Being overworked and overstressed in the workplace are the fastest ways to reach burnout. However, they are not the only two factors that come into play.
Isolation in your work or having a belittled sense of accomplishment can also begin to feed into your emotional exhaustion. Lack of proper boundaries can cause a go-getter, like me, to run themselves into the ground, causing them to nose dive before even reaching the pay off. Watch out for these gremlins by preemptively taking care of yourself so you can bring your whole self to everything you do.
At Webconnex there are 5 products that serve thousands of clients with a team of 15 great people. In addition to our product:client:employee ratio, our team manages to maintain a low employee turnover rate in a business that tends to have a high turnover rate. How do we do it? Like most small teams we wear many hats. Personally, I’ve worn the hat of salesperson, customer success guru, and product manager, just to name a few. The amount of work is endless, but because I enjoy what I do, I tend to stack more on my plate than I realize I can reasonably chew. When your plate is overloaded, it’s easy to feel out of control and overstressed. This is a recipe for slipping into prime burnout zone if not properly managed.
As our company has grown, we’ve learned how to spot and prevent burnout so that our team can continue to work at their maximum capacity without sacrificing work quality or employee health.
We have discovered these 5 factors to avoid burnout.
Knowing yourself will help you spot the early signs burnout. It’s important to know which tasks drain you and which tasks fuel you. We all have menial, unenjoyable tasks in our daily jobs. If we incorporate tasks that energize us, we can stay fueled for the tasks that don’t. Knowing yourself and how you’re wired takes self-reflection on a few questions:
-What do you expect from your work?
-What situations and tasks drain you?
-What aspects enliven you?
-What is your motivation for being in this position?
In fitness, athletes need to incorporate rest days into their workout routine. This helps repair their muscles for the next round of training. By resting, athletes feel more energized and their output has more intensity. In the same way, taking a break from work will make us more productive and engaged instead of running on fumes. In the workplace, a time-management technique to help manage distractions and eliminate burnout is The Pomodoro Technique. This technique sets up intervals of 25–60 minutes of devoted focus, while taking 5–10 minute breaks in between. Our team has found a natural flow of this method, switching between stretches of intense work periods and breaks for nerf wars, snack breaks or quick walks. It helps productivity while also keeping things lighthearted and fun.
3. Setting Proper Boundaries
Let your ‘ons’ be ‘ons’ and your ‘offs’ be ‘offs’. Being a motivated person who genuinely enjoys what I do, it’s easy to bring work outside the office and constantly stay connected. To protect ourselves and the relationships in our lives, know how to draw the line and turn off the notifications, the email, and the laptop when we’re engaging in the other aspects of our lives. Drawing boundaries communicates to the team to respect your time when you’re ‘on’ because you won’t be easily accessible when you’re ‘off’. These boundaries may look different for everyone, but setting some sort of on/off switch will conserve your energy allowing you to rest and refuel for the times when you’re switched on.
4. Do Things That Bring You Life
If your weeks are divided into pie slices, work takes a pretty big slice. Balancing outside activities will keep work from being the only slice in your life. It’s easy to make excuses for why we don’t have time for hobbies or other activities that truly energize us. However, being intentional and committed to these external activities will be the secret power keeping you energized and motivated throughout the workday. Find activities or opportunities inside and outside the workplace can get you excited. Whatever it may be, having energizing activities th will help fill your tanks and help you look forward to each day.
5. Connect With People
No one likes being alone. Even Mother Teresa once stated, “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” If you work full time, you’re spending a third of your week with your coworkers. Feeling alone at work is a drain that can lead to burnout very quickly. The reason Webconnex is able to produce at the capacity it does, is because we have a sense of togetherness — that we ‘are in the trenches together’. We work hard together and we play hard together. Part of finding such a team chemistry begins at the hiring process. Since team chemistry is a priority, our team members enjoy coming to work each day, they feel safe to express their needs in order to flourish. It’s the responsibility of team leaders to create an atmosphere where team chemistry can build, at the same time it’s the responsibility of the individual to connect with those around them instead of isolating.
It has taken our team time, experience and even some failures to learn what keeps our team members from burning out. Though the gremlins of burnout still creep in from time to time, we are able to spot it early on, take the actions needed and come back continuing to kick butt.