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Study finds high potential for burnout in the workplace

Dr. Benatti says burnout is characterized by energy depletion, increased mental distance from one's job, and reduced professional efficacy. <br><br>
Dr. Benatti says burnout is characterized by energy depletion, increased mental distance from one's job, and reduced professional efficacy.

Fortune magazine recently reported about 82% of employees are at risk of experiencing burnout in 2024.

About 43% of that group cited financial strain as a contributing factor, 40% cited exhaustion, and 37% said they were struggling with an excessive workload.

KERA’s Sam Baker talks about burnout in the workplace with Dr. Natasha Benatti, a psychologist with Parkland Health.

What, exactly, is burnout?

Burnout, coined in 1974, refers to a state of complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion, and it's characterized by three different dimensions:

  • A feeling of energy depletion,

  • Increased mental distance from one's job or a feeling of negativism.
  • And a reduction in professional efficacy. Not being able to do your job as efficiently as you used to before, and just no longer caring about the things that might be important or experiencing an increased sense of hopelessness.
  • Would those count as signs of burnout approaching? Or is there something else you should look for?

    We could look at feeling tired or drained. Most of the time that's a sign. Feeling helpless or trapped and or defeated. Feeling alone or isolated or detached from the world around you may also be a sign. Having a cynical or negative outlook on the world, or your job specifically, and then feeling constantly overwhelmed.

    So what should you do to get through burnout when it happens?

    We want to look at our options, right?

    We want to be communicative and talk to our managers, and our bosses about our concerns and see if there are ways to work together to make changes to solve these types of problems.

    Setting realistic goals of what needs to get done might also be helpful and finding out what can wait, right? We don't have to get through our wait list every single day.

    And if things at work are not likely to change, we might want to take a better, bigger step and maybe find something that might be a better fit. But having that conversation first is pivotal.

    In dealing with burnout, it's not just an employee’s problem. This is something employers need to work with and help deal with as well.

    Absolutely. It is not an employee's problem. They're feeling burnt out. Much of it relates to the demands or inadequate resources that employees face on the job today. And so talking to your employees and making sure they have the resources that they need to do their job adequately and feel supported is important.

    So should employers, when they create jobs, look at them in terms of trying to manage them with mental health in mind?

    You know, I know that sometimes that can't be ideal. And or we don't have the resources to do that. But we should always think about mental health and consider that when creating jobs and expectations. We all have mental health just as we all have physical health. And that needs to be considered when we're doing a job.

    Anything you'd like to add before we conclude?

    Just add in talking to your manager about burnout, I think it's important to have these open dialogs about what's going on for you and asking for what you need.

    Sometimes that can be a scary thing, but until we ask, we don't know, right? And so, we want to be open about the fact that we're feeling these effects of burnout. In our one-to-one communications with our managers and our bosses and highlighting the symptoms that we've noticed both mental and physical, as well as some things that you might identify as needed for overcoming what is going on for you in terms of this burnout state. So, sharing these insights and these factors can be helpful to allow your employer to help you.


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    Copyright 2024 KERA

    Sam Baker