5 ways to avoid career burnout
Along with a sharp fall in consumer and business confidence, the global recession has also brought an increase in rates of unemployment. With many workers worried about losing their jobs, and companies seeking to squeeze more productivity out of existing employees, those of us with jobs may be literally working our way into poor health. Even if we manage to avoid the physical effects of work-related stress, we may still be subject to “job burnout”: low motivation, depression and poor productivity.
While working 24 hours a day might be seen in some work environments as an ideal, achieving a good work-life balance is obviously imperative for both physical and mental health. Here are our top tips to help you manage stress and reduce long hours.
Use technology and telecommute. With the abundance of mobility tools now on the market, working remotely is easier than ever. Many major companies now offer telecommuting for office workers, which can help reduce the amount of time spent in the office or in a stressful commute.
Take advantage of work-life balance programmes. In some countries, companies offer work-life balance programmes, for example allowing employees to go home early to care for children or elderly relatives. While not all workers feel able to take advantage of these initiatives, it’s worth remembering that options like these are available for a reason – so if you feel uncomfortable, speak to your work team or to colleagues in a similar situation, and perhaps agree to participate in the programme as a group.
Reevaluate your work routine. One way to relieve stress and boredom – and possibly improve productivity – is to restructure your work routine. If you are the type of individual who keeps to a strict schedule, consider moving certain things around a bit. Most jobs involve a variety of tasks, so as long as you perform those tasks it most likely doesn’t matter in which order they are accomplished. For example, tackle your paperwork first thing in the morning, while your mind is fresh, and make client phone calls in the afternoon instead.
Cultivate a healthy lifestyle. Don’t underestimate the importance of eating right, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular physical activity. For centuries, people have relied on techniques like yoga, meditation and biofeedback to reduce the stress of daily life – explore these methods to see which ones work for you.
Know what resources are available. The dangers of overworking, or even having “burnout”, are more widely recognised than they used to be. Companies share the responsibility for their employees’ wellbeing; many are responding by helping them find a better work-life balance. If you feel you are at risk, there are hotlines and websites which provide advice and support for people who are severely overworked.