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Signs to spot burnout among your team!

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Human Resources

24 April 2024

In today's fast-paced work environment, the prevalence of burnout among employees is a growing concern for organizations. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress and overwork. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of burnout in your team members is essential for maintaining a healthy and productive work environment. By being aware of the hints that someone in your team may be experiencing burnout, you can take proactive steps to address the issue and support your team members effectively.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a psychological syndrome that results from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by feelings of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization or cynicism towards work, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment. Burnout can affect individuals in various professions and industries, leading to negative consequences for both the individual experiencing burnout and the organization they work for.

Psychological triggers!

From a psychological point of view, burnout can be triggered by various factors that contribute to the development and progression of the syndrome.

These triggers, or stressors, can overwhelm an individual's coping mechanisms and lead to the onset of burnout. Some common triggers of burnout include:

- Excessive Workload

Being consistently overworked and having unrealistic expectations placed upon them can lead individuals to feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained, contributing to burnout.

- Lack of Control

Feeling a lack of autonomy and control over work tasks and decision-making processes can increase feelings of helplessness and frustration, leading to burnout.

- Poor Work-Life Balance

When work demands encroach on personal time and boundaries, individuals may struggle to recharge and recover, increasing the risk of burnout.

- Lack of Social Support

Feeling isolated or unsupported by coworkers, supervisors, or the organization can contribute to feelings of alienation and detachment, exacerbating burnout symptoms.

- Role Ambiguity

Unclear job expectations, conflicting roles, and a lack of clarity about responsibilities can create confusion and stress, increasing the likelihood of burnout.

- Job Insecurity

Concerns about job stability, layoffs, or career advancement can create anxiety and stress, impacting an individual's well-being and contributing to burnout.

- Values Misalignment

When an individual's personal values and beliefs do not align with the organization's mission or practices, it can lead to feelings of disillusionment and disengagement, increasing the risk of burnout.

10 Signs of burnout

Decreased Performance

One of the most common signs of burnout is a noticeable decline in an individual's performance. This can manifest as missed deadlines, lower-quality work, or a general lack of motivation to complete tasks.

Increased Irritability

Burnout can also lead to increased irritability and moodiness in team members. They may become easily frustrated, snap at colleagues, or exhibit a generally negative attitude.

Physical Symptoms

Burnout can have physical manifestations as well, including headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension, and fatigue. If a team member frequently complains of physical ailments, it may be a sign of burnout.

Emotional Exhaustion

Individuals experiencing burnout may feel emotionally drained and overwhelmed. They may express feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or cynicism about their work.

Isolation and Withdrawal

Burnout can lead to feelings of isolation and a desire to withdraw from social interactions. Team members may become more withdrawn, avoid team activities, or isolate themselves from colleagues.

Increased Absenteeism

Burnout can also result in increased absenteeism as team members may feel the need to take more frequent sick days or mental health days to cope with their feelings of burnout.

Lack of Engagement

Individuals experiencing burnout may exhibit a lack of engagement in their work and team activities. They may seem disinterested in meetings, projects, or team collaborations.

Difficulty Concentrating

Burnout can impact an individual's ability to concentrate and focus on tasks. Team members may have trouble staying focused, making decisions, or completing projects.

Changes in Behavior

Pay attention to any significant changes in a team member's behavior, such as increased procrastination, decreased communication, or a shift in work habits.

Neglecting Self-Care

Individuals experiencing burnout may neglect their self-care routines, such as exercise, healthy eating, or getting enough rest. They may also turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as excessive drinking or overeating.

Steps to overcome burnout

Overcoming burnout requires a combination of self-care strategies, changes in work habits, and seeking support from others.

Here is a list of steps that can help individuals overcome burnout:

- Recognize the Signs

Acknowledge and accept that you are experiencing burnout. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step toward addressing the issue.

- Self-Care

Prioritize self-care activities such as getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

- Set Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Learn to say no to additional responsibilities that can contribute to feelings of overwhelm.

- Seek Support

Talk to friends, family members, or a mental health professional about your feelings and experiences. Sharing your concerns with others can provide emotional support and perspective.

- Practice Mindfulness

Incorporate mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga into your daily routine to help manage stress and increase self-awareness.

- Time Management

Prioritize tasks, set realistic goals, and break projects into smaller, manageable steps. Effective time management can help reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.

- Delegate Tasks

Delegate tasks to others or seek help when needed. Don't hesitate to ask for assistance when feeling overloaded.

- Take Breaks

Incorporate regular breaks throughout your workday to rest and recharge. Stepping away from work can help prevent burnout and improve productivity.

- Engage in Hobbies

Make time for activities outside of work that you enjoy and that help you relax and unwind. Engaging in hobbies can provide a sense of fulfillment and balance.

- Professional Development

Consider professional development opportunities that can enhance your skills, knowledge, and job satisfaction. Learning new things and growing in your career can reignite your passion for work.

- Evaluate Work Environment

Assess your work environment for factors contributing to burnout, such as excessive workload, lack of support, or unclear expectations. Address these issues with your supervisor or HR department.

- Seek Balance

Strive for a balance between work, personal life, and self-care. Remember that taking care of yourself is essential for maintaining overall well-being and preventing burnout.

By implementing these steps and prioritizing self-care, individuals can effectively overcome burnout and regain a sense of fulfillment, energy, and motivation in their personal and professional lives. Remember that overcoming burnout is a process that takes time and effort, so be patient with yourself as you work towards it.


Recognizing the signs and hints of burnout in your team members is crucial for fostering a supportive and healthy work environment. By being attentive to changes in performance, behavior, and well-being, you can identify individuals who may be struggling with burnout and offer them the necessary support and resources. Encouraging open communication, promoting work-life balance, and providing stress management tools can help prevent and alleviate burnout in your team. Remember that addressing burnout early can benefit your team members' well-being and contribute to more productive and positive work overall.

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