With increasing workloads, job responsibilities and deadlines, employees are becoming burnt out at a faster rate than ever before. Working longer hours with less time to rest increases employee discontentment. Letting stress build to toxic levels causes negative energy to spill out and affect a person’s entire well-being. As an HR professional, you need to look for common signs of stress and know how to help employees overcome them.

1. Drastic Performance Changes

A burnt-out employee may begin coming in late, leaving early and/or working over the weekend. To combat burnout, add stress education to your workplace wellness program. Teach effective stress management and coping skills through Lunch and Learns. Provide health professionals as guest speakers sharing expert knowledge on the effects of stress.

2. Mood swings

An employee experiencing burnout tends to be unusually sensitive and may become irritable with little provocation. To combat mood swings, encourage participation in an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Providing a counseling service for your employees, either directly or through your insurance, allows them to talk about their issues and find ways to cope with their stress level.

3. Disengagement

A normally high-performing employee may stop caring about their work and decrease their quality of output. A disengaged employee may procrastinate more and lose their sense of accomplishment and pride. To fight disengagement, regularly show employee appreciation. Offer recognition during team meetings, shout-outs in the company newsletter and bonuses for a job well done.

4. Reduced Socializing

When an employee is burnt out, they tend to socialize less. Because they want to be alone more, the employee often isolates from colleagues rather than joining in on conversations. To fight burnout, regularly check in with employees. Discuss realistic workloads, deadlines and expectations. Provide feedback on their performance. Ask for feedback in return. Address any concerns they have or changes in behavior you noticed. Encourage employees to ask for help when work is getting too hectic.   

5. Fatigue

An employee may become easily tired and feel drained during the workday. To fight fatigue, encourage employees to take regular breaks throughout the day. Suggest they take a walk, socialize in the break room or meditate. Require employees to take all vacation days and PTO.

6. Increased Absenteeism

Burnt-out employees commonly feel sick more often and get frequent headaches and muscle aches. Some employees turn to drugs or alcohol to deal with work. To combat absenteeism, allow employees to work remotely at least one day per week to avoid the commute and take care of personal responsibilities. If employees have to be in the office, offer a flexible schedule.

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