Forget about dwindling employee motivation and high turnover. The workplace has a far bigger problem  – employees are burning out.

A study conducted by the Workforce Institute found that 95% of Human Resource leaders believe that employee burnout is the biggest issue plaguing the workplace.

In fact, many stated that employees that felt overworked, and subsequently run-down, were less motivated to do their job. Likewise, those that took part also felt that up to half of all staff departures were due to employees burning out.

Unrewarding pay, an unmanageable workload and too much overtime are just some of the things causing the workforce to crash and burn. With wages shrinking and workloads growing, the problem is likely to get much worse.

Burning out - Compelo
Flickr/centro güel

Burnout seemingly comes out of the blue. One day you’re breezing through five projects at work, the next you’re struggling to get out of bed. However, that isn’t the case.

5 questions to ask yourself to determine if you’re on the verge of burning out

Burnout isn’t as instantaneous as it seems. There are a number of warning signs that predict that you’re on the verge of burning out. These are some of the most common:

Are you waking up during the night?

Waking up throughout the night is a sign that you have other things on your mind. Struggling to disconnect from work outside of office hours means that you’re always on edge and under pressure, which will disrupt your sleep schedule and lead to chronic stress. Burnout won’t be too far behind.

Are you making time for yourself?

Work shouldn’t come above keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy. There are times when our workloads get in the way of other areas of our lives. However, it is extremely important that you continue to find the time to eat, sleep and exercise, as well as spend time with your family and friends.

Are you losing your temper?

Stress can wreak havoc on a number of aspects of your life, from your emotions to your physical health. If you find yourself getting irritated, emotional or angry over the smallest of issues, there is a high chance that you have overwhelmed your mind.

Burning out - Compelo

Are co-workers treating you differently?

You might be too busy to see the effects that workplace stress is having on your behaviour. However, the way that your co-workers act around you will provide you with a good idea of your current mental state. If you find that your peers are reluctant to ask you questions or have personal conversations with you around, chances are that they have noticed your changing demeanour.

Are you worrying about the future?

Do you push yourself to do more and more in the office and then spend your free time worrying about how you will do it all again tomorrow? Worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future wastes time and energy, while also creating unneeded stress that will inevitably lead to a breakdown.

How to avoid work-related burnout

It’s difficult to avoid workplace stress, but there are ways to relieve some of the pressure on you and avoid pushing yourself over the edge.

Take regular breaks

Nobody is capable of working eight hours straight. Don’t feel pressured to stay in the office during your lunch break, or reluctant to get up from your seat and take a wander around the building. We’re only capable of working at peak productivity for 90 minutes, so breaks are a necessity.

Find a hobby

Don’t let work consume your life. You should find time to disconnect from work and spend it with your friends and family. Likewise, it’s also important to find something that you love to do away from the office, whether it’s cooking or hiking. Enrolling on a course in the evening or on the weekend is a great way to take your mind off of work and find a hobby that you love.

Burning out - Compelo
Flickr/Maria Eklind

Use your days off

That is both your annual leave and weekends. Use up all of your available days off and spend them doing things that make you happy. After a long week at work, it’s easy to climb into bed and stay there until the alarm rings on Monday morning. However, you will likely spend the 48 hours thinking about Monday’s workload. Get out, enjoy yourself and make memories that don’t involve boring meetings and spreadsheets.

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