For many workers, December is less about the beauty of preparing for the holidays: in certain industries, instead of slowing down, acceleration is typical, which often causes significant additional workload for employees.
More people are exposed to the risk of burnout caused by excessive workload than we might think: this phenomenon is not noticeable, often the people involved do not perceive it incorrectly or at all, which is why it is extremely important to deal with it at the individual and employer level – not only during the rush before the holidays.
The “burnout” syndrome – or, as we often refer to it in everyday language in Hungary, burnout – is a much more common phenomenon than we might think at first. The danger is precisely that the symptoms do not appear suddenly and markedly, but slowly and gradually, because of this, the employee’s environment usually does not perceive it, but often not even the affected person himself. What can these symptoms be and how can they be treated if we notice their appearance?
Suspicious signs we can detect
Often, in addition to emotional exhaustion, burnout can also have physiological and, ultimately, health signs: the person concerned may experience long-lasting fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, or even digestion and sleep problems. Among its most characteristic signs, which can also be detected from the outside, are the person’s lack of interest and indifference to his work, becoming more and more emotionless, increasingly frequent absences from social events, stress and decreased performance.
The “boreout” syndrome has symptoms similar to burnout, but the cause is precisely when the person concerned does not feel that the challenge is sufficient during his work, or the amount of tasks is too few or the quality is not satisfactory for him. Because of this, the employee becomes bored and unmotivated, becomes less and less committed to his work, and his performance becomes highly fluctuating. Long-term existence of the phenomenon can even cause mental problems: it can lead to low self-esteem and anxiety.
There is an optimal level of stress, but if someone is permanently exposed to stress that is different from this optimal level, the result may be “burnout” in the case of permanent overstimulation, while “boreout” syndrome in the case of a permanent lack of stimulation. “As employees, we have the opportunity to compensate with our own resources, to keep stress at an ideal level: if, for example, we are experiencing a stressful period in our family life – for example, due to a divorce or death – then it is worth considering delaying the application for additional training or a new project. also a situation when we experience a period at work where we feel that the challenge offered by work is insufficient and we are bored. In such cases, it may be worthwhile to look for a hobby that compensates for this feeling of lack. However, it is important to pay attention to compensating for only a small or temporary fluctuation If we feel that the level of stimulation provided by our job is permanently and significantly different from what is optimal for us, then it is worth considering whether we are working in the right position,” suggests Lili Simon-Göröcs, HR Director of Profession.hu.
What can we do as stakeholders and professionals?
In the case of burnout, it is important to draw our limits: if we feel that we can no longer complete a certain amount of tasks within a healthy framework, let the person in charge know. In the field of life outside of work, the inclusion of sports in everyday life and a balanced diet can help. Significant results can be achieved in the treatment of burnout with the help of a psychologist or other mental health professional.
In order to prevent and treat “boreout”, it is important to have a variety of work tasks and the right amount of challenge. It is also important to create opportunities for personal development and career building, as well as open communication and feedback between employees and managers. HR professionals play a key role in recognizing and, where appropriate, dealing with these phenomena, as the employee often does not recognize the signs himself or simply does not dare to communicate them to the authorities.
“A company has many opportunities to keep the stress level of its employees at an ideal level. In larger companies, for example, where there are many jobs and a structured organizational structure, there are usually opportunities for advancement. In smaller companies and in the case of a flatter organizational structure, these opportunities are usually more limited, however by expanding the tasks performed in a given job role and the levels of responsibility, new perspectives can be opened up for employees here as well,” explains the expert.
It is important that professionals and managers are open to change as much as possible. If possible, divide the tasks in such a way that the roles are rotated either daily or weekly, so it is easier to avoid that one colleague feels that his task is excessively monotonous. It is worth encouraging employees to try themselves in new roles and learn new skills and abilities.