

  • Workload: people must be subjected to a sustainable workload and the achievement of realistic objectives in order not to fall into work overload

  • Recognition: we are social animals and one of our fundamental needs is recognition. Not obtaining insufficient recognition leads the person to a state of confusion and disorientation as well as frustration for the effort put into the activities

  • Equity: meritocracy and recognition go hand in hand, people feel good if they receive the recognition they work for otherwise they risk demotivation and disengagement

  • Control: Being at the mercy of the directives of one's boss or the organization without having decision-making power reduces people's sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy, creating toxic dynamics

  • Social integration: the the ability and possibility to create healthy relationships at work helps us prevent dynamics of isolation and emotional distress linked to burnout; on the contrary, a toxic culture negatively influences these aspects

  • Values: pretending to be a role rather than a person leads to a strong state of stress and psychological imbalance as well as an increase in feelings of shame and guilt, reduction of trust and self-esteem, false feelings of belonging

Collaborate with HR for Burnout Management

According to the definition of psychologists Maslach & Leiter, burnout " expresses a deterioration that affects the values, dignity, spirit and will of people; that is, it expresses a corrosion of the human soul. It is a disease that spreads over time consistently and gradually, sucking people into a downward spiral from which it is difficult to recover." We understand well that the issue is truly serious and companies cannot afford to be the cause of this type of malaise.

This is why the Human Resources function is crucial to tackling burnout. HR can play a key role in identifying workplace stressors, developing wellness policies and providing resources to support employees. Implementing corporate wellness programs and training managers on recognizing the signs of burnout are critical steps. There are also some tools that can help, through surveys and analyses, to detect people's levels of stress and burnout, such as Trainect's Wellbeing Assessment which, based on the scientific model Maslach Burnout Inventory, intercepts possible cases of burnout.

Measure the health of your company with the Trainect assessment or book a free call with our experts who will help you design the most suitable wellbeing strategy for your company.

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