How to avoid burnout in the workplace

Kate Moriarty 26.04.2019

Whether you have been in your role for ten days or ten years, burnout can affect everybody in the workplace.

With Ireland being one of the fastest growing economies in the EU, the pressures to succeed in your career, progress up the ladder and keep your personal life afloat can be challenging to fit into a twenty-four hour day. We have all had times when we are overwhelmed by work-related stress and feel overworked. We all are aware of the benefits of stopping for a breather, to recharge - but we often take the mentality to ‘keep the head down’ and plough through the stressful times. While this can be a short-term fix, continually putting ourselves under excessive pressure can lead to burnout.

What exactly is burnout? Burnout is an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest or motivation in activities/duties, resulting in a decline in job performance and happiness. 

There are several ways that can help us to avoid burnout in the workplace; 

1) Work with Purpose

Reflect on your reasoning for beginning your career. What motivated you to go down your chosen path? Often, checking in with your purpose can add meaning to your day, help get you out of bed in the morning and gain motivation. Zoom out of your duties in work to see the bigger outcome of your part of the puzzle. How does your work benefit others? Check in and see if your work is in accordance with your values and your goals in life. 

2) Treat your colleagues with Kindness 

This doesn’t mean that you don’t already, but intentional acts of kindness in the work place can re-energise you and help add value to your day. It is the most simple and effective way to boost your mood within the workplace. Whether it’s taking five minutes to help a colleague with a project or simply making them a cup of tea, even the smallest acts of kindness can make the significant impacts. 

3) Set a timetable and stick to it

When you are feeling overworked and have a million and one tasks flying at you every day - it can feel hard to feel productive and can feel like you’re on a treadmill that won’t slow down. By setting an agenda every day of 45 minute/1 hour blocks you can see your accomplishments start to come together and look back over your day feeling fulfilled. Be careful of not being disciplined when it comes to moving onto new tasks if not finished, it’s a slippery slope. Instead of allowing your boundaries between time slots slip, set aside some time at the end of the day for catch ups. If you feel that your manager is assigning more work than you can handle, then schedule a time to discuss the issue. Come prepared with some alternative options for that could be considered! 

4) Recharging

When we are stressed at work, we often find it hard to switch off. We think taking the time to relax is a waste when there is so much more to be done. But the proactive measures of resetting your stress levels is incredibly important. Without recharging, our positive traits are muted, which can have a huge impact on our interpersonal relationships at work. When we step away from the stress by meditating, taking a walk, or finding your way to relax, we can allow our best selves to deal with the tasks at hand. Figuring out what works for you is important, understanding what is feasible in the moment is equally important. You’re not going to be able to go for a walk four times a day if you’re stressed at work, but maybe a breathing exercise (in for 5 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, out for 7 seconds, three times) could be more appropriate in certain environments. Exercise often, eat healthily, drink plenty of water and sleeping properly, we need to recharge our bodies as well as our minds when it comes to stress.

If you think your stress is being caused by being in the wrong role or work environment, contact us in Morgan McKinley to speak about the market and we can help expand your career opportunities for a happier, more harmonious work life. 

Kate Moriarty's picture
Consultant | Manufacturing, Automation, Process & Project Engineering Recruitment.
kmoriarty@morganmckinley.ie