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8 Warning Signs of Workplace Burnout

We’ve all experienced stress on the job, but when it starts becoming the norm, you may be entering the burnout zone. Signs of workplace burnout include a prolonged loss of energy, enthusiasm or self-confidence. While there are several symptoms that can vary from person to person, it is best to not ignore them. And you definitely don’t have to experience all these signs to feel the effects of burnout.

Whether you’re an employee assessing your current work situation or a manager trying to combat worker burnout, we have some helpful signs to be aware of.


A study by the Mayo Clinic suggests eight factors that may contribute to job burnout. They are:

  1. Lack of control. If employees aren’t consulted on decisions that affect their job, such as schedule, deadlines and workload, they may start to feel out of control. A lack of resources needed to do a job can also contribute to this feeling.
  2. Unclear job expectations. If employees don’t understand the degree of authority they have or what others expect from them, they may not feel comfortable at work. If they don’t have a sense of who they report to, they may be confused.
  3. Dysfunctional workplace dynamics. An office bully, undermining colleagues or micromanaging supervisors can contribute to job stress.
  4. Mismatch in values. If your values differ from the way your employer does business or handles grievances, the mismatch can eventually take a toll.
  5. Poor job fit. If your job doesn't reflect your interests and skills, it might become increasingly stressful.
  6. Extremes of activity. When a job is monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to remain focused, which can lead to fatigue and burnout.
  7. Lack of social support. If you feel isolated at work and in your personal life, you might feel more stressed.
  8. Work-life imbalance. If your work takes up so much of your time and effort that you don't have the energy to spend time with your family and friends, you might burn out quickly.

Next Steps

If you’re a manager:

  • Keep your eyes open for changes in behavior or performance. Do you see bullying, negativity or missed deadlines among your direct reports?
  • Take the pulse of your team regularly. If left unchecked, stressed employees may start making mistakes on the job. Ask employees how they feel about their work-life balance.
  • Respond quickly. Be aware that negative attitudes and performance can have a trickle-down effect and cause coworkers to exhibit similar behavior or even quit.

If you’re an employee:

  • Speak up. Have a talk with your supervisor. You might be able to shift responsibilities so that you’re working on tasks that align better with your strengths. There might even be an opportunity to reallocate your workload.
  • Assess your interests and skills. An honest look at what you are passionate about may help decide if you should start thinking about a different job.
  • Don’t ignore your health. Regular exercise can help you keep your mind off work, and proper sleep restores well-being.

Identifying the signs and admitting they exist are crucial steps in tackling workplace burnout. If your job starts affecting the way you feel about other aspects of your life, don’t let your feelings fester. It’s best to keep the lines of communication open with your supervisor as much as possible to tackle workplace stress before it progresses to burnout.   


Job Burnout: How to Spot it and Take Action
When Burnout Is a Sign You Should Leave Your Job
The Tell Tale Signs of Burnout … Do You Have Them?


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