April 12, 2023

Are Your Employees Burned Out? Symptoms, Causes, and Ways to Control It

Employee Burnout

Does it seem like your employees are not the best of themselves at the workplace? Are some of them lagging behind others? Or just not motivated as much as they once used to be? They might very well be experiencing what we call workplace stress or employee burnout.

Employee burnout refers to a condition of disillusionment and discontentment experienced by employees due to excessive stress and pressure in the workplace. This phenomenon has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is a common occurrence in workplaces across the world. Individuals working in high-stress jobs are particularly susceptible to experiencing burnout.

A study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that burnout is one of the top five reasons why employees leave their jobs. Moreover, in a survey by Gallup, 23% of employees reported feeling burnt out often or always, while 44% reported feeling burnt out sometimes. These employee burnout statistics clearly indicate that job burnout is a significant issue affecting individuals and organizations, leading to financial costs, decreased productivity, and increased turnover rates.

How to Know When Your Employees Are Facing Burnout?

Now that we know what employee burnout or chronic workplace stress is, the next question is what are some of the burnout symptoms that you can keep an eye on? Below are some of the symptoms that indicate employee burnout.

Decreased Productivity

Decreased Productivity

One of the common symptoms of burnout is a lack of motivation to complete tasks. When someone is burnt out, they may feel like they are running on empty and don't have the energy to focus on their work. As a result, they may struggle to complete tasks or meet deadlines, which can lead to reduced productivity.

Workplace stress affects an individual's ability to concentrate, make decisions, and solve problems, which can further contribute to reduced productivity. They may feel distracted or forgetful, and find it difficult to focus on their work.

Chronic Tiredness

Burnout is a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that occurs when an individual experiences chronic stress in their work or personal life. When someone is burned out, they may feel completely drained and lack the energy they need to carry out their daily tasks, even after getting enough sleep.

This is because burnout is not just about feeling tired physically; it is also about feeling emotionally and mentally drained. People who are burned out often experience a sense of disillusionment and detachment from their work, which can further drain their energy levels.

Increased Absenteeism

Burnout can cause employees to miss work or take more sick days than usual. Burnout can also lead to other health problems such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue, which can further impact an employee's ability to attend work regularly. If burnout is not addressed, it can escalate and become a chronic issue, leading to long-term absences and reduced productivity. Employees working in stressful jobs may go on to have more off days even after burning their mental health days.

Lack of Enthusiasm

Burnout can result in a lack of enthusiasm and a negative attitude toward work. When employees experience burnout, they may feel emotionally drained, unmotivated, and disengaged, which can cause them to view their work in a negative light.

Physical Symptoms

Physical Illness

When an individual is experiencing burnout, their body's stress response is constantly activated, leading to the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, this can cause physical changes in the body that can result in a range of symptoms.

Headaches are a common symptom of burnout and can be caused by tension in the neck and shoulder muscles, which can become tight due to stress. Muscle tension can also lead to other physical symptoms, such as back pain, neck pain, physical fatigue, and general body aches. General physical fatigue is very common in burned-out employees.

Digestive problems are also common symptoms of burnout, as stress can affect the digestive system's functioning. Stress can cause the body to produce less saliva and stomach acid, which can lead to indigestion, heartburn, and other digestive issues.

Such health issues can lead to other issues like monetary difficulties especially if the employees do not have proper health insurance coverage. Healthcare costs can mount to big amounts for employees struggling with such mental health issues.

Emotional Changes

Lack of emotional stability

Employees who are experiencing burnout may become more emotional than usual. They may be more prone to crying, anger, or outbursts of frustration. They may also find it challenging to concentrate or make decisions, further exacerbating their emotional state.

What Causes Employee Burnout?

There may be a range of reasons behind chronic workplace stress and employee burnout and may differ for different people. Some of the more common reasons are discussed below.

Work overload


When employees are faced with an overwhelming workload, they may feel that they are unable to keep up and that their efforts are not enough. This can lead to a sense of helplessness and frustration, which can contribute to burnout. Moreover, employees working hours and hours on tasks that need focus including working with computers and similar devices end up having cognitive weariness and dullness.  

Unrealistic deadlines can also alleviate burnout. When employees are expected to complete tasks within a short timeframe that does not allow for adequate time or resources, they may feel stressed and anxious, leading to burnout.

Also when employees do not have access to the tools, equipment, or support they need to complete their tasks, they may feel unsupported and overwhelmed, contributing to burnout.

Lack of control

When employees feel that they have no control over their work schedule or are required to work long hours, they may experience difficulties balancing their work and personal and professional lives, leading to further stress and burnout.

This can be particularly true in situations where employees are subject to micromanagement or are not given enough autonomy in decision-making.

Insufficient support

Employees who do not receive adequate emotional support may feel isolated as if they are facing their work challenges alone. They may also feel that their efforts are not recognized or appreciated, which can lead to a sense of frustration and demotivation.

Also, if employees do not have a good working relationship with their colleagues or do not receive enough feedback or guidance from their managers, they may struggle to complete their tasks effectively. This can lead to further stress and burnout.

Poor work-life balance

Work life balance

If employees do not have enough time to engage in activities outside of work, they may feel like they are constantly working and have no work-life balance. This can lead to feelings of exhaustion and demotivation, ultimately contributing to burnout.

If work is taking up too much of the time of an employee's day, they may experience stress and anxiety related to meeting work demands. This can further impact their physical and emotional health, and alleviate burnout.

Lack of recognition

Employees who do not receive recognition for their contributions may feel undervalued or overlooked, which can lead to a sense of frustration and demotivation. This can be especially true in situations where employees are working hard and putting in a lot of effort, but their work goes unnoticed.

Unhealthy work environment

Work environment

A toxic work environment can lead to workplace stress in several ways, including conflict, bullying or harassment, lack of support, unrealistic expectations, and negative culture. These factors can contribute to a sense of constant pressure and tension, which can lead to burnout, physical and emotional health problems, decreased productivity, and increased absenteeism. Employers can help prevent workplace stress by creating a culture of respect and inclusivity, providing adequate support and resources, and taking swift action to address any instances of bullying or harassment.


Individuals who exhibit perfectionistic tendencies may put themselves under tremendous pressure to perform at an exceptionally high level in all aspects of their work, which can contribute to burnout. They may feel like they need to achieve perfection in everything they do, which can lead to overwork and feelings of being overwhelmed. This can be particularly challenging if they are working in an environment that reinforces or rewards perfectionism, as this can exacerbate the pressure they feel.

Keeping Your Team Healthy: Tips for Preventing Employee Burnout

Keeping your team healthy and sound is the only way to achieve what your company wants to achieve. It is crucial to have all team members functioning at their best and working with zeal and passion. Below are some ways you can enhance the mental health and well-being of your  frequently stressed employees.

Provide Adequate Resources

Providing employees with the necessary resources and tools to perform their jobs effectively is crucial in preventing workplace stress and employee burnout. When employees lack the necessary resources or feel unsupported, it can contribute to feelings of frustration, overwhelm, and disengagement.

By providing adequate resources, such as training and equipment, and support from managers and colleagues, employees can feel more confident in their ability to perform their job duties and achieve their goals, which can increase job satisfaction and reduce work-related stress levels.

Set Realistic Goals


When employees are given unrealistic expectations or deadlines, it can lead to feelings of overwhelm, frustration, and burnout. By setting realistic and achievable goals, employees can focus on making progress toward their objectives without feeling overwhelmed or overworked. This can help to increase job satisfaction, motivation, well-being, and productivity while reducing stress levels. Additionally, providing employees with regular feedback and performance evaluations can help their mental health to stay on track and adjust their goals as needed.

Encourage Breaks

Work breaks

Encouraging employees to take regular breaks throughout the workday is a great way to prevent workplace stress and employee burnout. Taking breaks can help employees to recharge, refocus, and come back to their work feeling refreshed and energized.

Employers can help by providing a designated space for breaks, such as a quiet room or outdoor area, where employees can relax and take a break from their work. This can also help employees to disconnect from technology and reduce screen time, which can be a significant source of stress for many people. Encouraging and supporting regular breaks can lead to a more productive and engaged workforce, with fewer instances of burnout and stress-related issues.

Promote Work-Life Balance

Employers can offer flexible work arrangements to prevent workplace stress and employee burnout. Flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or flexible schedules, can help employees balance their work and personal life, reducing the potential for burnout.

By allowing employees to work from home or choose their own working hours in onsite or remote work, they can manage their workload in a way that suits their personal needs and preferences. This can increase job satisfaction, reduce absenteeism, and improve overall work performance. Providing employees with greater flexibility can help them feel trusted and valued, which can boost employee morale and foster a positive work environment.

Recognize and Reward Employees

Rewarding employees

Recognizing and rewarding employees for their achievements and hard work is a crucial step in preventing workplace-related stress and employee burnout. Employers should acknowledge their employees' contributions and successes to foster a positive work environment and improve employee morale. This can be achieved through various means such as bonuses, promotions, or public recognition.

By recognizing and rewarding employees for their achievements, employers can motivate their employees to continue performing at a high level and boost their confidence and self-esteem. It also communicates to employees that their hard work and dedication are valued and appreciated, which can increase job satisfaction and reduce stress levels. A workplace culture that acknowledges and rewards employees' achievements and contributions can go a long way in preventing burnout and keeping employees engaged and productive.

Foster a Positive Work Environment

Creating a positive work environment is essential in preventing workplace burnout and employee burnout. Employers can promote a positive work environment by encouraging teamwork, inclusivity, and personal relationships & respectful communication among employees. This means fostering an environment where workers feel comfortable and supported to collaborate, share ideas, and solve problems together. Encouraging inclusivity means promoting diversity and making sure all the workers feel valued and respected, regardless of their background, race, or gender.

Respectful communication means creating an environment where employees can express their opinions, ideas, and feedback in a constructive and respectful manner. This can be achieved through open communication channels, active listening, and regular check-ins between employees and management. When employees feel supported, valued, and respected, they are more likely to be engaged and productive, which can reduce stress levels and prevent burnout.

Provide Professional Development Opportunities

Growth Opportunities

Employers can offer training and career development programs to help employees learn new skills, acquire knowledge, and advance in their careers. When employees feel supported in their professional growth, they are more likely to stay motivated and engaged in their work. This can also lead to increased job satisfaction and reduce the likelihood of burnout.

Employers can also offer mentorship programs, regular performance evaluations, and feedback to help employees set goals and track their progress. By investing in their employee's growth and development, employers can create a more fulfilling and satisfying work environment, which can ultimately benefit both the employees and the organization.


Working for the improvement of the mental health of employees who have experienced work-related stress and burnout is only necessary. Providing better work-life balance, offering mental health days, providing better health insurance, covering mental health-care costs, and similar steps can lead to a decreased burnout rate and increased employee retention. Your employees are your assets, and their well-being is core to achieving the goals you and your company plan to.

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Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

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