Making Sense Of The Burnout Debate

burnout

There are a few common debates flying around on LinkedIn at the moment, many of which you’ve probably seen. There’s the conversation around the four-day working week, the ‘how often would you like to work from home?’ polls, and the debate around burnout and whether or not this gets ‘glorified’ on social media channels, just like LinkedIn.

So whilst many people seem to have been sharing their opinions on burnout, I thought I’d share mine, and what better place to do it than on our Embryo blog?

What is burnout?

The term ‘burnout’ refers to a form of exhaustion, which is often caused by prolonged stress and constant demands. This stress is usually work-related and triggered by your workload. With a hefty workload, you’re more likely to work long hours, feel stressed, and then suffer from burnout.

Suffering from burnout can have you feeling low on energy, and it can also affect your immune system too – burnout can make you more susceptible to catching illnesses such as flu and the common cold. Ultimately, burnout can leave you feeling physical and mentally exhausted, triggering further health issues. For example, it can also lead to anxiety disordersdetachment and depression.

What’s the debate?

The debate isn’t directly around burnout – no one can deny that burnout exists, and is experienced by many people. The debate is more around working to the point of exhaustion, which then leads to burnout.

This debate is multifaceted. First and foremost, many people argue that working yourself to the point of exhaustion is often glorified, particularly on social media. This usually refers to people boasting via social media about how hard they are working. For example, it might be the founder of a start-up talking about how they’re working 17 hour days and missing out on their social life in order to make the business a success. The argument here is that this mentality is damaging, and working so hard shouldn’t be encouraged. As well as this, some argue that it can shame others into feeling like they aren’t working hard enough, thus making them do more, and causing themselves to burnout.

Another part of the debate targets employers. Many people argue that employers need to be more aware of burnout, and need to put measures in place to prevent their employees from suffering from mental exhaustion. As an example, Bumble recently announced that they were allowing employees to take a week off to recover from burnout.

The move has both been praised and criticised, with critics saying that burnout should be prevented in other ways and that it shouldn’t get to a stage where employees need a week off. Other critics also state that employers shouldn’t set these specific holidays and, instead, employees should feel comfortable enough to take time off work, for their mental health, whenever it’s needed.

Others then also believe that working too hard gets shamed in the wake of these burnout debates, arguing that if they’re happy to work 17 hour days and pour their heart and soul into work, then why should that be placed under the spotlight and scrutinised? They say that as long as it doesn’t affect their mental health, then working so hard shouldn’t be judged.

My thoughts…

With regards to offering support in the workplace for those that need to take a break and beat burnout, employers should do their bit to prevent staff from feeling exhausted. Whilst things like ‘burnout breaks’, as introduced by Bumble, appear to be a step in the right direction, I would argue that these set holidays may actually be an empty gesture. Instead, employers should ensure that they support their staff, making sure that they avoid the point of complete exhaustion whereby further health issues can be triggered.

Employers should focus on creating a workplace where employees can enjoy a work-life balance. They should also focus on creating an environment where they feel comfortable enough to speak up if they feel like their mental health is taking a hit and they need some additional support.

Ultimately, everybody has different ways of working. Some people can work excessively without suffering from exhaustion, and instead, they thrive off this effort and hard work. On the other hand, plenty of people would struggle to work long hours to meet excessive demands, including tight deadlines and a hefty workload. The most important thing is that each individual knows their limits and knows how they work best, without judging or shaming others for how they work.

Resources for beating burnout:

Whilst having a supportive team and an understanding employer can go a long way to avoid burnout completely, there are plenty of online resources that you can use to help you prevent and overcome burnout. Many of these include websites, guides and articles, like the following:

 

It’s important to remember that everyone works differently and that we must all find a balance between getting our work done and pulling our weight, and protecting our mental health/avoiding burnout. Here at Embryo, we’re all lucky to be surrounded by supportive team members that will always go above and beyond to lend a helping hand if it’s ever needed.

If you’re interested in working on a supportive team that’s keen to help you progress and develop your skills, why not check out our current positions? And if you’re looking to work with a team that can support your business and grow your online presence through carefully crafted marketing strategies, then we’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch with us today to find out more about our digital marketing services.