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Combating Burnout: Work is no longer working

Combating Burnout: Work is no longer working

Posted on 9/07/2024 by Caitlin Ielasi

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In the fast-paced world we live in, burnout has become an increasingly common phenomenon, touching the lives of many across the globe. The "State of Workplace Burnout 2024" report by Infinite Potential offers profound insights into the evolving landscape of work and the pressing need to combat burnout through sustainable practices. In this blog, we delve into the three dimensions of burnout and explore actionable strategies to foster wellbeing in the workplace.

The State of Workplace Burnout 2024

  • Women's burnout rose to 42% from 38%, while men's dropped to 30% from 33%.

  • Sub-40-hour workers have higher engagement, wellbeing, and lower burnout than 40+ hour workers.

  • Hybrid arrangement (2–3 days per week in the workplace) yields top wellbeing and work quality versus full remote or office setups.

  • Burnout sufferers are twice as likely to experience loneliness compared to non-sufferers.

Understanding the Three Dimensions of Burnout

Burnout is more than just feeling tired or stressed; it is a debilitating condition recognised by the World Health Organization as a syndrome stemming from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed (Infinite Potential, 2024). It manifests in three distinct dimensions:

  1. Exhaustion: This is characterised by feelings of physical, mental, and emotional depletion, where individuals feel entirely drained.

  2. Cynicism: Here, individuals experience mental distance, depersonalisation, and growing negativity towards their work.

  3. Reduced Professional Efficacy: This involves a noticeable decline in productivity, with individuals making more mistakes and feeling increasingly incompetent.

Combatting Burnout with Sustainable Work Practices

The foundational step in combatting burnout is shifting from reactive measures to proactive, systemic changes that cultivate a healthy work environment. Below are recommended strategies based on insights from the "State of Workplace Burnout 2024" report:

Shorten the Work Week

Data shows that individuals working less than 40 hours a week exhibit significantly higher engagement, wellbeing, and lower rates of burnout (Infinite Potential, 2024). Reducing work hours can lead to a more focused and productive workforce that maintains a healthier work-life balance.

Foster Hybrid Work Models

The report reveals that employees with hybrid work arrangements report the highest wellbeing and quality of work. Embracing flexibility allows employees to find a working model that suits their lifestyle and personal commitments, reducing stress and enhancing job satisfaction.

Bridge the Manager-Employee Wellbeing Perception Gap

A notable wellbeing perception gap exists between managers and their teams, with many managers overestimating the wellbeing of their employees. Encouraging open communication and regular check-ins can help bridge this gap, ensuring employee wellbeing is accurately understood and prioritised.

Combat Loneliness with Community Building

Since individuals experiencing burnout are twice as likely to suffer from loneliness, creating a sense of community within the workplace is essential. Organising team-building activities, promoting social interactions, and facilitating mentorship programs can foster a supportive environment.

Shift from Band-Aid Solutions to Systemic Changes

The report emphasises the need to move away from superficial wellness initiatives to systemic changes that address the root causes of workplace stress. This includes reevaluating job designs, improving organisational culture, and developing leadership styles that prioritise employee wellbeing.

A Call to Action

The alarming rates of burnout call for a transformative approach to how we conceive and engage with work. Understanding the multifaceted nature of burnout and implementing sustainable work practices can pave the way for a healthier, more engaged, and resilient workforce. The "State of Workplace Burnout 2024" report underscores the urgent need for this shift, framing it as an imperative for individual wellbeing and the foundation of a thriving, productive society (Infinite Potential, 2024).

Resources

The State of Workplace Burnout 2024 Report

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Reference

Infinite Potential. (2024). The State of Workplace Burnout 2024 (https://infinite-potential.com.au/the-state-of-burnout-2024)