Six Signs of Employee Burnout

March 21, 2022

In labor and supply chain shortages, employee burnout has become increasingly common in businesses nationwide. Tasked with extra responsibilities and longer shifts, employees become tired and overwhelmed faster than ever before.

Many employees quit their jobs out of fear that this feeling will never go away. This leaves many small businesses and their remaining employees in a worse position.

Identifying the symptoms of employee burnout is critical to decreasing turnover and helping improve your employees’ conditions before it is too late.

While the signs of burnout may not look the same for each employee, there are some typical behaviors small business owners can watch out for to stop burnout in its tracks.

Here are six signs an employee is experiencing burnout:

1. Frequently calling in sick

When employees do not feel they can get adequate rest, both physical and mental, with their current schedules, they will call in sick to regain control over their lives. Employees who are also students, parents, or caregivers may be under even more stress. They may call in sick just so they have time to catch up on homework, household chores, or sleep. These employees do not want to impact the small business negatively they are working for; however, this may be their last resort to gain some much-needed free time.

2. Lack of excitement

Another critical sign of burnout in employees is an overall lack of excitement for their work. Employees who typically show up to work energized and ready to take on any challenge that comes their way will seem downbeat and pessimistic toward the workday. They may express doubt that they will excel at their work or feel unmotivated even to begin it. These employees will likely seem detached and present themselves as just making it through the day without any energy to spare.

3. Avoiding social situations

Employees experiencing burnout may avoid unnecessary social interactions to conserve energy. When employees are not mentally or physically rested, they do not feel they can be wholeheartedly present with others. Therefore, they may refrain from chatting with coworkers at lunch or skip the next happy hour or group outing. These employees are experiencing so much stress that they no longer feel like themselves. When an employee is refraining from attending social situations that they would usually be excited to take part in, they are trying to preserve energy that they still need to devote to their remaining tasks at work or home.

4. Frequently getting sick

Employees are undergoing prolonged stress, who cannot take the time they desperately need to rest, often suffer the consequences through their health. Stress can significantly degrade a person’s immune system. Stress makes the body hard to function properly. It cannot focus on fighting off germs, leaving them more susceptible to becoming sick. Furthermore, since many people experiencing burnout lack rest, their bodies are too tired and weak to fight off these illnesses. Therefore, while some employees dealing with burnout may call off sick to regain free time, others may call off sick because their health is suffering.

5. Decrease in work quality

When employees suffer from burnout, they are often struck with self-doubt as they do not believe that they can adequately perform their work. Burnout can lead them to put less energy and time into the work they are completing as they do not think their efforts will truly make a difference. Therefore, employers will likely notice a decrease in their employees’ work quality when feeling burnt out. This drop in quality may be subtle at first, but it will likely persist over time and may worsen as their burnout increases.

6. Sudden outbursts of emotion

When dealing with burnout, employees may experience unexpected outbursts of emotion. Since burnout develops from constant stress and lack of rest, employees will likely be on edge and experience less control over their feelings. They may become easily frustrated with their work or angry when a coworker offers them a simple critique or suggestion. Furthermore, they may find it harder to deal with minor inconveniences, last-minute changes in plans, or random assignments added to their workload. Since these individuals are enduring so much stress, they find it extra challenging to manage their other emotions without them coming to the surface.

Small business owners must know their employees well enough to recognize if they are exhibiting these symptoms of burnout.

If employers notice these shifts in their employees’ behaviors, they should be able to mitigate their burnout before it gets worse, and they feel they are left with no choice but to quit.

To decrease the burnout, their employees are experiencing, small business owners can work with them to create schedules that better suit their needs. Suppose an employee expresses a demand for a few days off. In that case, a small business owner can consider scheduling this time off. It’s better to keep communications open allowing employees scheduled time off instead of having to respond to unexpected call-offs.

Small business owners can also schedule breaks throughout the workday. They can dedicate time to giving their employees a few minutes to wind down and relax. During this time, employees should be encouraged to take part in a few moments of mindfulness or movement and stretching. Hopefully, incorporating these breaks into the workday will give employees a chance to step away from what they are working on. This allows some of their stress to dissipate in the process.

Burnout is becoming an all too common problem for employees in the post-pandemic world.

Struck with additional duties and more extended workdays, many are struggling to get through the workday. They are challenged with taking care of their responsibilities at home. Unable to get the adequate rest they need to function efficiently, many employees feel they are left with no choice but to walk away from their jobs altogether.

Small business owners must be vigilant during these times, keeping their eyes out for signs of burnout in their employees and checking in with them to see if there is anything they need to continue working at peak performance. Doing so will make a big difference in their employees’ lives and keep their companies running efficiently.

PaySmart is a payroll provider located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, supporting small businesses in the Central PA region. We are dedicated to helping small businesses take care of their payroll needs. To learn more information about how PaySmart may provide payroll solutions, please get in touch with us at 717-766-1777. Our New Client Concierge is waiting for you!