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Burnout Is a Company Issue, Not Just an Employee Problem, Says Experts

Your employer needs to help out, too.
by Charlene J. Owen
Dec 26, 2020
Photo/s: 1388843/Pixabay

It's not too much of a conjecture to say that everyone has been under pressure in one form or another in 2020. Many events have turned the world upside down, with COVID-19 being at the forefront of it all. But with stressors melding together into a ball-and-chain you drag with you daily, you probably aren't even sure if you're just tired, frustrated, or all together burnt out.

For those who have been privileged enough to keep their jobs, the pressure of staying relevant to one's employer while performing at exceptional levels when everything is uncertain can be very daunting. Your company may seem to be expecting more from you these days-it may be due to lack of manpower, lower revenues, or both-and you probably haven't noticed that you're not just stressed: you're actually burnt out.

A feature on Forbes lists down the World Health Organization's burnout symptoms, which "include feeling: emotionally and/or physically drained; mentally checked out at work; excessive pressure to succeed, and the need to hide personal concerns while at work." If you've ticked one or all of these, then you're probably at the breaking point.


The thing is, many companies think that burnout is an employee issue. Some experts say otherwise. Author and leader of Global Organization in Bain & Company Chicago Eric Garton says on Harvard Business Review, "When we looked inside companies with high burnout rates, we saw three common culprits: excessive collaboration, weak time management disciplines, and a tendency to overload the most capable with too much work. These forces not only rob employees of time to concentrate on completing complex tasks for idea generation, they also crunch the downtime that is necessary for restoration."

How do you deal with burnout?

We've already listed pieces of advice when it comes to dealing with burnout (you can read them here), but the truth is handling it on your own is only half of the equation. The other half should come from your employer, and you can bring them into the picture by talking with them. A good employer will listen, and believe it or not, will try to find solutions that would have you meet half-way. "Executives can also work on culture and coaching," continues Garton. "Leaders can help establish new cultural norms around time and make clear that everyone's time is a precious resource."

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So if you feel that you're burntout, be straightforward about it. Start the conversation with your direct supervisor. Ask for a few days off. Leadership that values you will grant you the rest the you need, and will go further by evaluating how the rest of the team has been feeling. If your employer brushes the issue off, then remember that your health and well-being should come first: it may be hard, especially right in the middle of the pandemic, but you may want to start looking for other jobs.  

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