The burnout handbook: Why it happens and how to stop it

Burnout's not a buzzword – it's real and pressing concern for employers globally

The burnout handbook: Why it happens and how to stop it

Burnout may be seen as a corporate buzzword, but it is a legitimate problem in workplaces. A 2021 McKinsey survey showed half of employees felt ‘at least somewhat’ burned out. Ending burnout requires targeted action from the whole workforce.

What even is burnout?

The World Health Organisation defines burnout as a syndrome (not a disease or illness), ‘conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that hasn’t been successfully managed.

Burnout signs, stages, and symptoms

The warnings to watch for

  • Exhaustion
  • Cynicism
  • Inefficacy

The stages of burnout

  • Honeymoon – you’ve just started your new job, you’re fizzing with ambition, so you want to work long hours and prove yourself.

If there are strategies put in place to deal with the inevitable stress that will come, it’s possible to stay in the honeymoon period forever. However, most people don’t deal with stress well and slide into the next stage.

  • Onset of stress – at this stage the workload is more than the resources you need to cope with the workload. People find it hard to concentrate and have increased irritability.
  • Chronic Stress – this stage, the stress has been present for a while but left untreated. Physical health problems could begin to manifest due to a drop in selfcare and there are fluctuations in mood and energy levels.
  • Burnout – Everything mentioned above. All at once. At this stage it’s too late for preventative care

The symptoms

  • Physical
    • Tension
    • Chronic headaches
    • Exhastion
    • Insomnia
    • Stomach issues
    • Nausea
    • Changes in appetite
  • Emotional
    • Emotional Blunting
    • Hopelessness
    • Helplessness
    • Cynicism
    • Depletion
    • Brain fog
  • Behavioural
    • Social withdrawal
    • Irritability
    • Neglecting personal needs
    • Loss of motivation
    • Detachment

Download the full handbook here.

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