Burnout syndrome is an occupational disease that requires effective preventative measures to protect employees
Various scenarios occur within the workplace that can present different risks for employees. While some are easy to detect, there are others, such as psychosocial risks, which are less visible and harder to detect.
Psychosocial risks are those which stem from the design, organisation and direction of work and the social environment within a company.
These psychosocial risks are linked to certain damages or illnesses. One of the most common is the so-called Burnout syndrome.
Let’s examine Burnout syndrome in more detail and learn how prevention is the only way to reduce its occurrence.
Burnout syndrome: interesting facts
Burnout syndrome, or occupational burnout, is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress at work.
It is a syndrome that affects millions of workers around the world and is included by the World Health Organisation in its list of diseases associated with employment or unemployment.
This data highlights the great importance of taking this occupational disease seriously and implementing measures to protect employees.
Characteristics of Burnout Syndrome
As mentioned previously, Burnout occurs when an employee feels overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted and unable to meet the constant demands placed upon them, managing many tasks, dealing with constantly changing priorities or excess pressure.
As the stress continues, the employee begins to lose interest and motivation for their work. Such exhaustion reduces productivity and depletes energy, leaving the employee feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful.
In the most serious cases, it can culminate in depressive episodes or general depression, affecting not just work life, but personal life as well.
Phases of Burnout
Various studies have determined 4 phases to Burnout syndrome:
- Enthusiasm. At the beginning of a work activity, everything is new and exciting.
- Stagnation. The state of enthusiasm decreases and the reality of the routine and work environment begins to be apparent.
- Frustration. The stagnation phase generates frustration, disappointment and demoralisation.
- Apathy. The symptoms of the previous phase, in the long term, trigger much more complex health issues, such as reduced self-esteem and loss of confidence.
The most curious thing is that most employees have experienced some of these phases of Burnout at some point in their professional careers, even up until the final phase.
Which people are more prone to Burnout?
Everyone is exposed to Burnout. It is possible that experience is a determining factor in minimising the most serious phases of Burnout syndrome.
Perhaps the field of work is a more representative indicator, as a higher percentage of cases of Burnout are observed in teachers, healthcare professionals, law enforcement agencies and customer service workers.
Can Burnout be prevented?
As an occupational disease and a psychosocial risk that is present in a company, it is the employer’s obligation to take the necessary preventive measures to control and minimise Burnout.
Effective and professional training in occupational health and safety is essential to minimise the scenarios where Burnout syndrome can occur. Training is just as important for those who set the tasks as it is for those who perform them, as mutual understanding and empathy make the work as effective and efficient as possible.
Today, through the use of a LMS for occupational health and safety, or any other means of training, it is possible to train employees easily and quickly on this important concept.
In addition, it is possible to develop a prevention strategy for Burnout syndrome in companies, agreeing on important preventive measures such as:
- Balance of functions at work.
- Promotion of communication and collaboration.
- Ensure appropriate training of employees for their roles.
- Flexible measures to facilitate work.
- Having the right tools available.
In short, it is essential to keep Burnout in mind and to be aware of its symptoms and characteristics in order to work efficiently and effectively in the company. Burnout only brings demotivation, reduced performance and poor results.
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