If your current manager or boss has you convinced that feeling burnt out 24/7 simply comes with the territory of holding down a full-time job, you’re being gaslit. Wordplay aside, bleary-eyed and overworked employees have become troublingly commonplace in today’s professional culture.
While that may sound like good news for overbearing executives and micromanaging supervisors, the reality is that treating employees like worker ants is a surefire way to ensure virtually any business fails. Research published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE tells us that burnout among employees is linked to absenteeism (not showing up), job dissatisfaction, and more job demands in general. That doesn’t sound like a team anyone wants to work on, or manage, for that matter.
So, while it’s plain to see that well rested, refreshed workers are a benefit to all involved parties, burnout remains incredibly relatable across industries and various workplaces. A recent survey of over 5,000 working Americans conducted by the American Heart Association found that over four in five (82%) U.S. workers report feeling burnt out at work at least sometimes – and 25% said they feel burnt out on the job often or always.
If you’re wondering what the AHA has to do with offices, meetings, and overtime requests in the first place, you’re underestimating just how harmful constant work stress and chronic burnout can be to the body. Described by the World Health Organization as an “occupational mental health phenomenon,” burnout is characterized by three elements; exhaustion, on-the-job pessimism, and reduced efficacy. However, beyond those more apparent outward signs of career stress, chronic burnout has long been linked to an increased risk of numerous cardiovascular health concerns including an irregular heartbeat, stroke, and heart disease.
Luckily, the AHA’s latest research project didn’t simply set out to gauge burnout levels among American workers. The poll also worked to assess the effectiveness of 9 distinct policies aimed at combating employee burnout. Sure enough, all 9 evidence-based best practices among employers were found to foster improved employee well-being and mental health. Quite literally, the more of these policies a company adopts, the better off their employees. Among companies with none of these policies in place, only 51% of workers reported positive on-the-job well-being, whereas employers with all 9 policies boasted 91% employee positive well-being.
Ready for a new job? Look for these policies
If you’ve been feeling run down in your current role, it may be time to start looking for a new position elsewhere. During your job search, be sure to keep these 9 employer policies in mind. Choosing a position that will support your mental health as opposed to testing it can make a world of difference:
- Proper alignment between skill sets and assigned job roles. In other words, are workers adequately trained and supported to succeed in their given roles?
- Crystal clear roles and responsibilities. Every single worker should know what is expected of them on a daily basis. When some employees are left with far more work than others, it usually leads to conflict and resentment.
- Habitual assessment of workload. Higher-ups and managers should check in with their teams regularly to ensure no one is overworked, delegate assignments, and help prioritize projects.
- Allow employees to have a say in their role. The more involved a person is in determining what their position entails, the more engaged and motivated they will feel at work.
- Develop training programs to build employee expertise. Employers should understand their workers’ professional aspirations, and then implement training programs intended to help them sharpen new skills and reach their goals.
- Ensure workers feel supported. Companies should check-in with all employees on a regular basis to see if they feel supported by their job in terms of leading a healthy life – both at home and at work.
- Implement a written policy promoting employee well-being. Workers shouldn’t have to search through the fine print to see if their employer cares about them. Such policies should clearly articulate the company’s dedication to constructing a positive work environment first and foremost.
- Institute policies discouraging work-related technology use after hours. It’s easy to see how reading work emails at the dinner table can impede one’s well-being. Employers should let their workers know in no uncertain terms that it’s not just OK, it’s expected, to disconnect from professional problems by the end of the working day.
- Promote employee-support groups. Every employee is a unique individual, and as such, employers should enact policies supporting more company community via the formation of employee support and resource groups.
Don’t be shy about bringing up any of these policies during future recruitment processes or interviews. Employers have no problem excessively testing and scrutinizing potential job candidates, the least they can do for you is answer a few questions about how you’ll be treated once you’ve officially joined the team.
Find a position that will treat you right today with Ladders, the #1 source for $100K jobs.
Physical, psychological and occupational consequences of job burnout: A systematic review of prospective studies
Burnout in the Workforce: The Employee Perspective
Burn-out an “occupational phenomenon”: International Classification of Diseases
Relationship between Burnout, Cardiovascular Risk Factors, and Inflammatory Markers: A Protocol for Scoping Review