Have you experienced burnout yet? No? Happy to hear that. I love my job too! But, you’ve seen how it looks like, right?

It’s that quiet guy that sits in the corner, what was his name, that one day started yelling he’s “had it” and leaves the office in a fury, and never comes back.

It’s your high school friend that started her own company, worked 120-130 hour weeks, then one year later you meet her on the street and she claims she “can’t take it anymore, I’ll declare bankruptcy, and go to sell lemonade on a beach”.

Is you best friend constantly repeating “I hate this job, I’m getting a new job next week”.

Not a pretty sight, is it?

Understanding burnout, what is it, what’s causing it, and how to prevent it rather than deal with it, is essential to maintain a positive and productive environment. And to keep the best talent on the team.

What is Employee Burnout?

Employee burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional fatigue that is caused by lengthy exposure to stress and/or frustration in the workplace. The burnout can manifest in many ways, but there are three most usual symptoms:

  1. It results from the depleted emotional capacity to cope with the work environment. This makes the person highly stressed out and overwhelmed.
  2. It evolves into indifference towards the work. And makes the person disgruntled, irritable, and argumentative.
  3. This comes from the lowered sense of personal accomplishment, which turns into an unwillingness to complete the work and reduced productivity.

Rest assured, there is actually a way to prevent this. Let’s start with the basics.

Reward System is a Bust

Another factor can be the mismatch between the effort the people put into their job and the rewards they get in return. If you put it into a business perspective, it means that the investment is literally not worth the payoff. And unless there’s the possibility to get a raise or promotion, the chances are, the person would abandon ship.

A tool like Kanban encourages the use of feedback loops and it is much easier to get feedback. And the use of a visual board makes it impossible not to be recognized and rewarded for all the good work you’re doing.

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Ideal for Remote and Hybrid Teams.

Lack of Community

The community is also a big factor. Most of the time, we can’t pick our colleagues or clients, but we can surely improve the dynamic. Many will say that your colleagues aren’t your friends, but teams that lack trust and communication can’t be successful. Treating your teammates like passers-by isn’t doing much for the team or company morale either.

Kanban boards make everything transparent. This allows team members to know there are no secrets or hidden agendas, and they can more easily leant to trust and rely on each other.

Do you Share the Same Values

Finally, yet importantly, something to always consider is the values of each person. For a team to function together and be highly productive, they need to share value, ideas, and motivation. Only that way, they’ll feel confident that the others would make the right decision. If there is a mismatch between an individual’s values and those of the team or organization, they will likely start falling apart pretty soon, and look for a more compatible environment elsewhere.

Communication, Communication, Communication

This is only the tip of the iceberg on how to prevent employee burnout. But it begins with establishing boundaries, setting constant priorities, and most importantly, keeping a door open for communication. But, monkey see, monkey do, remember? Non-verbal communication is also important.

If your team feels comfortable with coming to talk to you about the various issues they are facing daily, you are half-way through solving employee burnout. That way, people will feel valued and respect and are be more likely to invest time and effort in their work. Which can be a good boost to productivity.

And one last thing to keep in mind, whether you are a manager or a team member, is to keep your own health a priority. Managing your own stress levels is never a matter of self-indulgence, but rather of self-preservation. Once the team senses that you are in check with yourself, they will feel more confident in taking care of their own selves. In the long run, their productivity levels will rise.

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About the Author: Ivana Sarandeska

Ivana Sarandeska is a digital marketer, creative writer and master procrastinator. An Agile enthusiast and a firm believer that thorough planning is key to good execution and even better improvisation. She has a soft spot for technology, so most of her full-time jobs were in IT companies where she was introduced to Agile and Scrum. After she got her Scrum Basics certification she started actively using these methodologies and their main principles. Learning how to organize her time and tasks better has motivated her to dive deeper into these methodologies. Now, she is an avid advocate of Agile and Scrum and happily shares her knowledge and experience to fellow procrastinators.

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