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What Is Employee Burnout?

Everything you need to know about what is employee burnout!

What is Employee burnout?

Employee burnout is a significant workplace issue characterised by physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion resulting from chronic work-related stress. It is a response to prolonged and overwhelming work demands, which can have detrimental effects on an individual's well-being, job performance, and organisational productivity. Jake Biggs explores the causes and impacts of employee burnout, as well as strategies to mitigate its effects.

I. Causes of Employee Burnout:

Workload and Job Demands:

Excessive workload, long working hours, and unrealistic deadlines can lead to chronic stress and exhaustion.

High job demands, lack of control, and autonomy can contribute to feelings of helplessness and a loss of motivation.

Lack of Control and Autonomy:

Employees who have limited decision-making authority or feel micromanaged may experience a reduced sense of control, leading to burnout.

Work-Life Imbalance:

Inability to achieve a balance between work and personal life due to long hours, extensive travel, or excessive work commitments can lead to burnout.

Organisational Culture:

Toxic work environments characterised by high levels of competition, lack of support, and inadequate recognition can contribute to burnout.

Job Insecurity:

Fear of job loss, layoffs, or unstable employment conditions can create anxiety and stress that contribute to burnout.

II. Impacts of Employee Burnout:

Physical Health Effects:

Burnout can manifest in physical symptoms such as chronic fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and increased susceptibility to illnesses.

Mental Health Consequences:

Burnout is associated with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and increased risk of substance abuse.

Reduced Job Performance:

Burnout can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates, ultimately affecting organisational performance.

Interpersonal Problems:

Burnout can strain relationships with colleagues and supervisors, leading to conflicts and a decline in teamwork and cooperation.

Diminished Job Satisfaction:

Burnout diminishes overall job satisfaction, as employees feel exhausted, undervalued, and detached from their work.

III. Mitigation Strategies:

Workload Management:

Employers should regularly assess and adjust workloads to ensure they are reasonable and achievable.

Encourage breaks, time off, and vacation to help employees recharge and prevent chronic stress.

Supportive Work Environment:

Foster a positive work culture by promoting open communication, collaboration, and providing resources for employee well-being.

Encourage work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements and promoting self-care practices.

Employee Empowerment:

Provide opportunities for employees to have autonomy, control, and decision-making authority in their work.

Encourage skill development and career growth to increase employee motivation and engagement.

Recognition and Appreciation:

Regularly acknowledge and appreciate employee efforts and achievements to enhance job satisfaction and reduce burnout.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs):

Offer confidential counselling services, mental health support, and resources to help employees manage stress and prevent burnout.

Employee burnout is a pervasive issue affecting both employees and organisations. By understanding its causes, recognising its impacts, and implementing effective mitigation strategies, employers can create a healthier work environment that promotes employee well-being, engagement, and organisational success.

Combating burnout requires a comprehensive approach that addresses workload, autonomy, work-life balance, and support systems, ultimately fostering a positive and sustainable work culture.


Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 397-422.

Bianchi, R., Schonfeld, I. S., & Laurent, E. (2015). Burnout-depression overlap: A review. Clinical Psychology Review, 36, 28-41.

Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2017). Job demands-resources theory: Taking stock and looking forward. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 22(3), 273-285.

Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., Nachreiner, F., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2001). The job demands-resources model of burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(3), 499-512.

World Health Organisation. (2019). Burn-out an "occupational phenomenon": International Classification of Diseases. Retrieved from

What is employee burnout?

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