How to prevent employee burnout this winter

As we near the end of the year, your staff might be at risk of burnout—here’s how to spot the signs.

First published on Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021

Last updated on Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021

4 min read

If there’s anything that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s that employee burnout is no joke.

Huge corporations like Bumble, LinkedIn and Nike have all given their workers paid time off this year to help them de-stress and recover from the pressures of the pandemic.

And others like Shopify have given their staff shorter working weeks during summer to help them relax and spend time away from work. But of course, not everyone can afford to do this.

That’s why it’s important that you know how to spot the signs of employee burnout, especially as we head into the winter months.

What exactly is employee burnout?

Sometimes people can use the term ‘burnout’ to describe feeling overly tired or when they’re in need of a good holiday.

But employee burnout is much more than that. The World Health Organisation classed burnout as a workplace syndrome in 2019 and described it as “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

How do I spot the early signs of workplace burnout?

Employee burnout doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a series of triggers that gradually happen over time causing even the most passionate employee to feel the effects.

Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Increased mental distance from work
  • Reduced productivity
  • Lack of energy
  • Negative attitude towards work

It’s important to familiarise yourself with these symptoms so you can spot the early warning signs of burnout and get your staff the support they need.

So, are my staff more likely to burn out in the winter then?

Well, not exactly.

Your staff can burn out at any time of the year.

But as the nights draw in and the days get shorter, the winter can naturally take a toll on your team’s mental health. Some might even suffer from seasonal affected disorder which sees their mood drop during the winter months.

Workload also tends to increase at this time of year as businesses rush through jobs to meet their end-of-year targets. So, it’s likely that a combination of these factors could put pressure on your staff and make them more prone to burning out.

What can I do to reduce the risk of employee burnout?

By creating a healthy workplace culture, you can do your bit to reduce employee burnout in your business. Here are our top four tips:

1) Regularly check in with your staff

Without speaking to your employees, you’re not going to know if there’s anything that’s bothering them. So, make sure to schedule regular one-to-ones with your staff to give them the opportunity to open up to you.

2) Promote a healthy work-life balance

Do your staff come in early, skip lunch breaks and answer emails at the weekends? Then your business could be promoting an unhealthy work-life balance.

Instead, you should encourage your people to switch off outside of work hours, always take their breaks and book time off when they need it.

3) Reward your employees

Make sure to acknowledge your staff for the good work that they do. When your staff feel valued for their hard work and dedication, they’re happier in their jobs and less likely to hold negative attitudes towards their work.

4) Invest in an employee assistance programme

Your employees might not always want to open up to you. That’s why it’s vital that you have an employee assistance programme like Bright Wellbeing & Counselling in place.

It’s a complete wellbeing service that gives your staff access to 24/7 confidential advice, face-to-face counselling sessions and on-the-go wellbeing support.

Want to learn more about Bright Wellbeing & Counselling and how it supports your staff? Book your free demo today.

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