We all have stressors in life, some more than others. However, job burnout isn’t simply pressure about work. Job burnout, according to The Mayo Clinic, is “a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.” So, that sluggish feeling you feel every morning on your way to work may not just be you longing for extra sleep. It may be a sign that you’re experiencing burnout – your job is taking a toll on you. To know for sure, you first have to know the signs and symptoms of burnout.
Small Businesses are Particularly Vulnerable to Burnout
Running a business of any size is time consuming, stress inducing and mentally draining. Having a small business means having fewer employees, meaning a heavier work load for each person. There is more ground to cover with less hands, so it makes sense that small business owners and their employees are more likely to experience the lack of energy and negative feelings burnout entails. Medium.com reports that “a 2016 survey conducted by Morar Consulting found that 40 percent of office workers in the United States and Canada feel burned out.” If you’re a small business owner, manager or employee, it’s useful to know the main causes so you can take action to bounce back and stay productive in your work.
The Mayo Clinic says that some causes of burnout include a lack of control, lack of support socially and work-life imbalance. To be successful and happy at a job, it has to be a right fit in terms of job responsibilities and morals/values. If you’re working with people that push you to become negative, nervous or self-conscious, this can lead to issues in job performance. Deeming your job as the center of your life also can lead to burnout as you may be lacking social relationships outside of work. If you’re not fully comfortable with the job, people, setting or performance, work burnout is very possible.
Keep an Eye Out For Burnout Symptoms
Burnout symptoms at your job can vary. Like mentioned, it can take a toll in an unseen way mentally or can be shown through your physical feelings or emotional actions. The following are some burnout symptoms according to Psychology Today:
Anxiety: Worry and nerves are always normal in the beginning of your job or career, but when it becomes part of every workday, it's an issue. Stressing about the future day-by-day is not something you should have to deal with.
Depression: Hopelessness should never be a part of you reoccurring moods, especially when it has to do with work. If extremely down and depressed to the point of you feel stuck, take action by finding professional help.
Anger: Workplace anger and violence is never welcome. Snapping at coworkers or anyone in your life for your internal feelings is not the answer and should also require you to seek professional help.
Fatigue: Like mentioned above, feeling tired and drained of energy is not good for you and definitely not beneficial to your work. To be successful, you first have to be ready to get your tasks done.
Insomnia: Sleep is a must for everyone. Falling asleep and staying asleep are issues that are not only signs of burnout but are ones that directly contribute to the development of it.
Limited appetite: Not feeling hungry and skipping meals consistently is not okay for your mind or body. You need to refuel to stay healthy, focused and motivated.
Warped concentration: Having a hard time remembering certain things to the point where you stop getting things done? Getting too distracted every day? Yeah, that’s burnout for you.
Physical issues: Shortness of breath, intestinal pain, chest pain, headaches and dizziness are only some of the physical symptoms you may feel with burnout. You should know how your body feels in a normal, everyday state. If any part of you feels “off,” do not ignore it.
Illness: If your body is lacking any of the above, such as sleep and nutrients, your immunity will likely drop. This will cause you to become sick more often. Not only does this feel horrible, but from a business standpoint, causes you to have to call out of work more days than you’d like.
While your job is important, your health and happiness are far more valuable. If you experience any issues mentally, physically or emotionally that you feel aren’t normal for you, don’t be afraid to seek help from your doctor or medical professional.
Employees Are Your Most Valuable Resource — Protect Them!
Employees quite literally run the company. It doesn’t matter where you rank or what your job title is; if your workers aren’t performing well, it effects the company. However, it is an owner/manager’s job to set employees up for success. Finding the right leadership style to suit your workers is a huge step in limiting stressors for each member, but it can also be as simple as providing the best equipment for use at the office. At a small company, sometimes the little things make a huge difference. For instance, if one of your employees does a lot of stapling, why not make their job easier by providing them with an electric stapler that requires minimal effort, or an ergonomic stapler that's easy on wrists with repetitive motions.
Innovative Ways to Keep Burnout at Bay
Stress in life is inevitable but increasing workplace happiness while building a business and making profit is possible. Upon working in an appropriate leadership style, there are other methods to control the chronic stress you may experience. First, control what you can. This means while you may not have total control of all aspects of your work, you can easily clean up your desk and stacks of paper, which will contribute to limiting the visual chaos. Treat yourself to a desktop file organizer to help sort the mess and bring you peace of mind.
The Balance Small Business also recommends prioritizing your work to get a handle on deadlines, but to also say no when you know you just can’t handle anymore. The latter may be easier said than done, but after the first few “nos” it’ll get less stressful. Also suggested is to squeeze in some down time, or at the very least, leave all work at work and set strict hours. Once you leave the office and enter your home, no stressful thoughts about your job are welcome. Inviting them in will only add to your negative feelings and carry them into the night hours, causing a lack of sleep.
While these are not first-degree profit building techniques, these are methods that will keep all employees on track to stay successful. Burnout is developed through the doubts of value of your work. Though with that, you work harder, which ironically increases the burnout. Instead, know your stressors, remember that work is simply work, and that your health comes first. Starting a small business from the ground up takes a lot of effort from a group of people who are motivated, hard-working and healthy.