I left you in my last article with the burning question (pun intended) of how to detect the signs of potential burnout. As I mentioned last time, once in burnout, it takes 12 months to recover enough to be able to get back to work so this is no idle question. If detected beforehand, it is not just the person’s life that could feel a lot different but the whole bottom line of the company that will be affected, especially if that person is key personnel.
So keep an eye out for these profiles:
The “super-busy” person: now that would seem to be your ideal employee and it could very well be but be mindful of the following: if they have been working for more than 60 hours a week consistently over many months or even years, without many holidays or what I call “fake” holidays as in being on the computer and/or mobile phone constantly, then they are potential candidates. If their brain is always busy, they rise up early, constantly thinking about work, watch out for additional pressure that could come their way, it could be all it takes.
The “pressure-driven” person: here we are going up one notch, that same profile we have just described who could be staying simply super-busy is entering the danger zone. This is where you need to be at your most watchful. Typically, someone in that zone will start feeling a bit overwhelmed, possibly frustrated or anxious. They keep going and push even harder but find it difficult to focus, memorise and their attention span is diminishing. They usually need some kind of stimulant to keep them going: numerous cups of coffee or black tea, sweet snacks… If they consistently bite people’s heads off, do not snap back, think long and hard how to help, they could be inches away from hitting the wall and the next few weeks could make a huge difference in whether or not they are available to the company for the next 12 months. If their sleep is very disrupted as well, it is time to act, fast! Added pressures such as a highly demanding position with little latitude in decision-making, conflicts at work or between their values and that of the company, harassment etc. can, of course, make it worse and push them into burn out quicker.
Now not everyone is the same, levels of resistance vary enormously from one person to the next but these attitudes over several month should always alert you.
Then what next you will ask? Well, recognising the danger and detecting the sign is a first step but there is much to be done in the form or prevention, training and team management to avoid having to do too much damage control. And I will give you my take on it in my next column, watch this space!
Our Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2015 on 26 November, at the Hilton Hotel Canary Wharf, will be covering issues such as dealing with on-going pressures and stress at work.
- Using technology at work - 13 June 2016
- Connecting to your inner productivity - 31 May 2016
- The one-minute break secret - 19 January 2016
- Burnout or not burnout, that is the question! - 17 November 2015
- Not stressed enough? - 13 October 2015
- Taking performance to the next level - 30 June 2015
- Presenteeism: the virtually absent worker - 10 June 2015
- Work-minded or mindfully aware? - 11 May 2015
- How to use technology and not let it use your employees - 28 April 2015
- A mindful day at work: what does it really mean? - 8 April 2015