What do you think the solution is to reduce sickness and burnout at work?

Coming from a social work background Burnout within the industry was well known. But it is by far limited to only this industry but others I know of include lawyers, accountants, academics even small business owners.

Burnout is due to a number of factors and has tragically resulted in some employees taking their own lives. Which leads to question what is the next step for employees and how do they manage this problem? Who is it that needs to take some responsibility of the pressures at work but also how can employers identify individual employee needs.

One factor that I think affects many individuals is being able to say no. One simple word that holds so much weight. Fear of how they would be seen as an employee kicks in and to admit they were unable to complete tasks expected could be an unspoken admission of failing. So what is a good enough standard of work, how much work is acceptable and where does the buck stop in who should be brave enough to stand up and say what is and isn’t possible within a working day. The problem lies in that we all have different expectations, different values and different ways of dealing with people.

Maybe the pressures of work load for everyone is too much with some management focusing on where there can be more cuts and not on how to retain staff. There is a clash on what to deal with first. It’s no wonder there’s more stress and what seems like an impossible problem to solve. I believe one of the solution lies in exploring whether the job is right for the individual. Does the individual employee know their limits and have valid reasons why they can’t take on more work.

My question is what can management do differently? Not all management are trained how to deal with complexities of some peoples needs. They can protect staff, they can offering the right support they know of, looking at ways the company can be more productive or employ the right amount of staff for the work at hand. This is obviously all down to budgets.

Some of us are from a generation (if you're above 30) mostly where we wasn’t nurtured in a way that was to explore who we were and what work we really enjoyed. When choosing a career or studies we tended to follow family advise or those closest to us and they would give us their view on what a good job was! Or maybe you went to university, didn’t work out and took any job because you believed that’s what you could achieve. It could just be after time the job is not what you thought the job would entail and you are unhappy in what you’re doing. We are making huge decisions at an early age and then stay put. Yes we are always changing and evolving but mainly we become creatures of habit. Then fear of the unknown kicks in, possibly some limiting beliefs around not being able to learn something new and you end up hating your work and possibly even yourself for not being able to move on or even know where to start to change your situation.

Whatever the reason you ended up where you are now, there’s time to change and find out what your passion is. So you are doing something you enjoy and can say you are proud to do. I think its important for companies to start to take time to recognise and put more focused support in place that helps staff explore what jobs are actually suited to them based on their skill set and things they enjoy and want to develop.

It’s a given when workers enjoy their jobs, they are doing something they love, they feel they are growing, they are feel part of a supportive company and they feel listened to, they will perform better. I suppose the debate lies, is this for companies to address or the staff themselves. I believe its a bit of both.

We can often live robotic lives and not reflect and think about if the job we are doing is the right one for us. So having a company to put an initiative forward for this would be forward thinking but also help the company grow, thrive and a step in the right direction in terms of looking after the staff and the staff having space and time to explore that they are in fact in a job they like.

There are tons of additional reasons and challenges I am sure. I’d be interested to know what you think the solution is to reduce sickness and burnout at work?

Claire ParishComment