Over the years, “Burn-out” was a term associated with the level of stress people underwent. Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) has included its new definition of the term in the International Classification of Diseases diagnostic manual.
According to WHO, burnout is a result of workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. The symptoms are
- The feeling of energy depletion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job and
- Reduced professional efficiency.
This new definition of WHO is solely workplace-specific and burnout is now recognized as an official illness.
Recognizing Burnout At Work
Burnout can be more common than one might think. Various studies revealed that over a third of total working-class people suffer from burnout every week. This results in anxiety, exhaustion, and mental distress. It’s more likely to happen when employees:
- Don’t feel recognized at work
- Feel incompetent
- Feel they are being held to impossible standards
- Expect too much of themselves
- Don’t feel appreciated
- Struggle to meet unrealistic demands and deadlines
Burnout does not just happen to people putting in long hours in the office. It also affects employees working from home(WFH). Due to the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, employees have now suddenly been shifted to WFH along with juggling multiple professional as well as familial responsibilities. This makes them more vulnerable to burn-out. Added risk factors now emerge:
- Lack of boundaries between office and home
- Lack of control over day-to-day routine
- No-work-life balance
- Struggling to keep up with their “employee image” despite these new challenges
- A dearth of social connections
- Not enough opportunity for self-care due to added responsibilities
Preventing Burnout Proactively
Being on the lookout for and preventing employee burnout wherever possible should figure among an employer’s priorities. The benefits to the employer are manifold:
- Better employee retention
- Less stressed, more productive employees
- Improved employee engagement
It is known that employees with reduced stress tend to perform better. They interact with peers more effectively and approach work with a happy mindset. Hence, knowing what causes the burnout and implementing steps to curb its impact are the initial steps for employers and managers to take appropriate action.
Burnout is chronic in nature, but the symptoms are developed gradually over a period of time. If one is attentive to it, the signs are all there – more error, more fatigue, decreased motivation, irritation, frustration, headaches, sour mood, and logging long hours with less output.
An astute employer or manager should be able to recognize these signs early on and tap all tools at their disposal to prevent fatigue/stress from turning into full-blown burnout.
How Digital Learning Solutions Can Help
Where an employee might be concerned that they are falling behind the times, and this worry is contributing to their stress, the employer may consider setting them up with eLearning sessions to make up for the discrepancy in the employee’s skills.
E-learning has some advantages when tapped intelligently in this scenario:
- The employee can be given the option to take some time off to recuperate, and upskill when they are ready
- They can take up online courses from the comfort of their own home
- They do not have to worry about being slow on the uptake- they can learn at their own pace
- They can focus on the areas where they need a boost
Research has shown that:
- eLearning saves the company time, as it takes up 40-60% less employee time than a classroom session would.
- eLearning leads to a jump in productivity as employees can apply their new skills faster
- eLearning offers better retention rates than conventional face-to-face training.
e-learning can thus help employees to stay relevant, updated, pick up new skills, and hone existing ones. This helps them grow and feel valued, thus reducing the chances of burn-out.
How To Adapt To Digital Learning
There are various ways in which e-learning can be used to cater to the needs of your employees:
- Access to various e-learning courses on employee welfare programs, that employees may feel uncomfortable to talk about openly.
- Creating bite-sized micro-learning and game-based content, which the employees feel interested to learn about.
- Creating interactive and curated content on stress and time management.
- Giving employees something to celebrate after completing a course, as an appreciation of their hard work and new skills obtained
When it comes to burnout, employers need to take the greater-good approach and make resources and aid available across the board. Recognizing burn-out as an issue and implementing e-learning to help employees to upskill and feel more confident are positive steps employers can take.