7 Great Ways to Prevent Work Burnout
As we are still in a period of relative economic recovery, many in the workforce may experience each workweek as being the equivalent of a marathon, with long days, dozens of emails and not enough time to accomplish tasks.
Managers in both the public and private sector may become harder task masters as they continue to face more demanding pressures and targets which in turn creates greater demands for their staff.
A small minority but still significant number of people succumb to these pressures and are signed off work by their GP during the working year on account of work related stress, which has triggered a psychiatric condition in the form of depression for example. Accordingly, management and employees should be vigilant in trying to negate stress levels in the workplace wherever possible and the following are examples of a few tips that can fight burnout at the office.
Don’t skip spin class
Scheduling even just 30 minutes to exercise will revitalise you and add more energy to your workday. A morning run, midday swim, or night time gym workout can help reduce stress and exercise has been medically proven as enhancing physical and mental wellbeing. Instead of after work drinks, why not schedule a hike or spin class for your next office get together?
Alcohol in contrast is a depressant and if abused can act as a catalyst for conditions such as depression, as increasingly statistics have shown that many workers turn to drinking instead of exercise as a means of escapism from pressures and stress, which in turn usually turns into more stress at work.
Take a breather
When you are swamped, your productivity goes down because you don’t have time to accomplish tasks. Make sure you set aside time in your day to devote to those things you really need to focus on.
Also be sure to schedule a few things before meetings to go over your notes and remember the items you want to discuss. Prioritising tasks is essential when the pressure is on a simple routine in the form of a short break will help alleviate stress and make you better prepared.
Choose the right tools
While its purpose is to make our lives easier and more efficient, sometimes technology can add further complications and act as a stressor in a busy schedule. Using the right digital tools can add productivity however. For instance, need to stay informed but don’t have three hours to spend reading blogs and newspapers?
LinkedIn Today helps keep you well informed on trending news and insights that provides a cutting edge for professionals. Setting aside a small period of time every day can allow you to absorb this information and in the long term this knowledge that you are up to speed should bring confidence in your role.
Record record record
Buy a work notebook and carry it everywhere. Use it as a cat hall place to make lists, record notes and write down random thoughts and inspirational ideas! When your brain is working overtime, it isn’t possible to remember everything.
If a co-worker stops you in the hall and asks for a copy of an email sent three weeks ago, you might forget to carry out this task unless you record it. At the end of the day, use this notebook to create a fresh to do list for the next morning. Even if you arrive at work to find a new crisis, you’ll be able to keep track of the other things you really need to do.
Uncertainty in the rock place can trigger panic and anxiety. Although not medically recognised as a psychiatric condition, anxiety can obviously make a person’s work life incredibly difficult and overwhelming. Recording as a habit will therefore bring more clarity which is a key mental aid for alleviating stress.
Manage email and voice messages
We’re all addicted to email and other forms of quick communication and this is compounded by the rise of social media and its recent prominence across all industries. However, during a frantic day, lots of new messages will only exacerbate your stress.
As new and different information accumulates at a fast rate, this obviously will have a bearing on an individual’s capacity to endure. Ultimately the result can mean fatigue and even psychiatric injury depending on the scale of the workload a person faces and the effectiveness of any steps to monitor this. A solution is therefore to resist the temptation of opening new emails the second they enter your inbox.
Check email periodically and know that it’s ok if you don’t respond right away. It is acceptable to respond promptly and not immediately. This may be against natural instinct and even managerial instruction, but it is nevertheless important as a long term method of combating stress in the workplace.
Go to lunch
Take advantage of the free time you deserve. Don’t work through lunch or even breaks, however pressing the matters at hand are. Even 20 minutes away from your desk can help revive you and make you better prepared to cope with the afternoons events. Getting out of the office and into a different environment even briefly can be refreshing.
This is probably the most important tip and is the pivotal element in any stress at work claim for personal injury- often hinging on whether there was communication from employee to employer of stress and therefore “foreseeability” of injury. (Hatton v Sutherland being the leading authority in UK Law.)
This communication therefore puts the employer on notice as having to take reasonable steps to negate the employees stress in order to discharge their duty of care. Should they not take reasonable measures, such as reducing their workload for example, then they may be liable for further psychiatric injury suffered by the employee, due to the fact of their prior knowledge of vulnerability of the employee.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and sense that it will be a perpetual problem which is potentially affecting your health, communicate this to your boss. He or she may not realise your stress, either because you appear to be handling it well and are covering up the signals or because they are also overworked and preoccupied.
Although it is probably the most difficult prospect for an employee, communicating stress to management is beneficial and can bring about a favourable solution for both parties. Ideally this communication should be in writing, as it will provide evidence that management have been put on notice of your stress and have therefore been compelled legally to take reasonable measures to alleviate the stress suffered by their employee.