Burnout, or burnout at work

4 symptoms of burnout at work that affect you?

Tight, almost unbearable deadlines, pressure at work, unrealistic expectations, harsh managers and you could be a victim of burnout.

The burnout syndrome is becoming a problem of such magnitude, even on a global scale, that urgent action is needed to address it in a wider societal context. One of the most serious consequences of prolonged and increased stress at work is burnout, with a history dating back to 1974. It was then that psychoanalyst Herbert Freudenberger first defined the phenomenon and described the characteristic symptoms of burnout. We can see that the problem is not new, but it is becoming more acute as technology advances and becomes more widespread, as workers become more and more impulsive, and as they work too many hours and do too much paperwork

One in four workers in the European Union suffers the consequences of stress at work. According to a 2002 European Commission report, the cost of work-related stress in the then EU-15 was approximately €20 billion a year. This figure has risen further, according to the results of an EU-funded survey in 2013, which found that the costs to employers of absenteeism, reduced capacity and fatigue from work-related stress amounted to hundreds of billions of euros. The global nature of the problem of stress at work is illustrated by the fact that it is not only EU countries that suffer from the costs. The United States, Canada and Australia also spend staggering amounts of money on burnout.

Recognising this, global companies have in recent years devoted considerable resources to developing and embedding workplace wellbeing programmes into their organisational culture. In our country, too, it is mainly those large companies that are ahead of the field, which have been able to adapt international know-how and make the programme part of their daily operations more easily. However, an important aspect is that successful implementation is not just a question of money! It is necessary to find the “push buttons” that are most specific to the company and that can achieve significant results, even in a short time. This is where a corporate health programme expert can provide professional help.

Here is a summary of the most common symptoms of burnout. For companies that think responsibly and create long-term value, it’s key to get a coherent picture of your employees’ health and implement your own wellbeing programme as soon as possible.

The symptoms of burnout can be divided into 4 broad groups:

The first and most prominent are physical symptoms, such as chronic fatigue and psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches, indigestion, sleep disturbance, back pain, throat tightness and reflux.

This is followed by emotional symptoms, which are an inherent part of the physical signs. These include depression, anxiety, fear, feelings of hopelessness, failure, helplessness and loss of faith in work.

Attitudinal symptoms form the third group. This is a negative cynical, sarcastic attitude towards work and colleagues.

And finally, the most negative symptom for employers is the deterioration of work morale, such as failure to meet deadlines, serial delays, frequent mistakes.

In conclusion, burnout among employees can cause serious damage to the life of a company. Prevention must start at the moment of entry into work. There are a number of solutions to this problem, even on a temporary basis, such as maintaining a psychological call centre, learning stress-relief techniques, organising regular community-building sports and training. It is a good idea to start with a situation assessment and make a plan according to the company’s current health status.

Can we help you develop the right health programme for your company?

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