5 ways to avoid workplace burnout
According to a recent study, 76% of employees reported moderate to high levels of stress at work and one in 14 UK adults feel stressed every single day.
With the most common cause of stress being work-related, experts are encouraging us to take action by making sure they’re clued up on how to prevent feeling strained at work.
Sasha Amfo, Head of People Operations at FutureLearn says: “With workplace stress coming to the forefront in recent years and for workers to remain productive, it’s important for people to know how to manage stress without becoming overwhelmed.”
“Understanding the fundamentals of psychology and mental health, including knowing about mindfulness and wellbeing, is imperative for individuals and leaders to manage stress levels effectively and limit anxiety and depression.”
As we enter National Stress Awareness Month 2023, Sasha shares 5 expert tips to combat burnout and effectively manage workplace wellbeing.
Knowing what you can control
Imposter syndrome is a common feeling that many workers experience, especially as they progress in their careers. With 673K monthly Google searches for the phrase, it seems as though many of us may be experiencing this feeling of inadequacy at work.
Sasha says: “It’s important for people who feel stressed to accept and recognise what they can and can’t control. To overcome imposter syndrome we need to identify and address negative thought and behaviour patterns that undermine confidence.”
“By understanding the impact this has on our mental health, we can start to recognise negative behaviours and learn about issues such as anxiety around leading a team.”
Getting into a good routine
Despite common belief, there’s more to mindfulness than meditation, herbal tea and self-help books. While these methods can help create a calm mind-set to eliminate stress, other methods like getting into a good routine can help improve mindfulness at work.
Sasha says: “With the modern workplace rapidly changing, it can be hard to keep up with constant movement and uncertainty. Sticking to healthy habits and maintaining a balanced routine are great ways to boost your mental wellbeing. For example, making time for a lunchtime walk and switching off notifications can make a huge difference to your daily routine.”
“By learning to remain calm in stressful situations, you can build your resilience and prepare for future challenges. Online courses in wellbeing and resilience at work will help you develop, adapt to changes in the workplace, and learn how to cope with its demanding environment.”
Saying no and setting boundaries
With increasing workloads and never-ending to-do lists, uncontrolled pressure can lead to overwhelming stress, which often means missed tasks and an impact on overall performance. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, it’s important to set boundaries and manage expectations. For example, if your workload is becoming too much, you’ll need to verbalise that and ensure that your colleagues know not to keep adding to your workload.
“It can be daunting to say no to colleagues, especially those who are more senior to you. While it might be difficult at first, setting boundaries is a healthy way to manage your workload and lets others know what you can and can’t take on.”
“Boundary setting means pushing back when tasks are given to you and knowing where your priorities lay, resulting in less stress. Using time management systems can help manage your time, visualise your workload, and ensure colleagues are aware of your schedule.” adds Sasha.
Disregard social hype
As TikTok trends of creators showing how productive they are waking up at 5 am, hits 14.4 million views, the hustle culture depicted on users’ screens is greater than ever. This can have a different impact on each individual’s wellbeing, especially on youth mental health.
Sasha says: “Seeing influencers sharing their side hustles on social media could overwhelm users and make them feel like they’re not doing enough with their free time. While side hustle routines can be motivating for some, it’s important to consider what you are able to sustain to avoid burnout. Everyone should be wary of being on a constant hamster wheel.”
“Digital wellbeing courses are useful for exploring online identity and best practices that can stop you from falling for toxic hashtags and trends like the #9to5 hustle routine.”
Reaching out to colleagues
Sadly, 74% of people feel so stressed to the point of being overwhelmed or feeling unable to cope. If feeling stressed gets to the point where it’s hard to handle, it may be time to reach out to your colleagues or HR.
Sasha says: “Not only can stress levels have a negative impact on the work you produce, but it can also take its toll on your mental health. Managers and business leaders should be trained in spotting the signs if their employees’ wellbeing is low and know how to manage the issue.”
“Broaching a conversation about mental health can be scary or sometimes embarrassing, but it really shouldn’t be. This is why it’s important for all staff members to develop their communication and interpersonal skills at work. Building these skills can create a welcoming, calm and friendly workplace environment, where individuals feel happy and safe to reach out if they’re struggling.”
From employers and managers to juniors and interns, everyone has the ability to positively change workplace wellbeing. You can find out more about National Stress Awareness Month 2023 here.