How Teams Can Combat Burnout

Uncategorized / April 20, 2023

Burnout is not just a management term – it is an actual medical condition. It happens when teams are not supported as they should be, which causes high levels of stress. Justin Cobb has seen the effects of burnout many times in his long and successful career as a business coach. He warns of the consequences to organizations: “Burnout caused by unsustainable levels of stress can cause massive problems in the workplace, including high employee turnover, increased absenteeism, and low productivity.” He warns that it isn’t just a problem for employers; employees are at risk. 

“Employers must prioritize wellness,” Justin says.  “Make sure employees take their annual leave. It is common for highly motivated employees to work long hours and not take time off because they think it makes them look less ambitious. This is a mistake. Breaks from the workplace help to improve morale and productivity.”

Offering wellness activities in the workplace can also combat burnout. Justin is a great believer in a healthy workplace. “We like to encourage our employees to download mindfulness apps and take up healthy sports. We also provide healthy snacks for our teams, so they can eat properly during the workday rather than rely on fast food and unhealthy snacks when they have an energy slump mid-afternoon. We have found it improves productivity.”

Setting reasonable goals is also important. One mistake a lot of organizations make, says Justin, is that they expect employees to do the work of two people and then wonder why burnout is an issue.  “I’ve also seen issues where employees don’t feel able to communicate when projects are understaffed or their role is no longer working for them,” he says.  “This can be avoided if expectations and objectives are clearly communicated by management and project leaders.”

Always check in regularly with your teams, Justin says. “Don’t rely on people coming to you to say there is a problem or wait until team members take extended sick leave. Ask for regular feedback and talk to them. Be aware of what is happening in their personal lives, as personal issues often bleed into how people perform at work.”

Finally, Justin thinks it is important that managers and team leaders remain alert to the signs of burnout. That way, action can be taken before the situation escalates. “A happy workplace is a productive workplace,” he says. “And a happy team will ensure the business continues to grow.”

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