9 Signs that Your Employees May Be Burning Out

Hedley Lawson / Aligned Growth Partners, LLC.

Through the past three years of the global pandemic and remote work becoming more of the norm, we have seen higher numbers of employees feeling stress in their jobs and in their lives. And this trend is not going away.

When employees are not taking time for themselves to rest or recharge, constant strain can lead to burnout, adversely affecting the health of your team and your organization. Here are a few of the signs to watch out for:

1. Higher turnover

Turnover happens on any team. But an uptick in your turnover rate may signal that employees are increasingly tired and looking for more rewarding and more stable opportunities elsewhere.

2. Decrease in work quality

An increase in workload or failure to meet ever increasing requirements can be an indication that members of your team are disengaging from their work and projects, and taking less pride in what they produce.

3. Increase in absenteeism

Unhappy employees take more than ten times the number of sick days per year as team members who are happy at work. Rather than put in another unrewarding day, some employees take “sick” days just to get time away from overwhelming projects.

4. Increase in presenteeism

Not all disengaged staff members skip work. Some employees still show up even if they have an illness or other medical condition. If your team members feel pressure to come into work when they are physically or mentally unwell, it may be a sign to lighten the load.

5. Decreased productivity and missed deadlines

A common response to work fatigue is disconnecting from deadlines. Researchers have found that unhappy workers are 10% less productive than their peers. Tasks are completed slowly, creating bottlenecks and hurting timelines. 

6. Poor internal relationships

Your team often works closely with employees in other parts of your organization or other locations. When employees feel strain, these interactions can turn negative, potentially creating conflicts with team members and others.

7. Monopolizing your time

Are your employees trying to get you to notice their situation? Burned out workers can lack motivation, asking for additional — and sometimes unnecessary — direction or help with projects they can easily complete on their own. 

8. Lack of participation

When employees feel unappreciated and despondent, they may react by opting out of casual business relationships. And they sometimes do not make time for spontaneous collaboration or participate in meetings or company events.

9. Falling morale

Employees who are overworked tend to be more negative, impatient and cynical. This often impacts others on their team and soon everyone is more disagreeable and less happy with their work environment.

Too much stress, not enough time to recharge, and overly challenging work conditions can all contribute to employee burnout. In the age of increased competition and digital transformation, every successful organization needs happy, healthy and productive talent. If you are not keeping a close eye on it, burnout will compromise your team’s effectiveness and your organization’s ability to retain your valuable human assets and to effectively and resiliently compete in 2023 and beyond.

Hedley Lawson
Board Member & Advisor | former Global Managing Partner
Aligned Growth Partners, LLC

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