Article: How burnout can lead to outbursts at work

Life @ Work

How burnout can lead to outbursts at work

Just a bad day? That meltdown over work could be a sign of burnout, career expert Keith Spencer advises.
How burnout can lead to outbursts at work

Employees are experiencing burnout due to excessive meetings, limited autonomy, unclear job roles, irrelevant job responsibilities, and toxic work environments. This high stress is leading to frequent emotional outbursts at work, a study by MyPerfectResume found.

Almost 9 in 10 employees (87%) reported having at least one outburst in the past six months, and over half of these individuals had multiple instances. Common outbursts include yelling at colleagues, leaving work early, threatening to quit, cursing, and storming out of meetings.

Notably, most employees (90%) regret these outbursts, indicating a pervasive issue with how workplaces are currently managed.

People Matters spoke to career expert Keith Spencer to shed light on the vicious cycle of burnout and outbursts at work:

Were there any unexpected findings in the survey results regarding workplace burnout?

We were very surprised to see how high the burnout rates were. We knew, of course, that it’s a serious issue, but the sheer number of people affected by it was startling. In addition to 88% of workers experiencing symptoms of burnout, we uncovered two other major issues – 87% of respondents said they have had an outburst at work and 90% of the group said they have “rage applied” for jobs. These three factors are not only concerning in nature, but impacting a large portion of the workforce.

Combined, these behaviours can have very negative effects on a company and its employees. For one, an outburst from a burned-out employee impacts everyone around them and runs the risk of creating a toxic work environment. That, in turn, will affect retention and, eventually, a company’s ability to attract top talent. When you put all of these pieces together, our study should serve as a warning for employers who aren’t taking burnout seriously.

In what ways do workplace outbursts, such as yelling at colleagues or threatening to quit, affect overall workplace dynamics and productivity?

Workplace outbursts, like yelling at colleagues or threatening to quit, undermine trust and respect among coworkers, creating a negative atmosphere that hinders collaboration and productivity. These behaviours often signal deeper issues, such as poor communication or leadership, fostering employee discomfort and distraction. Consequently, workflow is disrupted, and energy is diverted from important tasks to focus on dealing with the outburst and its aftermath. Addressing these behaviours is vital for maintaining a positive work environment conducive to productivity and employee well-being.

How do employers typically respond to instances of burnout and workplace outbursts, based on the survey findings?

The data shows that employers aren’t responding to this crisis quickly or aggressively enough. This is an urgent situation, and employers must treat it as such before there are serious workplace impacts.

Some effective strategies for fostering a healthier workforce include endorsing work-life balance through flexible hours, encouraging adequate time off, having clear job descriptions and work expectations for every role, and enhancing wellness support offerings. Ignoring widespread burnout is not a viable option.

What recommendations do you offer for employers to mitigate burnout and improve employee well-being based on these findings?

The prioritisation of work-life balance on the employer side is critical. It’s important for managers to initiate a conversation with their teams to clarify expectations and stick to them. That means if an employee is expected to work 9-5, Monday through Friday, the rest of their time is off limits. Employers should also be encouraging employees to take their vacation days to recharge.

It shouldn’t just be lip service either. The best way for leaders to encourage healthy behaviours is to lead by example. Practice what you preach and show your employees that it’s okay to step away and recharge.

How do the findings of this survey align with broader discussions and initiatives surrounding mental health in the workplace?

The pandemic spotlighted the burnout epidemic. Unfortunately, our survey shows that the problem wasn’t contained to that period. I think this will be an ongoing discussion about how we work, how mental health relates to work, and, hopefully, how we build more supportive environments for workers.

Workers need to prioritise self-care. What that looks like will be slightly different for every person, but prioritising work-life balance is critical. As we learned during the pandemic, it’s important to draw lines around working hours and personal time and to do your best not to blur those lines. It’s hard, especially when you work from home, and the lines between work life and real life are blurred, but time away from work is critical to recharge.

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Topics: Life @ Work, #Wellbeing

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