Project Managers Guide: Effectively Combating Burnout at Work

Project Managers Guide: Effectively Combating Burnout at Work

Burnout! Burnout! Burnout!

It's one of the vermin that eats into the organization if not addressed at the early stages. Dealing with the current younger generation compounds the issue even further. Traditionally, this phenomenon was beheld as a lack of resilience, grit, or hard work from employees. But with our present ever-changing dynamics at work, it's becoming clear that managers need to get a grip on burnout at work before things go out of hand.

Data and Causes on Workplace Burnout

The data for workplace burnout is overwhelming and worrying, to say the least. A survey taken at the onset of the pandemic showed nearly three-quarters of Americans going through workplace burnout. The numbers could be as high as 90%, according to this Deloitte statistic. Even employees who were passionate about their jobs reported experiencing burnout regardless. These effects are more likely to be shared by women who also have to handle a plethora of chores at home.

As though that were not enough, 1 in 10 Americans claimed nothing could be done in their current situation to fix workplace burnout. That's a scary statistic if we are to address workplace burnout effectively. Understanding the reasons may eliminate negativity and offer us insights and strategies on how to tackle workplace burnout.

Listed causes of workplace burnout include;

  • Fears and distractions from the pandemic
  • Added pressure under a work-from-home environment
  • A freaky political and economic climate
  • Overload in terms of work and time with some having meetings at wee hours
  • Meager paid time-off work hours
  • Limited support from managers
  • A lack of proper feedback and communication channel from managers
  • Generally not being involved in decision making
  • Stressors at home, including spouses and kids
  • A disconnect of values and psychological connection between employees and employers
  • Favoritism at the workplace minimizing equity and fairness.

With all that listed, we can comfortably put an end to this article here since you only need to reverse-engineer the causes to find your solution. Nevertheless, it may not be that easy, and managers need explicit strategies to combat this menace.

How Does Workplace Burnout Playout?

You may assume that this is something that’s out there outside your reach – something affecting other people and companies. But your employees and probably you too may be going through prolonged periods of workplace burnout without knowing it.

Symptoms include;

  • Feeling extremely tired at work and off work
  • Low or zero energy when starting a workday or a task; thus, you have to drag yourself
  • Disillusions and negativity concerning your present job
  • You’re not getting the satisfaction you used to from your job
  • Reduced concentration levels at work
  • Turning on inducements such as drugs, pills, food, or alcohol to feel better about the job. Perhaps using these numbs your feelings
  • Eating and sleeping patterns sporadically change
  • You’re progressively irritable and impatient with your colleagues, clients, or customers
  • Your productivity levels have shot down, and you end up delivering less than your capacity
  • You feel inadequate, as though you aren't making any meaningful changes or progress at work.

In turn, these symptoms may have overreaching impacts both at home and work. Tired employees are less productive and may thus present higher chances of absenteeism. Moreover, they may develop additional health issues compounding the reduced productivity and financial burden on their side. Employees start developing lower commitment to the organization that may express itself in intentions to leave or actual employee turnover. If the employee sticks long enough, they may turn to harmful habits to sustain their stay at your company affecting their personal lives.


It’s that nasty. So what do we do about it?

Combating Burnout at Work

A) Start with the Basics – Clear Communication Channels

Is the door to your office open and easily accessible to any employee at whatever time, or do they have to think thrice before knocking? That's a simple way to assess how open or closed you are with your employees. You may not know what problems your employees face if they feel constrained to open up. You can achieve fluid communication through feedback forums such as Q&A meetings and one-on-one sessions.

Opening the communication channels means you should be ready to adapt and change a few things to ensure lasting changes. It is pointless getting to hear your employees if you’re not prepared to do anything about their at-work difficulties. Open up to the different working styles that promote flexibility and relaxation.

B) Time – The X Factor

Most corporate organizations have transitioned to a work-from-home narrative. Create flexible time management plans with individual employees. If you want your workers to value your time and commit to the company and organizational goals, there needs to be reciprocity. The time management plan needs to implement a recovery time to cool down.

Part of respecting their time is coming up with clear and realistic processes and expectations. Managers need to embrace practical techniques to delegating projects without falling into the trap of micromanaging employees.

C) The Autonomous Employee

This is an extension of the previous point. But of clarity in delegating projects and processes involves appreciating the eccentric nature of individual employees. Following a one-shoe-fits-all dynamic may be the most significant contributor to workplace burnout. To achieve this, managers need to put less stress and demand on employees and teams. Micromanaging should be out of the picture, and employees should have the liberty to choose the means to get the work done. Once they control their tasks, your role is to offer much-needed support at every stage.

You may need to offer emotional and psychological support to assist in whatever else they may be going through. Finally, make sure each employee gets to rest in their style without demands during these hours. Initiating vacation minimums or enforcing full-stop hours is an excellent way to start. Don't eat into their weekend/rest hours if you want to achieve productivity.

D) Sync Employees Project with Capabilities

Capitalize on each worker’s unique strengths as part of creating an autonomous work environment. Assign tasks, roles, and responsibilities to employees that match up with their professional abilities. At times, workers feel frustrated handling processes they aren’t acquainted to. This may even result in imposter syndrome, which is a major issue at work. Placing employees in positions best suited for them is the first step in addressing this.

Next, constantly give feedback to your employees on work done, encourage them, and uplift them. Show them that you notice, respect, and value their work. Remunerations and promotions should strictly follow a merit basis. This will propel employees to give a little bit more and minimize the occasional workplace burnout.

The Key is Finding the Near-Perfect Strategy

Your company may be exceptional in one area, such as time management but find yourself wanting in employee motivation. No organization is 100% perfect after all. Start by having open conversations with your team. Show your willingness to change for the better and find the missing gaps. Once you’re in the light, you can then focus on an almost perfect strategy to kill burnout at work.