5 Signs That Your Employees Are Burning Out (and How to Support Them)

5 Signs That Your Employees Are Burning Out (and How to Support Them) was originally published on Ivy Exec.

Burnout is real.

According to a Deloitte study, most folks feel it at one point or another, with 77 percent reporting burnout at their current job. Fifty-seven percent of people purport negative impacts of burnout at work, as well, according to recent research by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Here are five signs that your employees are burning out – and how to support them.


Five key signs your employees are burnt out


Worried your employees are completely checked out? Look out for these five flags that are burning red.


❌ Your employees are missing their deadlines.

If you’re burned out, it’s easy to miss deadlines or drop the ball entirely.

Burnout takes a toll on productivity because it could feel like you’ve bitten off more than you could chew. Falling behind is almost inevitable if you’re struggling to keep up. 

In fact, 20 percent of people who are burned out report lower productivity, 18 percent report feeling ineffective, and 26% don’t even feel motivated to do their very best, according to the APA. These feelings are bound to cause missed deadlines or goals.


❌ They’re not taking on challenges.

If there’s too much on your plate already, you’re probably not even entertaining the idea of taking on more challenges.

While challenges can lead to growth and, subsequently, more opportunities, people who are burned out may just be trying to keep afloat.

According to the APA, almost a quarter (23 percent) of people who feel burned out at work report a desire to quit. So the last thing they’re going to want to do is even more work. And you may notice that they seem to be “just skirting by,” or they may even seem content but seldom (if ever) volunteer to help or seek learning opportunities.


❌ Your employees lack enthusiasm for assignments.

Emotional exhaustion is a common side effect of burnout, affecting 31 percent of people, according to the APA.

Burnout symptoms can feel a lot like depression, and if you’re feeling low in any capacity – whether your burnout has developed into depression or simply doesn’t feel far from it – it’s normal to feel a little like just going through the motions.

Employees who are burned out may do their work – and they may even do their work well – but they may lack enthusiasm or excitement. Sure, sometimes work just feels like work, and we don’t always feel super pumped about all of it.

But if your employees seem like they’re physically there but mentally elsewhere – absent-minded or just not enjoying the work – there’s a chance that they’re at the point of burnout.


❌ People seem to be getting sick more often.

Your mental health is directly related to your physical health.

If you’re feeling mentally off, chances are that it’s going to take a toll on your physical health eventually, too. And burnout is no exception.

In fact, a wealth of research proves that burnout is directly correlated with employees taking sick days or experiencing sick spells throughout the year.


❌ Collaboration is dwindling.

Burnout doesn’t just hurt the person feeling it; it also majorly impacts their relationships.

If you are feeling burnout, you probably don’t have the capacity to hold space for others. And because teamwork is vital to make the dream work, burnout is a business’s worst enemy. 

A quarter of people have a desire to keep to themselves when they’re feeling burned out, and 19 percent even experience increased irritability or anger with coworkers and customers, according to the APA. If you’re sensing some sense of hostility amongst your employees, they could just be burning out.


How to help your employees overcome burnout


So, you noticed that your employees are acting off.

You’ve read this list, and you’ve come to a conclusion that they could very well be burning out – and you’re feeling concerned about the company culture and your business’s bottom line. Of course, you care about their mental health because they’re not just your employees; they’re people, too. 

Here are three key tips to help them and, in turn, help your business from falling victim to burnout.


✔ Lead by example.

If you’re witnessing burnout in the workplace, first stop and take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Ask yourself what kind of example you’re setting at work. If you’re working around the clock, taking very little to no time off, Slacking through the weekends, and prioritizing nonstop work over a healthy work-life balance, it probably plays a role in why your employees are doing the same.

As a leader, you have a responsibility to show your employees what’s acceptable behavior in the workplace. Taking time off – from weekends and off-hours to actual PTO – to enjoy family, solo self-care time, hobbies, etc., is important, and the more you do it, the more they will do it, too. And science says that the more they take that time off to recharge, the better they (and your business) will be because of it.


✔ Respect your employees’ asks.

If an employee communicates to you that they’re feeling burned out – whether they say it outright or imply it with other words – respect that they need some space or time to recuperate.

You can suggest that they take time off or help re-delegate some of their work to give them some help.

The point is to make sure that employees feel comfortable coming to you with their questions and concerns, knowing that you’re there to support them.


✔ Create balance within the company culture.

It’s hard to dictate how people spend their time outside working hours.

Some people (“workaholics”) may choose to keep cranking, whether you set that example or not. You can encourage people to maintain a healthy work-life balance, but you can’t force them to live their lives in any kind of way. What you can do, however, is create a company culture that schedules time for fun, too. 

Host work events that encourage cross-team collaboration or create learning opportunities for people. These events should be fun and give people a break from their day-to-day to-do lists, but they can also be efficient because collaboration and enthusiasm to learn both take a hit from burnout.

The more you can bring people together in organic, more exciting ways than standup meetings and agenda-planning sessions, the better the balance within the workplace becomes.

By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.