Stress and the eventual burnout it may cause seems something too few small business owners pay attention to. It tends to be invisible and easily overlooked but, if left untended, can destroy a company faster than just about any other factor. If burnout begins to take hold, you and your employees will be useless unless you uncover the direct causes and try to eliminate those. Finding ways to relieve stress to avoid burnout is useless unless the causes are dealt with. The Mayo Clinic has released critical data on employee burnout and how you can see it before it starts to destroy your company. The following is taken directly from their published findings:
- Job burnout is a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.
Job burnout symptoms – Ask yourself:
- Have you become cynical or critical at work?
- Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
- Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
- Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
- Do you find it hard to concentrate?
- Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
- Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
- Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
- Have your sleep habits changed?
- Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?
Possible causes of job burnout – Job burnout can result from various factors, including:
- Lack of control. An inability to influence decisions that affect your job — such as your schedule, assignments or workload — could lead to job burnout. So could a lack of the resources you need to do your work.
- Unclear job expectations. If you’re unclear about the degree of authority you have or what your supervisor or others expect from you, you’re not likely to feel comfortable at work.
- Dysfunctional workplace dynamics. Perhaps you work with an office bully, or you feel undermined by colleagues or your boss micromanages your work. This can contribute to job stress.
- Extremes of activity. When a job is monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to remain focused — which can lead to fatigue and job burnout.
- Lack of social support. If you feel isolated at work and in your personal life, you might feel more stressed.
- Work-life imbalance. If your work takes up so much of your time and effort that you don’t have the energy to spend time with your family and friends, you might burn out quickly.
Job burnout risk factors – The following factors may contribute to job burnout:
- You have a heavy workload and work long hours
- You struggle with work-life balance
- You work in a helping profession, such as health care
- You feel you have little or no control over your work
Consequences of job burnout – Ignored or unaddressed job burnout can have significant consequences, including:
- Excessive stress
- Sadness, anger or irritability
- Alcohol or substance misuse
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Vulnerability to illnesses
-Written by Kevin Sawyer