According to the World Health Organisation, burnout is a ‘chronic workplace stress that has not been well managed’ and has defined 3 main symptoms that those with burnout are likely to experience. These being:
1) Emotional, mental, physical exhaustion (you’re not just a bit tired and in need of a lie-in or a weekend away: you’re utterly finished, overwhelmed and feel like you can’t go on)
2) Negativity/cynicism about your work (because you’re overwhelmed, everything seems unfair, wrong and insurmountable. Unsurprisingly, you sink into a spiral of doom and gloom)
3) Poor time efficiency (exhausted and stuck in a negative cycle, you’re unmotivated by the things which once energised you. You can’t concentrate anymore, your efforts feel pointless and you can no longer make key decisions.)
Ultimately, there is not one single cause but a combination of common triggers at work and at home, plus a lack of mental and physical wellness are strong contributing factors.
Mental Health UK polled 3000 working adults in 2021 and the most common triggers of burnout included a mix of work-related and personal stresses, from financial concerns to working from home, job security, isolation, physical health, sleep, relationships, homeschooling and caring for others who aren’t child dependants. Other research suggests that discrimination/inequality at work, unmanageable workload, lack of role clarity, lack of communication and support from their manager(s), and unreasonable time pressures are also contributing factors.
Plus, with the addition of the Covid Pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, these ‘triggers’ have only become more predominant.
At Great British Speakers, TEDx Mental Health advocate and an ICF-accredited coach Andrew Pain is an expert speaker on ‘Burnout’ – he knows what it really means to experience Burnout and how to overcome the triggers.
Here, Andrew talks about the 4 things employers can do, to develop the conversation around burnout and create the first steps of meaningful action, including;
1) Encourage your leaders to be vulnerable as a key leadership trait, being open about their own challenges and the things they’re struggling with.
According to Andrew,
”When leaders choose to be open about their struggles, it creates a positive knock-on effect for the wider team because if it’s acceptable for the leader to be open, then it’s ok for others to speak up too. Vulnerable leaders help create psychologically safe spaces and such spaces are vital in combatting burnout. Without safe spaces, we cannot expect our people to be open about their struggles and fears”.
2) Talk to your teams about what they need and how they’re feeling, not as a one-off exercise but as an ongoing and daily conversation. Then, take action where you can, in order to show your team that when they voice their needs, they’re listened to and taken seriously.
3) Encourage and enable your teams to take local action, which could range from; a) sociable activities, b) informal, wellbeing check-ins to begin each team meeting, c) the ‘it’s ok to not be ok’ slogan as a Zoom/Teams background as a daily reminder to each other and anyone else they meet in online meetings, d) specific boundaries around email usage, both during the working day and also during evenings, weekends and annual leave.
4) Put wellbeing at the heart of your organisational culture and mission, offering wide-ranging and tailored wellbeing plans, encouraging leaders and managers to undertake mental health first aid training, with follow-up plans for how to take that knowledge back into the workplace and bring it to life, so it makes a meaningful difference.
I really enjoyed Andrew’s session! Think I’ll have to show it to my girlfriend as well, who, as a freelance copywriter and writer could use some tips on beating burnout. For me, I have seen plenty of sessions at this point in various conferences about burnout, and workload management, and I usually come away feeling that all they do is give context for 30 minutes then try to whizz through a couple of practical strategies that don’t acknowledge the time pressures school staff are under.
I felt as if you had the balance far better in your session, as after your brief intro you got stuck into it, whilst acknowledging workload pressures. Personally, I loved hearing about the TEST method and how it relates to PREM managers – as a Liverpool fan it made a whole lot of sense!”Educational Conference Client Feedback
Unfortunately, in today’s busy world, Burnout is something more and more of us are likely to experience, however as employers we can help our teams and audiences learn coping mechanisms to help.
Just 3 of Andrew’s top keynotes on stress and burnout include;
– How to make critical decisions when the stakes are high.
– How to stop burnout so work/life balance is a reality, not a utopia.
– How to delegate so the job gets done on time and to the standard you want.
Alongside his coaching and speaking career, Andrew is a campaigner and advocate for victims of domestic abuse. Having personally experienced abuse in a former marriage, Andrew focuses on supporting all victims of abuse regardless of gender and works with a number of charitable ventures including domestic abuse and homelessness. Andrew has a dedicated keynote on the subject, Domestic Violence Isn’t Gendered which he recently discussed with Great British Speakers’ director Jane Farnham for Mental Health Awareness Day (2021) and is one of our top motivational speakers for Mental Health Awareness Events this Mental Health Awareness Week (9th-15th May 2022).
If you’d like to book Andrew Pain for a Mental Health/Burnout talk, or as a motivational leadership and team-building speaker contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to contact a member of the Great British Talent Group team.