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Tips for Detecting Staff Burnout

Since the great ‘work from home’ movement of 2020 the potential for burnout has increased commensurately. Burnout moves both silently and swiftly and can strike with tremendous impact. Here are some tips for both recognizing the signs of burnout and what you can do to stave it off.

Disengagement & Apathy

As a leader or manager you will begin to learn your individual team member traits and their normal level of engagement for both their jobs and conversations alike. As people work longer hours, are exposed to more levels of constant stress and frustration, a normal symptom is for the individual to ‘check out’ or become disengaged as the new normal for them. It’s important to gauge this and understand whether or not there is something abnormally different about the employee or if this is simply a bad day. This is one of the most common signs of early burnout and as these behaviors are detected, it’s important to act on them.

Personality Changes

As with the level of engagement, so to goes the monitoring of individual personalities. A common sign for hitting burnout is mood swings where people who are normally on an even keel tend to react disproportionately to the situation. Gauge your team member’s reactions with past history and if there seems to be a sudden, abrupt change, it’s probably a strong indicator that burnout is creeping in.

How Can I Help?

There are many ways that you as a leader can help your team members who you feel may be suffering from burnout or are on the way there. The most important trait that a leader can have in these situations is to be able to listen effectively. You are (likely) not a mental health professional nor should you be prescribing actions to remedy mental health issues, but you can influence the environment around the individual perceived to be suffering. Listen, understand, and empathize. Make sure your team member knows they are supported by you and the organization.

Burnout is a common factor for attrition in many organizations and industries. In these days of the great resignation, companies are doing all they can to attract but more importantly retain top talent. Having a keen eye to your team members’ mental health and well being can be a crucial part of strong employee satisfaction. Keep an eye to the sky for the warning signs and don’t forget that your role is to listen and understand.


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