How to Help a Burnt Out Team

Burnout isn’t just a buzzword busy people use when they are tired. It is a very real phenomenon that impacts overworked professionals. Burnout can lead to physical and mental exhaustion and even major depression. Furthermore, research shows that burnout leads to decreased productivity and lack of engagement, and burnout can actually spread among a team. Just one burned out employee can start a chain reaction, causing other employees to feel overly stressed and exhausted. If you see signs of burnout on your team, it is important to step in and help.

What Are The Signs of Burnout?

Before you can help an employee experiencing burnout, you need to be able to recognize the signs:

  • Increased conflict: If someone who used to get along with everyone is suddenly involved in workplace conflict, it could be the result of excessive stress and frayed nerves.
  • Unexplained apathy: If a high-performing employee suddenly stops caring about meeting deadlines or producing quality work, it is likely a sign of burnout.
  • Increased absenteeism: An uptick in sick days, unscheduled absences late arrivals, and early exits are a sign that trouble is brewing.
  • Noticeable mood changes: Everyone has a bad day now and then, but if an employee who has been happy for months suddenly comes to work every day grumpy and miserable, it could be stress.
  • Decreased productivity: Burned-out employees are not capable of producing high volumes of high-quality output.

Burned out people tend to be unpleasant to be around. Stress can make people grumpy, short-tempered, unreliable, etc. That negativity spreads quickly throughout a team. Even people who aren’t in danger of burning out can be emotionally impacted by someone who is.  Not only are you at risk of ultimately losing the burned-out employee to a new opportunity, but you are also at risk of losing others.

Managing Burnout

Overwork is the leading cause of burnout. While you can’t necessarily eliminate periods of high demand, you can lay the foundations for preventing burnout. First, consider flexible scheduling. Is it absolutely necessary for everyone to be in the office from 9-5? Or could employees work any eight-hour shift (within reason), choosing a start time that suits their personal life and their energy levels? Occasional telecommuting where employees can forego their stressful commute and work from home can also improve work-life balance.

It is also important to fill open roles as quickly and accurately as possible so that no one on the team struggles to pick up the slack. If you are experiencing unfilled roles in your ag business, Morris Bixby can help. Our team will help you find the right people quickly – even in this tight market.  Contact our agricultural industry staffing experts to overcome your challenges today.


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