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  • Sophie Forrest

Workplace burnout

More than 10 million workers in the UK have called in sick as a result of feeling burnt out, a study has suggested.

The research by MetLife UK means burnout could be costing UK businesses more than £700m a year, as more than two in five employees (44%) admitted to calling in sick because of feeling exhausted, stressed, depressed, overwhelmed and unmotivated, the health insurance and employee benefits provider has warned.

Burn out can also result in employees becoming exhausted, unmotivated, and ineffective, and this can have a domino effect throughout the company culture, ethos, and workforce.

As employees deal with work demands, home life responsibilities, and perhaps financial pressures it may feel overwhelming.

Burnout is not something that necessarily fixes itself, so it’s essential for employers to spot the signs and take active steps in addressing the underlying problems before they escalate.

You can take these actions to help tackle burnout in your workforce:

1. Identify the stress factors

Look for changes in employee behaviours, attitude and working patterns. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on workloads and deadlines to make sure they are manageable and take note when employees ask for help with their work.

2. Encourage open and honest conversations

Creating a safe space and workplace culture that encourages regular conversations with employees, and with employees amongst themselves, can help create a sense of belonging and strong social purpose. A hot drink and chat may also help ease some of the tensions your employees feel from day to day.

3. Make work life balance a priority

For employees that have had significant workloads over an extended period, it may be worth considering giving them back some time with leave or by working fewer hours to make up the balance.

4. Review your HR policy

Dedicate some time to reviewing the HR policies in place that help employees better manage the multiple demands on their time. This can help you manage workloads to a sustainable level and give your employees enough time to relax and recuperate after a busy, stressful day at work.

5. Make support available

Making sure the resources are available and signposting them regularly may help taper feelings of burnout.

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