Somehow, takling about burnout and sunburns always comes during the same season – the summertime. But, what comes first to your mind as a reason for burnout? Most of us would say it’s working too hard or too much. Although this does represent a risk factor, the story is more complex, and job burnout can result from various factors.
- It might be that your boss micromanages your work, or you have absolutely no influence on the decisions in your daily job.
- Maybe you have challenges managing the energy level you leave for your time with family, friends, or hobbies.
- Perhaps you’re not sure what is expected of you in your job, or your work is too chaotic. Or too monotonous?
The list of reasons is substantial, and there’re many scientific articles about it, trying to figure out how to support employees in their workplaces. The research goes back to the 1970s when psychologist Herbert Freudenberger described burnout symptoms in helping professions and continues to be of scientists’ interest in other professions and modern workplaces.
World Health Organization (2019) defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
- reduced professional efficacy.
Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”
Who Runs Your Show?
According to our readers’ statistics, it’s likely that you are in your working years. You probably have a working arrangement with your employer. You know what the employer expects of you, and your employer knows what you expect of them.
Still, the nuances in doing what you agreed on are countless.
Letting your environment run the show and take a passive approach and “do what you’re told” sounds like a predictable road to burnout.
You can never control all the factors influencing your job, nor can you control your coworkers, but you can do a lot to take care of yourself.
Knowing your efficient and nonefficient working habits, your chargers and drainers, your strengths, and areas for improvement is crucial. You can intentionally change only what you are aware of.
After a good look in the mirror, you can focus on actions like better self-organizing and communicating your needs and boundaries to others directly and respectfully.
Notch – burnout or log out?
Your employer can do a lot to support you in your burnout prevention.
It’s up to the employer to ensure a supportive and growing environment where employees can co-create their goals, develop personally and professionally, participate in decision-making, receive regular feedback, and have their voices heard.
Also, it’s up to the leaders to foster genuine and high-quality relationships with employees and reduce stressful and unnecessary social interactions for their team members.
A rare thing
It’s not that we in Notch never had a case of burnout. Still, we must say, they are rare. As one of the main reasons for this being a rare thing, the truth lies in our culture of collaboration.
Our engineers tend to be much more supportive of each other than competitive. They outwit their project challenges and help others do the same. And this makes a difference.
Psychologically, it is much safer to exist in an environment where you don’t have to worry whether your coworker will take all the credit or keep the information for themselves. Not only that – the influence on productivity is huge. We can give our best when we feel safe and well cared for.
Talking about giving our best, sometimes you only see your value and contribution through working hard and long hours, and that can lead to burnout.
Notch Protocol for Burnout
If we see this happening, we ensure you know all your other contributions and support you in logging out on time as much as possible.
If we don’t see this happening, we often hear about potential cases from other colleagues, thanks to the people who create our team culture.
People don’t turn their heads away; they speak up for those who don’t speak for themselves.
The solution depends on the problem, and we dig into the case to learn the specifics. Still, there are some steps we will take in general.
On an individual level, we suggest our employees take leave and have a support conversation with their team lead, our People & Culture department experts, or our external expert.
At the same time, we start searching for an organizational solution. Even if it takes some time, we keep it in our sight and tenaciously work on keeping up the promise.
What’s Summertime Got To Do With It?
Being in the middle of a project often leaves you less time to reflect. It’s not likely that you do enough power breaks during your working days. It’s also not likely that you leave yourself enough time during the year to approach your work and life strategically.
During summer, when things get a bit lighter and you enjoy your well-deserved rest, it’s easier to connect with yourself. In that moments, you revisit your values and needs and how you do your job and your job treats you.
Earlier mentioned efficient and nonefficient working habits, your chargers and drainers, your strengths, and areas for improvement finally can sneak into your focus.
It’s important to reflect without judging yourself, others, or circumstances. Just light up the curiosity and enjoy the self-discovery.
After your retrospective, there is another huge thing you can do for burnout prevention.
It is, guess what, to relax and have some rest!
Use as many moments as possible to be present in what you are currently doing.
A fun fact is that, in this way, you can hardly be stressed, as your focus is not on the worrying thoughts about the past or the future.
Even though you use your mind as a primary instrument, sometimes it helps not to think. It’s better to grab a bite or a drink.
Enjoy the silence. Or the noise, whichever you prefer. Breathe in the sunny or rainy summer air, feel the solid ground under your feet, and water on your skin. It doesn’t matter if it’s from a sea, a river, a lake, or a shower.
These days, our Notch people will tune out to charge up. We wish you the same.