Motivated employees are creative, hardworking and productive, and every business can benefit from having them on the payroll. Conversely, unmotivated, burned-out workers no longer work to their fullest capacity. And, unfortunately, they can bring their co-workers down with them. So, what can an employer do? If you can recognize the signs of an employee on the verge of burnout — or one who’s already burned out — you can help to turn this mindset around.

Five key signs of job burnout

Employees who have had enough are fairly easy to spot. You can look for these five indicators:

  1. Putting in the bare minimum. You may notice these employees showing up late and leaving early, or right on time.
  2. Mood shifts. A burned-out employee may suddenly no longer get along with their co-workers. They may seem moody, irritable or distant. Or, they may become excessively chatty and spend more time socializing than working.
  3. Productivity decrease. If you notice an employee producing far less work than before, he or she may simply be burning out. This is especially noticeable in a worker who used to be highly productive.
  4. More mistakes. A burned-out employee may just not have the attention to detail they once had, or may not care as much about work quality. As a result, you may notice an increase in errors.
  5. Excessive time off. When an employee is burned out, they may begin taking extra sick or vacation time.

What can cause employees to become burned out (and what you can do)?

The following are common causes of job burnout. If you can identify any of the following, you can also take steps to rectify them and improve the work environment for your burned-out employees.

  • Confusion about job expectations. Your employees need to know what constitutes a job well done and what is expected of them. If job roles, responsibilities or expectations are unclear, it can lead to job dissatisfaction and burnout. To help prevent this, schedule regular meetings with your staff to outline their job goals, review their performance and let them know what they are doing well, and what they can improve upon.
  • Unmanageable work load. If recent company changes have required your workers to assume a larger work load, they may begin to buckle under the pressure. You can help them by reviewing everyone’s assignments to make sure work is being evenly distributed. You can also bring on temporary workers to handle some of the responsibilities until you can hire more full-time workers to supplement your staff.
  • Employee conflicts. Maybe you have employees who aren’t getting along and it’s stressing some of your staff members out. If this is the case, you as a manager needs to identify the affected parties and have discussions with them one-on-one to determine what is going on and how you may be able to fix it. To avoid any “he-said/she-said” and remain objective, it may help to work with your human resources department.
  • Lack of work-life balance. Employees have obligations to family and friends outside of work that can become neglected through a lack of work-life balance. This can be due to an increased workload and longer work hours, or a need for flexible scheduling. You can provide for a healthy work/life balance by supplementing your staff or by allowing flexibility, such as working from home, or shifts in scheduling.
  • Add temporary staff. Supplementing your workforce with temporary employees is a great way to relive stress, improve productivity, and alleviate many of the stressors that can cause burnout on your team.

In need of staff supplementation?

If you need temporary, temp-to-hire or direct hire candidates, contact McGrath Systems. We work with our clients for staff supplementation in engineering, IT, Web development, skilled trades, clerical and more, with a special focus on licensed insurance agents. To learn more, contact one of our experienced recruiters.


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