Three reasons you might be feeling burned out and how to address them

Burnout has become a more prevalent issue in society since the start of the pandemic, but particularly within professional environments.

Workplace burnout can be brought on by a range of factors, which ultimately are detrimental to our physical and mental health.

Fortunately, there are lots of things both you and your employer can do to help reduce feelings of burnout in and out of the workplace.

Here we list three of the most common causes, along with some simple suggestions to help you fight against it.

You’re working too many hours

With a higher number of people transitioning to a remote-first working culture, many people have found their schedules have become more fluid Entering and leaving an office would usually define the start and end of the working day, but when working from home, it can be difficult to draw the line and switch off completely from work.

In fact, since the start of the pandemic, research suggests that remote workers have been spending more than two hours longer at their desks every single day. This could be one of the main reasons why you are feeling burned out, with excessive workloads, additional hours and lack of boundaries taking their toll.

It can be useful to create a digital agenda and share this with your colleagues, blocking out hours when you will not be available in order to help manage people’s expectations. Also, as best you can, try to be productive with your spare time after work. With 61% of people claiming they find it difficult to switch off after work, filling your leisure time with physical exercise or social activities could go some way to helping you make a clearer distinction between work and play time.

Poor sleep health

We all know how our sleep health has a strong correlation with our overall health, both physically and mentally. When we regularly don’t get enough sleep, not only do we have less energy during the day, but studies have shown that people who get just 4.5 hours of sleep per night generally have a more negative outlook on life.

A lack of sleep could be linked to other causes of burnout, such as working too many hours or having an unhealthy work-life balance. Even though it can be tempting to work from your bed some days, you should ensure that your bedroom is reserved only for sleeping. Otherwise, your brain can be tricked into thinking that it is time to work when actually you should be switching off for the night. If you have the space, dedicate a room or section of your home that is exclusively for work to avoid any crossover.

Toxic work culture

Burnout can quite simply be brought on by being involved in a harmful work culture that promotes unhealthy working habits and conditions. For instance, perhaps you’re having to contend with unrealistic expectations and excessive workloads, or quite simply you’re given a lack of clarity or support over your job role. This can lead to feelings of alienation and ultimately affect our self-worth.

If you feel this might be applicable to your current situation, it can be useful to perform a job analysis. This will help you to identify your key responsibilities, and give you more clarity on your role. It will also help to highlight opportunities where you can perhaps delegate work to other colleagues, easing your own workload.

By being clearer on your personal role and responsibilities, you will ultimately be able to work with a greater knowledge of the purpose of your role, which can attach more meaning to your day-to-day tasks and make you feel more valued.

Image of James Ritter

About the author

James Ritter is a freelance writer with a particular interest in employee welfare. James has created content for established companies based all around the world and has a degree in creative writing.