Employee Burnout

Nurses are at a high risk of employee burnout

As levels of stress and anxiety mount in the workplace, employee burnout becomes increasingly more common.

Job Burnout

Employees generally experience job burnout when they are in work situations that keep them in stressful situations over a prolonged period of time. The continual exposure to stressful situations and the demands of work cause employees to feel mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted, or drained. When workers experience job burnout, it has an effect on their physical and mental health, job performance and productivity.

Contributing Factors to Burnout

Additional possible factors contributing to employee burnout include:

  • Increased job demands and responsibilities as workers are laid off
  • Tight schedules
  • Overwhelming job pressure
  • Stressful work environment
  • Job expectations that are not clearly laid out
  • Feelings of having very little, if any, control over your work
  • Overexertion
  • Trying to make everyone happy
  • Lack of sleep or rest
  • Inability to maintain a sense of balance between home life and work
  • Job monotony
  • Job boredom
  • Differences in values or ethics
  • Hostility in the workplace
  • Being under or overqualified for the position and its responsibilities

Signs of Employee Burnout

It is important for employers, employees and their co-workers to be aware of the signs of burnout. The following are some of the more common signs of employee burnout:

  • Change in attitude toward coworkers, supervisors and others in the workplace
  • Dreading getting up in the morning and going to work
  • Missing work, arriving late or leaving early
  • Working through lunch and break times
  • The inability to laugh or feel happy
  • Feeling indifferent and frustrated by work
  • Lack of motivation
  • Not caring about work
  • Depression
  • Decreased productivity
  • Missing deadlines
  • Having little or no energy
  • Lacking enthusiasm
  • Being overly sarcastic
  • Being overly cynical
  • Being overly critical
  • Being irritable with coworkers, management, customers or clients
  • Increased anger
  • Lacking patience at work and in areas concerning your work
  • Feelings of being stopped or slowed down at work
  • Health problems such as headaches, upset stomach, body aches and pains
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Self medicating using drugs, alcohol or food

Preventing Burnout

When employees suffer from the effects of burnout, the entire organization is affected as productivity decreases and frustrations increase. There are many steps employers can take to reduce employee burnout. It is essential that managers and supervisors keep open lines of communication with their employees. The following are additional steps that employers can take to reduce burnout of their employees:

  • Maintain a positive work environment with good communication on all levels.
  • Keep employees aware of the company's expectations of their job performance.
  • Recognize the employees' accomplishments and contributions to the company and provide them with rewards and recognition.
  • Encourage the employees to have fun, interact and socialize while they are at work.
  • Help employees with a problem to find a viable solution to the problem.
  • Be honest with the employees if the company is going to be downsized by telling them when layoffs will occur.

Professions More Prone to Job Burnout

In most cases, higher burnout rates are found in occupations that produce high stress levels.There are certain jobs and professions that have a higher employee burnout rate than others.

  • Nurses
  • Teachers
  • Child care workers
  • Sales people
  • Restaurant workers
  • Hotel workers
  • Employees at movie theaters
  • Parking meter readers
  • Telemarketers
  • Customer service workers

The Importance of Dealing with Workplace Stress

To reduce the possibility of burnout, employees must learn successful methods of dealing with the workplace stress they face on a daily basis. Learning stress reduction techniques and practicing them on a regular basis is an effective way of reducing stress. Examples of stress management techniques include:

Taking good care of yourself by eating right, getting enough sleep and following a regular exercise routine are also important aspects of reducing burnout in the workplace.


Dealing with stressful situations as they arise is an important part of reducing employee burnout.

Employee Burnout