Battling the Burnout Epidemic

By Emily Loberto

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Everyone has experienced the feeling of getting so caught up in a fascinating project that the hours start to feel like minutes. When engaging with something so aligned with your natural strengths and capabilities, work doesn’t feel like work anymore. However, every yin has its yang, and the energizing feeling of enjoying work has its all too familiar opposite...burnout.  

The Complex Nature of Burnout  

Burnout occurs when employees feel mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted to the point of lethargy and even depression. While burnout itself isn’t a medical diagnosis, it can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and steep declines in mental health. 

For many people, the feeling of burnout is constant. However, it's often misattributed to simply being busy at work when in reality it’s a complex combination of several factors. While juggling tasks and working long hours can undoubtedly play a role, feeling unfilled and demotivated is what primarily leads to employee burnout.  

This feeling compounds when workers also feel they have very little control over their lives and lack support at home or the office. As the pressure mounts in these areas, the individual will begin to disengage from their personal and professional lives.   

The Effects of Burnout  

One of the most significant challenges in burnout is how difficult it can be to spot. Although your employees may appear productive and motivated, studies have found that burnout levels are even higher today than at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 59% of American workers experiencing moderate levels of burnout. 

If your employees feel the burn, they are likely getting very little quality work done and are three times more likely to consider quitting. And with the dwindling numbers in the talent market, attrition is something that many organizations can no longer afford. 

Burnout may also force employees to take sick days or personal leave, and this absenteeism can disrupt team dynamics and project timelines. When eroded employee engagement and disconnection from work and colleagues are added to the mix, a toxic work environment can be set ablaze, further perpetuating the burnout cycle at an organization.

Finding Fulfillment

While many managers are aware of the risk of burnout and strive to protect their team from it, pinpointing the cause of an individual's burnout can be incredibly difficult as each person is driven and drained by different tasks. For example, take introversion versus extroversion. When an extrovert is asked to spend each day conversing with customers, they'll leave the office feeling energized and fulfilled. On the other hand, an introvert in the same role may be on a fast track toward burnout. 

Now, why would an introvert choose a customer service role in the first place? Most people know their extroversion level and plan their careers accordingly. However, many other traits are far more challenging to be aware of. Are you driven by making decisions or hindered by them? Do you love talking to people but struggle when sharing work within a team? Do you find the creativity of an innovation project thrilling but dread any changes that could come about because of it? 

Humans are complex, and the answers to these questions aren’t often as easy as yes or no. Many employees won’t know what specific aspect of a task is driving them to burnout. They’ll just know that they leave work each day exhausted and disengaged. This poses quite a challenge to managers. How do you ensure your team is not burnt out if they themselves don’t even know how to prevent it? Thankfully, there are tools available to help!

How Plum Fights Burnout  

The key to unlocking your workforce's full potential is both simple and complex. When your employees can fill their days with tasks that give them energy, they will be far more productive and end each day feeling happy and fulfilled. But the challenge comes in when you try to determine what these driving factors are. 

Plum can unlock this data for everyone in your company with a 25-minute assessment. Every employee will walk away with an in-depth look at their drivers and drainers and an understanding of what inherently makes them tick, and managers can use this information to ensure they are building and maintaining teams set up to flourish. 

Book a time with one of our experts today to discover how to leverage Plum and build a workforce protected from burnout's troubling effects.