How to Prevent Burnout at Work

Leadership resilience has been key in helping to navigate the choppy waters of the pandemic. Resilience, like any human characteristic, has its own upper limit. So much has been asked and given by people at all levels through the COVID crisis. People are tired.

A recent survey in the US suggested that up to 75% of workers were experiencing burnout. It does not end there. A June article on the HR Director website suggested that 70 % of senior HR Directors from major organisations are looking to change role, and a further 23% confessed to being burnt out. We look to senior people professionals as our guiding light through times of disruption, so these statistics are a warning light for businesses to urgently flip the script on ‘work until you drop’ culture, address employee exhaustion, and look after the people who look after the people.

I am reminded of one of the defining principles of our founder Dale Carnegie ‘Sleep before you are tired’. The wisdom of those words had seldom felt so prescient.

Burnout, anxiety, depression, and mental health strain negatively impact performance to the tune of an estimated $1 trillion globally in annual revenue. “Mental and emotional stress are taking a toll on employees and leading to burnout which reduces employee engagement,” says Mark Marone, Dale Carnegie’s Director of Research. “Managers and executives can take steps to protect workers’ wellbeing by encouraging time off, giving them a space to express their needs, and changing company culture and benefits.”

Mark studies workplaces trends, and in a recent writing, Workplace Burnout and Stress Are Affecting Employee Engagement’ he illustrates the following strategies to combat a steady decline in workplace mental health over the pandemic era.

  • Keep the workday at work.
  • Encourage using annual leave.
  • Give colleague a space to express their needs.
  • Add flexibility to routine
  • Evaluate company culture and policies
  • Practice empathy.

Mark concludes, supported employees are engaged employees, “We can help foster a low-stress environment in which employees can function at their best without feeling overwhelmed or burnt out.”

Another useful resource is the Dale Carnegie Golden Book, which shares practical tips from the book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. They include:

  • Live in Day Tight Compartments -only worry about what is happening today – that’s all you can control
  • Co-operate with the inevitable – there are some things you can’t control. Accept them and plan how to deal with them so you can move on
  • Try and face your problems logically – follow these 3 simple steps
    What’s the very worst that can happen?
    • Prepare to accept the worst
    • Think of ways to improve on it
  • Use the law of averages to out weigh your worries – ask yourself how likely really that this thing is going to happen?

To read them all, download, ’Secrets of Success’