Burnout can be a common issue and can be a big problem if you don’t recognize the symptoms and if you don’t know how to handle it. This is especially true for IT professionals, where the demand for results and the work hours can be higher than other professions. Read on to find out how you can prevent burnout in the workplace.
What Is Burnout In The Workplace?
Burnout is a term used to describe the feeling of low interest and long term exhaustion. It’s related to being stressed about your job, but it’s probably a bit past the day-to-day stress.
If you imagine the stress stage as something like “too much pressure to get things done”, then burnout would come later after that, as something like “have no interest at all in what I’m doing”.
It’s a bit more than just having a bad day – it’s something that’s developed over a long period of time, most likely years. It’s one of the reasons why people change careers – both coming in and moving out of IT. They may just feel like that have lost interest and had enough of a career in IT.
Signs Of Burnout
There are a few ways to tell if you, or a co-worker, is suffering from burnout in the workplace. Some of them are:
- Lack of motivation. Do you struggle to get out of bed every day and get to work? Do you take time to actually get started at work?
- No interest in your work. When you’re at work, do you find it hard to gain and retain interest in the tasks or work that you’re doing?
- No satisfaction from accomplishments. When you achieve something, or complete a big task, do you feel no sense of satisfaction or achievement?
- Loneliness. You may feel alone, whether in your work environment or personal life. Whether this is actually true or not is another thing.
Preventing Burnout In The Workplace
At this point, you may feel like you’re experiencing a kind of burnout in the workplace, or perhaps you’re on your way to a stage of burnout or disinterest in your career.
Don’t worry – there are many ways you can address this thought and prevent a feeling of burnout:
- Get enough sleep each night. It may seem obvious, but make sure that you get enough sleep each night to ensure your mind and body are rested and recovered and ready to take on the next day at work.
- Eat and drink healthily. Making sure you eat a balanced diet is a great way to reduce stress and eventually prevent burnout. Drinking plenty of water throughout your day is also a good idea.
- Try to separate your work and your personal life. A big part of the road to burnout in the workplace is mixing your work with your home life. This means taking work home, thinking about work while you’re away, and working longer hours and weekends to get things done. While you may occasionally need to put in extra hours for a project or deadline, it should be the exception rather than the norm. Get into a habit of separating the two areas of your life.
- Reduce the hours you work. Often people who experience burnout are those that work over 40 hours per week. They could be working 50 or 60 or even more hours over an extended period of time. This affects the balance between work and life and can lead to burnout. As I mentioned above, keeping the balance between the two is important. Have a conversation with your manager to find out how you can reduce the hours you’re working. Even a small amount gradually will help over the long term.
- Reassess your work and career priorities. Sometimes you need to have a think about the type of work you’re doing at your job, and how it affects your career priorities. If you’re doing extra work that doesn’t align with your long term goal, then ask yourself if it really needs to be done. If you’re trying to do the work of two people, then ask yourself if you’re able to get help with some of the work, or drop the work entirely. Sometimes the extra work you’re doing isn’t actually as important as it’s made out to be.
- Take a holiday. One of the best ways to prevent burnout in the workplace is to take a holiday. Escape from your work pressures and take a vacation to another place. It could be a weekend away at the coast, or a flight to another country. It could be a short weekend away, or a two month trip to several countries. It’s up to your budget and time constraints, but this is a great way to recharge yourself, and will leave you feeling refreshed when you get back. I’ve taken a few holidays in my time and have noticed I feel much better when I get back than when I left!
I hope these suggestions and tips will help you recognize and avoid burnout in the workplace before it affects you and your career – because what’s the point of working in IT if you don’t enjoy it?