What is workplace burnout anyway?

Bridget Hilton | Burnout Keynote Speaker | Mental Health Keynote Speaker | Workplace Belonging Keynote Speaker

I hear the term more and more these days, but think sometimes it gets confused with normal work stress, so some managers might just brush it off as being not serious.

While stress is a normal part of work, burnout is a more severe and prolonged condition that can have serious implications for both the individual and the organization. Recognizing the signs of burnout and taking steps to address and prevent it is crucial for promoting employee well-being and maintaining a healthy work environment.

Burnout in the workplace is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that results from prolonged or chronic job-related stress. It typically occurs when employees feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet the demands of their job. Burnout is often characterized by a sense of disillusionment, reduced effectiveness, and a lack of motivation.

Characteristics of workplace burnout include:

  1. Emotional Exhaustion: Employees experiencing burnout often feel emotionally drained and depleted. They may struggle to cope with their feelings and find it challenging to connect with their work or colleagues.

  2. Reduced Performance: Burnout can lead to a decline in job performance. Employees may find it difficult to concentrate, make decisions, or complete tasks effectively. Their work quality may suffer.

  3. Depersonalization: Burnout can manifest as cynicism and a sense of detachment from one's job, colleagues, or clients. Employees may become less empathetic or less engaged in their interactions.

  4. Chronic Fatigue: Physical and mental fatigue is a common symptom of burnout. Employees may experience chronic tiredness and have difficulty recovering their energy, even outside of working hours.

  5. Cynicism and Negativity: Burnout often leads to a negative attitude toward work and a sense of hopelessness. Employees may become cynical about the organization, their role, or their prospects for improvement.

  6. Reduced Job Satisfaction: Burnout is typically associated with a decrease in job satisfaction. Employees may no longer find meaning or fulfillment in their work.

  7. Health Issues: Prolonged burnout can have adverse effects on an individual's physical and mental health. It may lead to conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and even physical health problems.

  8. Isolation: Burnout can cause employees to withdraw socially, both at work and in their personal lives. They may isolate themselves from colleagues, friends, and family.

  9. Decreased Motivation: A lack of motivation is a common symptom of burnout. Employees may lose their enthusiasm for their job and may not be as committed to their tasks or goals.

  10. Increased Absenteeism: Burnout can lead to more frequent absenteeism as employees may need to take time off to recover or deal with physical or mental health issues.

So what can you do today to help your employees or colleagues (or yourself!) with avoiding burnout? Plan a shared experience with each other where there is open and honest dialogue about their mental health, and the things that they want to personally do in their lives. Download free exercises and guides on my website www.experientialbillionaire.com if you need ideas!



About Bridget Hilton

Bridget Hilton creates tools to help teams and leaders connect in the workplace through rich experiences and shared goals. Her keynote helps Fortune 500 companies navigate topics of mental health and wellness, burnout, employee belonging and connection, inspiration, motivation, and goal setting. Her book Experiential Billionaire and card deck Treasure Maps is out now. She is located in Los Angeles, CA and is booking keynotes and workshops worldwide now.