Bored, browned off or Burnt out?

The “Burnout” term has existed since 1969 and today all employees are aware of this term as it concerns more and more people in the modern workforce. It is characterised by a growth in anxiety and stress for the individual worker. Ultimately, he/she may resign because of this stress.

This is not only detrimental for the employee but may have a negative effect on the image of the company in its effort to attract future candidates, which in turn could have a negative effect on the company’s finances. Indeed, with absenteeism, extended or not, replacement staff can be expensive and micro-absenteeism is very difficult to foresee. This last term is used to define an employee who doesn’t go to work without justifications during one or two days in the month. With an accumulation of days, the cost can be very expensive for the company and has a negative impact on productivity, according to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). Note that taking holidays is not efficient way of counteracting this anxiety, if work conditions (work overload, hierarchical pressure…) doesn’t change, the eventual outcome is only postponed.

If depression diminishes over time, the employee may choose to come back to their employer but it is imperative to give him/her a new job to avoid burnout returning. Interestingly, the growth in sales in anti-depressants has soared in recent times.

What are the “younger brothers” of burnout?

Although, they are perhaps less visible but the consequences can be just as harmful.

“Browned off” occurs when an employee loses the meaning of his/her job. Frequently, it often occurs when there is a mismatch between the skills and competencies of the individual worker when compared to the requirements of the job. It may appear like common sense but it can be very counterproductive to overload the employee with a myriad of tasks, some unnecessary and they rarely are successful in completing everything. This creates a bad atmosphere, as the employee will become disillusioned. This bad feeling can spread throughout the organisation and eventually into society at large (anyone who has direct contact with your organisation or staff of your organisation)

Indeed, it’s a path to self-destruction. The main risk with employee burnout is that it is hard for management to identify. However, burnout is becoming more prevalent in larger organisations as many job titles do not match the requirements of the position.

An interesting fact is that because of being “browned-off” employees will generally eat more fatty foods and stop playing sport because of their exhausted psyche. Obviously, being in good physical condition could mitigate the effects, nevertheless the best way is to change job if you are totally disillusioned.

For the family of the employees, a family member being “burnt out” can be clear to see and some symptoms are like being browned off. Most employees (90%) prefer a stimulating work environment to idleness, although all people from time to time will experience boring days,

You may feel on a Friday afternoon that your workload is lighter. So, if being bored only happens occasionally, it’s not dangerous. On the other hand, continuous boredom can become an open door to melancholy.

Humanity in general doesn’t like daily routines, she likes new things because she is curious. The brain does have to be fed with beauty (read books, listen to music or look at nice paintings etc.) and it also needs stimulation (by working), it’s the way to wellbeing that boredom doesn’t allow. Furthermore, some employees may resort to presenteeism and show little or no remorse, regardless of the implications for their employer. In order to break this habit, the best way is maybe to take risks and thus to create more chances to gain a promotion.

These 3 “work ailments” concern every level of hierarchy in the organisation, nobody is sheltered from this phenomenon. Stress can create aggressive people and a dysfunctional personal life also.

There are several solutions. Job restructuring or teleworking could facilitate the best balance between personal and family life, whilst reducing stress levels. These are just a few of the solutions available to fight against this scourge. We could also hope that management methodology which has evolved year after year and could improve the atmosphere at work.

These ailments aren’t fatal, a company which has a good positive and social culture can have a positive effect on the mental wellbeing of its employees. A modern successful company is not only obsessed by balance sheets and turnover. It also cares greatly about its employee’s mental wellbeing.

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