Employee Burnout[2024]: 7 Tips on How to Prevent Burnout & 7 Tips on Recover from Burnout

Jun 4, 20247 min
Employee Burnout - A Girl feels like burned out and frustrated due to workpressure

In 2022, McKinsey surveyed 15000 people across 15 countries and found that anywhere between 21 to 38 percent of employees report varying degrees of burnout symptoms.. At 38%, India reported the highest incidence of burnout. Two years have passed but burnout continues to be a concern for many individuals. Post-pandemic, many of us have continued to work remotely. Remote workers are particularly at risk of burnout because of the blurred lines between work and personal life. 

Although burnout is generally associated with corporate employees, it impacts people across industries, including lawyers, medical and other healthcare professionals, creative professionals, and therapists.

What is employee burnout? 

Burnout occurs when chronic workplace stress goes unmanaged. Burnout is characterized by three factors: 

  1. Depleting energy or feelings of exhaustion 
  2. Feeling disconnected, distant, or cynical about one’s work 
  3. Reduced efficacy at work 

Burnout is much like a matchstick on fire. The flame burns slowly and steadily until the entire stick is burnt down and is no longer usable. Just like this, burnout begins and may even progress slowly, but eventually, the individual is not able to function and may feel disconnected from work, or may not be able to perform the way they used to. 

Identifying the 10 causes of employee burnout in the workplace

The causes of employee burnout in the workplace may be related to a lack of work-life balance, poor relationships with colleagues and seniors, or a mismatch between work and skill. These can show up as: 

  1. Working long hours without adequate breaks for rest and recovery 
  2. Not taking time off for extended periods of time 
  3. Mismatched expectations from managers 
  4. Troubled relationships with managers and other team members 
  5. Not having the skillset or knowledge for the tasks one is assigned 
  6. Not enough opportunities for growth within an organization 
  7. Low or inadequate pay 
  8. Lack of boundaries between professional and personal lives 
  9. Lack of clarity about one’s role and responsibilities 
  10. Lack of control over one’s work

8 Signs and symptoms of employee burnout at work

Catching burnout early can help prevent it from escalating. Early signs and symptoms of burnout may be subtle, but if we pay close attention, we can learn to catch the following signs:  

  1. Decreased interest in work or workplace activities 
  2. Increased carelessness with work 
  3. Decreased output, compared to past performance 
  4. Not open to feedback 
  5. Physical symptoms such as headaches, elevated heart rate, or lowered immunity 
  6. Not seeing value in one’s work 
  7. Decreased interest in taking on new projects
  8. Changes in mood. For example, irritability, lack of patience, and getting easily distracted. 

Employee burnout statistics 

In 2023, McKinsey again conducted a survey to assess the prevalence of burnout. The rise was shocking! From 38%, which is high enough already, self-reported burnout among Indian employees shot up to a staggering 62%, while Japan comes close at 61%. In another survey of 32,000 individuals, conducted by ADP research institute, 76% of Indian workers reported that their work impacts their well-being negatively. 49% of them admitted that it adversely impacts their mental health. 

This survey, called ‘People At Work 2023: A Global Workforce View’ also, sadly, shows that in 2023, workers reported feeling less supported by their managers, compared to 2022. Although we are only halfway through 2024, early trends show that this year, too, we can expect to see a rise in the prevalence of burnout. 

HR consultancy firm Mercer published a 2024 global talent trends report, which states that eight out of ten employees are at risk of burnout. Causes that have been stated in the report include financial strain, exhaustion, and increasing workload. 

The burnout rate is unquestionably on the rise. It should make us stop in our tracks and take constructive action toward preventing and recovering from burnout. 

#7 Tips on How to Prevent Employee Burnout while working in a Corporate

Corporate life can be all-consuming. Long hours and never-ending task lists can make it seem impossible to catch a break. But, as we have seen, not being able to catch regular breaks is a fast car to exhaustion and disillusionment.

Think about the prevention of burnout while working in a corporate as a lifestyle. You can cultivate this lifestyle by doing the following: 

1.Incorporate 15 minutes of stretching and relaxation in your daily schedule:

When we think of taking care of the body and mind, we tend to think big. It seems that a workout or a meditation session is worth doing only if it lasts for 30-60 minutes. This is a fallacy. Just 15 minutes of mindful movement every day can help reset the body and prevent some of the pitfalls of stress. 

2.Invest in a social life outside of work:

As working adults, much of our socialization tends to happen at work itself. While this may be convenient, it doesn’t bode well for our mental well-being. Having an active social life outside of work not only helps us disconnect from work but also helps to form deeper and more genuine bonds. 

3.Take care of your nutrition:

It’s a common occurrence for corporate employees to gain weight because of the combination of a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating. It is natural for the body to crave calorie-dense, nutrition-deficit foods when under stress. On the other hand, a healthy and balanced diet can help us in keeping our mental health in a good state. 

4.Find a value match:

One of the contributors to burnout is a mismatch in values within our workplace. When our personal values don’t align with the work we do, it can make us feel disillusioned. If you’re not in a position to find a value match at work, look out for this in the other areas of your life. For example, your job may be high-paying but doesn’t align with your values of solidarity and generosity. You can balance this out by finding opportunities outside of work to give back to society, for example, by being generous with your family, donating to charity, or offering pro bono services to a suitable population.   

5.Ask for clarity and feedback:

Having clarity and open communication at work can act as a buffer from workplace-related stress. Initiate a culture of openness by opening a dialogue about goals and expectations, and asking for feedback when expectations are unclear.  

6.Negotiate suitable pay, and live within your means:

One of the contributing factors of burnout is low pay. If you feel you’re being underpaid or that the pay doesn’t match up to the amount of work you’re putting in, raise the issue with your seniors and negotiate a pay that will keep you motivated. Good financial practices help you to live within your means and keep stress at bay.   

7.Having a morning routine, and a winding down routine:

Many of us struggle with not being able to switch off from work. Here, too, we often fall prey to thinking too big. Think small, and set aside the first 30 minutes after waking up, and the last 30 minutes before going to bed, as a ‘no-work hour’ to see what it does for your mental health. 

#7 Tips on How to Recover from Employee Burnout while Working

Since burnout progresses slowly, if you catch it early, you can start your recovery journey while continuing to work. Depending on the severity of the burnout and your energy level, you may adopt the following 7 strategies: 

1.Seek professional help from a therapist:

Working with a mental health professional can help you with a recovery plan tailored for you. A therapist also provides a judgment-free space where you can candidly discuss your concerns and understand your relationship with work and money. You can find qualified and dedicated mental health professionals at Mave Health’s Therapy Club

2.Speak to your manager:

Bringing up concerns with your manager may give you an opportunity to come up with a sustainable plan together. Increasingly, workplaces are becoming more cognizant of mental health issues. Burnout is no longer a taboo term in many organizations. One can hope to find support and understanding from their manager. 

3.Engage mindfully:

When you’re at work, be fully present at work. But, when you’re done with work, be fully present wherever you are. This, too, is often in the little things. For example, if you’re watching TV with your family, don’t look at your phone for Slack or email updates. At dinner, enjoy the food and company fully. And yes, don’t take your phone to the loo either! 

4.Incorporate daily movement and good nutrition:

Daily movement and good nutrition are two of the four pillars of well-being. As you work on your recovery, make sure to include these in a sustainable and enjoyable way.

5.Prioritize sleep:

Sleep, the third pillar of well-being, is also the body’s inbuilt recovery mechanism. If you’re recovering from burnout, you may find that you need more sleep than usual. This may be your body signaling to you that it’s time to rest. 

6.Spend time with loved ones:

Healthy and close relationships not only keep us well but also help us become well when we’re down and out. Take this time to fill up your cup with quality time with your loved ones. 

7.Re-evaluate your career trajectory:

If your work life so far has led you to a place of burnout, it may be a good idea to re-evaluate your career trajectory moving forward. Are you in the right career? If yes, could you work on putting in less hours? What else may be lacking from your work life that can help you create more balance in the future? These questions can also be explored with the help of a mental health professional who can help you connect the dots. 

In Conclusion

Burnout occurs when workplace stress goes unmanaged for a long period. Burnout not only impacts our emotional and physical well-being but also our relationship with work. Over the last few years, burnout has been on the rise. But, the good news is that by cultivating a more balanced lifestyle, we can both, prevent and recover from burnout. 


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Author's Profile picture
Prachi Gangwani
Therapist | Yoga Teacher | Author of Dear Men: Masculinity and Modern Love in #MeToo India