Stay out too long in the sun and you’ll get burned. Stay too long in a stressful or unfulfilling job and you’ll get burned out. Is it a problem in your office?
It very well may be.
The odds of burnout are higher than ever, as many people have been asked to do more with less for several years now.
Check out the 13 signs identified by the Mayo Clinic as warnings there’s job burnout afoot:
- Being more cynical, critical and sarcastic at work.
- Loss of the ability to experience joy.
- Difficulty getting into work and getting started once there.
- Increasingly irritable and less patient with co-workers, customers or clients.
- Feeling like there are insurmountable barriers at work.
- Lacking the energy to be consistently productive.
- No longer feeling satisfaction from your achievements.
- Having a hard time laughing at oneself.
- Co-workers constantly asking “Are you OK?”
- Feeling disillusioned about the job.
- Self-medicating — using food, drugs or alcohol — to feel better or to simply not feel.
- Changing sleep habits or appetite.
- Troubled by unexplained headaches, neck pain or lower back pain.
The more signs you recognize, in yourself or other Finance staffers, the more likely there’s a problem.
So what can you do about it? Take a look at the causes of burnout:
- Lack of control. When people feel they have no control over what they do: which accounts they work, when payment approvals will come in, etc., stress levels rise. Some things may never be in their control, so try to put something in it, such as where they want to cross train, what day to set open office hours, etc.
- Unclear job expectations. If Marnie doesn’t know whether or not she has the power to approve that expense report, she’ll start to feel worn down. You don’t have to give her the power necessarily – just clarify the uncertainty one way or the other.
- Poor job fit. Perhaps Todd just isn’t interested in processing payroll, even if he’s good at it. If the person’s a great performer it’s probably worth seeing if another area is a better fit. Better to keep him somewhere in your department (or company) than to have that individual burn out and leave all together.
- Extremes of activity. Sometimes a frantic pace is unavoidable, especially in Finance. But if the frenzy of month-end is starting to last all month long, it may be time to see if there’s a way to slow the pace a bit now and then so staffers can catch their breath.
Addressing these issues is your best chance at righting the ship before things get really bad, for the burned out person and the rest of the team.