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- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
5 min read
By Nick Bell

Employee Burnout: How to see the signs and take action


In any work environment, it’s important for employees to work at their best. However, when it comes to employee burnout, getting high quality work done is often the last thing on one’s mind. For that reason, employee burnout causes productivity to suffer and it is important to know the causes behind it.

As an employer, you want to make sure that your employees are in the right frame of mind. Overworking to the point of exhaustion is as much fun as working your best and not being able to give any input. If you don’t know the employee burnout signs, this is your guide on how to spot them. No leader should take their team members for granted, especially when it comes to mental and physical health.

What is burnout?

To help you become more aware of employee burnout, let’s go over the basic definition. Burnout is defined as having mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion brought on by multiple instances of stress or being under pressure. This can happen in both a professional or home setting since the stress from home can often carry over into the workplace and vice versa.

What are the signs of burnout?


A common sign is when employees feel like they are exhausted all of the time. When you are bogged down with work or a big deadline, sadly sleep is often one of the first things to be sacrificed. When someone continuously stays awake for extended periods of time, sleep deprivation will take hold. The affects of sleep deprivation can include difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness.

More prone to making numerous mistakes

For someone who makes few mistakes , a sure sign of burnout is when you spot them making a whole lot more. In other words, your employee is behaving in a way that seems out of character. When there is a loss of concentration, mistakes will be made. At the same time, deadlines will be missed and you will see that employee falling behind. Making a mistake or two is common, but when mistake-making becomes consistent, it is a cause for great concern.


When an employee is lacking passion in their work, this can be a sign of depression associated with burnout. Depression can seriously affect how your employee behaves in the workplace and needs to be addressed with professional help right away.

Increased irritability

Tempers can flare in a professional setting when employees take out their frustrations on each other and worse, your customers. People get angry when mistakes are made and when someone is burned out, the stress can get to boiling point. At it’s worst, unaddressed tempers and irritability can lead to workplace violence. If you notice anything like this building, you need to resolve it immediately.

How To Manage Employee Burnout

Here’s how to manage employee burnout so you can get back on track:

Take mental health seriously

In recent times, the awareness of mental illness has increased and it’s important for those suffering to seek the best help possible. When unchecked, mental illness can put you or those around you at risk. Talk to your employees as a group and address the importance of mental health. At the same time, allow individuals to raise their mental health issues with you in private.

Don’t be afraid to ask if they are OKAY

A lot of people feel uncomfortable disclosing their mental health concerns especially when it comes to employee burnout. If you can see the signs of employee burnout, don’t be afraid to pull one aside and ask if they’re OKAY. Employees want to feel like they matter and having regular check-in’s is a great way to show that you care.

Offer assistance programs

It’s a good idea to provide assistance programs to your employees if they are feeling burnt out. Refer them to an assistance program or make a personal referral. Either way, your goal here is helping someone with employee burnout get the help that they need.

How To Prevent Employee Burnout

Here are some steps to prevent employee burnout:

Promote a healthy work/life balance

One of the best things to talk about with your employees is how important having a healthy work/life balance is. Instead of concerning all conversation about day-to-day tasks at the office, ask about their health and family life. Let your employees know that it’s OKAY to spend time with family and to be focused on their own personal health.

Provide a work from home option

We have increasingly seen this become a reality in the last year. Working from home can reduce a lot of undue stress that occurs from getting ready for work and commuting. For many, it gives people a more comfortable environment to work in.

Pay attention to schedules and workloads

It sounds simple enough. You don’t want to overwork your employees so make sure they have manageable workloads to deal with. Pay close attention to their schedules and don’t make unreasonable deadlines without checking if it’s manageable first. Strike the right balance and your employees will be happy. It helps if you regularly check in with your employees and ask questions about their schedule to ensure they are travelling well.

Have them take advantage of vacation time

Everyone needs a break from time to time. Encourage your staff to take time off and step away from their computers during lunch break so that they come back refreshed and more energised to work.

Final Thoughts

Employee burnout needs to be taken seriously and even more so if you are an employer leading a small team. Ideally, you should be leading your team in such a way where burnout is prevented from the start. At the end of the day, everyone wants to be in a workplace that is happy, productive and supportive.

About the author


Co-Founder of Lisnic.com 🔥 & Founder of 12 digital agencies 🎯
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