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How training can help prevent workplace burnout

workplace burnout

A majority of American employees say they deal with work burnout. A mix of factors create this condition. While awareness is the first step in addressing this issue, one of the most effective solutions lies in comprehensive employee training.

The importance of work-life balance has gained traction in recent years, but 65% of American employees still say they dealt with work burnout during 2023, according to isolved’s 2024 HR Trends Survey. Factors like heavy workload, inadequate manager support, and difficult clients or customers all contribute to work-related stress and burnout. Being aware of burnout is essential for both employees and enterprises that want to thrive despite outside challenges. 

Why Is Burnout Such a Big Deal? 

Workplace burnout isn't an entirely new phenomenon. Professionals such as doctors, first responders, and social workers have long struggled with workplace stress and burnout due to the nature of their jobs. But in the last two decades, burnout has increased substantially and left no industry untouched. 

The fact that burnout is widespread doesn't mean that it's normal or acceptable. Stress and burnout have wide-ranging effects on both employees and the businesses they work for. 

Productivity Impacts

Workplace stress and burnout are often caused by a workload that is too much for an employee to handle. Understaffing and insufficient training can both contribute to a high workload. Some employers also have unrealistic expectations of how much work employees can handle and assign too many tasks to one person. 

Managers and workers might feel like having a high workload is the only way to get things done, but the opposite is  true. The more overwhelmed workers are, the harder it is for them to stay up to date on tasks. Burnout causes employees to lose focus, which in turn leads to lower rates of productivity.   

Poor Employee Mental Health

Employee mental health is often overlooked in the workplace even though it has a direct impact on productivity and employee retention rates. It's essential for employers to understand the types of problems that arise from poor work-life balance. Some of the mental health-related issues that stress, and burnout can cause include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor decision making
  • Short attention span
  • Lack of motivation
  • Emotional distress 
  • A negative outlook on the workplace or life in general

Employees who are struggling with mental health problems caused by burnout might need to take sick days or personal days that wouldn't be needed if they had a balanced workload. This is a lose-lose situation for both employees and the businesses where they work.  

High Turnover

Burnt-out employees are unhappy employees. Gallup research has found that employees who suffer from burnout are 2.6 times more likely to look for new jobs than their peers. Employers that don't take proactive measures to address burnout will likely notice high turnover rates, which affect profits and productivity. 

What Employers Can Do to Address Employee Burnout

Burnout is bad for both employees and their workplaces, but few businesses do enough to combat this growing problem. In a recent Deloitte survey, 70% of respondents said that their employers don't do enough to prevent burnout. Taking proactive measures to reduce workplace stress and burnout can help employers reduce turnover, increase profits, and make their business more attractive to job candidates.

Of course, burnout also affects entrepreneurs and freelancers. For these groups, burnout can lead to low productivity and declining profits. Mastering work-life balance and taking time off is essential if you work for yourself.

Thankfully, there are many things that employers can do to help reduce burnout. 

Encourage Awareness of Burnout

The first step to addressing any workplace issue is awareness. Train managers and employees to recognize the key signs of burnout, which include:

  • Low energy or even exhaustion
  • Cynical or negative attitudes
  • Detachment from the job
  • Lowered attention span
  • Decreased productivity or effectiveness

Respond Proactively to Workplace Challenges

Being aware of burnout is the first step in preventing it. It's also essential to have a plan for handling burnout in place. Both managers and employees should know who to contact if they notice signs of burnout. Establish a workplace wellness ambassador who is responsible for evaluating workloads and providing employees with the resources needed to overcome burnout. 

Creating an employee wellness program is a great way to address workplace stress and burnout. A wellness program should include both resources for employees and adaptations to make workplace culture less stressful. Flexible work arrangements, fitness and health initiatives, employee recognition, and service projects can all be components of a wellness program. 

Re-Evaluate Employee Workloads

Excess workloads are a primary cause of burnout. Business leaders and managers should continuously evaluate employee workloads to ensure that expectations are realistic. It's important to listen to employee complaints too. If people consistently say that they have too much work, it's time to re-evaluate. Workloads can be reduced by:

  • Looking for new innovations to make the workplace more efficient
  • Hiring new employees
  • Redistributing work 
  • Enlisting contractors or freelancers to assist with temporary workload increases 
  • Asking managers to be proactive in helping with challenging tasks

Invest in Employee Training

Inadequate training is one of the leading causes of workplace burnout. Employers should invest in comprehensive, ongoing training that helps workers stay informed and efficient. Employees can also pursue education to enhance their skills and help them advance in the workplace. Employee training is a smart way to keep professionals engaged with their careers while preventing stress and burnout.

Ensuring that workers have the training and resources they need is one of the most effective ways to address the causes of workplace burnout. At Emory Corporate Learning, we provide training to help professionals gain the skills they need to succeed in fast-paced work environments. We nurture innovations and guide companies to find smart, efficient, and balanced solutions to workplace burnout challenges.

Interested in training solutions to help mitigate workplace burnout? Contact Emory Corporate Learning to get started.