Burnout is a common concern among leaders throughout the technology space.
In the age of the fourth industrial revolution, where companies are growing more agile, and the demand for talent is higher than ever, “burnout” is a serious issue, particularly for high achievers who want to accomplish incredible things for their employers.
As crucial as passion is in any career, some employees can become so committed to their roles that they end up working exceedingly long hours, agreeing to heavy workloads and taking on more than they can handle.
It’s no wonder that in a 2017 study, researchers found that a fifth of top-performing business leaders in the UK has been affected by corporate burnout.
The Growing Issue of Career Burnout
Burnout is a chronic state of stress that often leads to poor professional performance, ill health, and feelings of disengagement. Many people who suffer from burnout:
- Cannot maintain high standards at work.
- Struggle with feelings of inadequacy and frustration.
- End up hopping between jobs to find a better alternative.
In the tech industry, burnout has become such a significant issue that sector leaders like Salesforce are even implementing wellness and mindfulness strategies into their events. At the 2018 Dreamforce Conference, Salesforce welcomed monks to the venue, to host meditation sessions and promote the importance of mental health in the office.
The Common Signs of Burnout
Usually, the people who are most likely to suffer from burnout are also the ones that might miss the signs and symptoms of an impending issue. These high-performers are so focused on their career that they forget to consider their health.
It’s often crucial for business leaders to think carefully about how they’re treating their tech stars, and place additional focus on watching for the signs of stress and overwhelm. Problems to watch for include:
- Forgetfulness or impaired concentration: If you’re struggling to stay productive, or you keep forgetting about important tasks, this may indicate that you’re on the road to burnout.
- Anxiety and stress: Do you always feel nervous about going to work? Do you dread every Monday morning?
- Ill health: Burnout can manifest physically, often through niggling coughs, colds, and even excessive fatigue. You may be taking more sick days now than you once did.
- Trouble sleeping: Have you begun to suffer from insomnia? Once you fall asleep, are your nights usually restless?
- Loss of appetite: You may begin to lose weight and skip meals. At first, your poor eating habits may occur because you’re “too busy” to stop working for lunch. Eventually, however, your appetite will start to suffer too.
Awareness is the Key to Fighting Burnout
In today’s fast-paced technology landscape, it’s difficult to prevent burnout entirely.
However, when employees and employers work together to tackle the issue through awareness, problems of overwhelm can begin to dwindle.
For instance, business leaders must develop a company culture that focuses on wellness and good personal care for employees. This may involve:
- Conducting regular reviews with high-performing employees that may be vulnerable to burnout. Look for people who work longer hours, take on the most projects, or have the highest level of ambition.
- Putting plans in place for managing burnout: Employers may refer team members to psychologists or help them to implement a wellness plan.
- Delegating work effectively: Business leaders must be careful not to load too much work on certain staff – no matter how capable they seem.
Of course, while your employer can assist with banishing burnout, it’s also up to you to look after yourself.
Audit Your Personal Wellness Strategy
If you’ve started to notice the symptoms of burnout, look at your lifestyle habits.
Are you eating the right foods at regular intervals, or do you survive on fast food and comforting treats? Do you sleep well, or are you always struggling to drift off at night? Are you still exercising as often today as you once did, or have you put your physical health on the back burner as you develop your career?
If, after auditing your day-to-day behaviour you realise that something isn’t right, consider speaking to your HR team or manager about EAP services, stress management training or mental health support. You can even consider asking to take on less work for a while. Just make sure that you angle the request so that it shows how you’ll be able to give more focus to the projects you do take on.
Organise Your Schedule and Know When to Say No
Often, when employees feel burned out, they spend a lot of time worrying about whether they’ve forgotten to do something or let a significant task slip through the cracks.
To keep your stress levels to a minimum, focus on getting organised. Think about how you can clear your head and put together a to-do list each day with the most important jobs at the top. This way, you can tick each challenge off as you go, and reward yourself for your productivity.
Remember, getting organised also means knowing your limits. Your manager may have gotten used to giving you the toughest tasks because they know you thrive in challenging situations.
You may frequently be asked to take part in mentoring and coaching on the side, as well as extra jobs outside of your job description. However, if you can’t handle more work and still perform well with your everyday workload, it’s important to let your employer know. Don’t commit to more than you can manage.
Determine When It’s Time for Something New
Finally, while symptoms of burnout don’t always mean it’s time to leave your job, you may need to consider this possibility eventually. If you can’t reduce your workload or the challenges in your chosen space are too much for you, it may be time to think about moving into a different position. Just be careful not to give up too quickly. Often, burnout can be solved with the right strategy.
About Resource On Demand
Resource On Demand is Europe’s first specialist Salesforce Recruitment Company, now also focusing on growth Cloud markets.
We assist innovative and disruptive organisations to grow their technology teams. Supporting companies to fill Cloud roles that span across Digital Marketing, Marketing Automation, Human Capital Management and the growing Salesforce.com suite of skills.
The team at Resource On Demand have access to an extensive database of key talent, registering over 8000 Cloud professionals each year.
To find out how we can support you call us on 01322 272 532