Burnout Module 1 Summary
Work-related Stress and Burnout
This is a summary of the module Work-related Stress and Burnout for your reference.
Work-related stress results from your job’s mental or physical demands being more than you can manage. It can be caused by the actual work you do, your work environment, or your relationships with people in your workplace. As a result, you may miss work, make mistakes, and become injured on the job.
Symptoms of stress may appear as:
If work-related stress is left unmanaged, it can lead to a problem known as burnout.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a group of symptoms that occur as a result of high workplace stress. It can include:
Increased negative feelings and apathy about your job
Lower tolerance for stress
Delaying care for burnout makes it harder to do things that help to lessen the symptoms. For example, you may avoid exercise, relaxing activities, and reaching out for support.
How does burnout occur?
Based on the Areas of Work-Life Model, there are six job-related factors that may contribute to burnout if dissatisfaction with them is present. They are:
If you are content with your workload, compensation, company values, etc., it increases your job satisfaction and engagement. By contrast, problems in these areas contribute to burnout.
Consider your own job and make note of any areas that are challenging for you: ________________________________________________________________________________________________
Work responsibilities that are beyond what you can realistically handle can lead to burnout.
Two factors that can contribute to workload imbalance are working from home and shift work.
Working from home often blurs the boundaries between work and home life. This can cause emotional and physical fatigue.
Shift work (working outside the hours of 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM) is associated with a lack of routine and poor quality sleep. As a result, an otherwise normal amount of work can feel demanding.
Lack of control exists when you feel you have little influence or say about your work. You just don’t “feel heard.”
When you have a sense of control over decisions that affect your work, you are less likely to experience burnout.
How do you feel about your ability to influence your work?
When you think about the rewards of your job, you most likely think about pay and benefits. Rewards also include recognition for your work.
When you feel your reward is not equivalent to the work you do, you are likely to feel undervalued - yet another factor contributing to burnout.
A lack of connection with your co-workers or supervisors may leave you feeling isolated. Those who feel supported by their manager report less stress. Similarly, those who feel supported by their co-workers report less emotional exhaustion.
Some examples of a harmful work community are:
Exclusion from lunches, after-work events, or trips
Inconsistent messages about your responsibilities
Misdirected blame for others' errors
You may sense you’re treated differently than others. It feels unfair when co-workers have lighter workloads and special privileges - not to mention better office space or higher salaries.
When the work environment seems unfair - it makes job satisfaction challenging and contributes to burnout.
What about your work environment - what makes it seem fair? Unfair?
Your workplace’s values may be misaligned with your personal values. As an example, companies that put profit above all else are unacceptable to most of us.
Favorably aligned values may be:
Feeling that your work directly helps other people
Using your personal strengths in your day-to-day tasks
Having a company that excels at its mission
When burnout is a bigger problem
While there are some aspects of burnout you can improve on your own, preventing and treating burnout also requires support from your supervisor, human resources (HR) team, and organization.
Organizational changes can improve workplace relationships and lessen the risk of employee burnout. For example, a company can improve:
Workplace community - by encouraging a “climate of civility, respect, and engagement”
Communication - with formal and informal meetings (“small talk and non-work-related communication”)
If you decide to talk with your supervisor or an HR representative about workplace burnout, make sure you have a plan.
Your program will continue with information on:
Building resilience - the ability to “bounce back” or adapt to life stressors or challenges
Making lifestyle changes to help prevent and lessen burnout
Adapting your work schedule (e.g. work-life balance, taking more breaks, etc.)
Time management to help lessen stress