How to Spot Burnout and Mitigate It
Tax season is stressful and oftentimes can lead to employee burnout. Staff members who start to feel this way are likely to quit, and oftentimes they don’t wait for the end of tax season to do so.
According to a survey by Gallup, a global analytics firm, the top 5 causes of burnout are:
- Unfair treatment at work
- Having an unmanageable workload
- A lack of role clarity
- Lack of communication and support
- Unreasonable time pressure
Gallup also found that Employees who say they often or always experience burnout at work are:
- 63% more likely to take a sick day
- Half as likely to discuss how to approach performance goals with their manager
- 23% more likely to visit the emergency room
- 2.6 times as likely to leave their current employer
- 13% less confident in their performance
Get ahead of staff turnover by knowing the signs of burnout and preventing or treating it.
What does burnout look like?
It’s important to note that stress and burnout are not the same, stress is a normal part of everyday life while burnout can lead to feeling empty and unmotivated. Burnout looks different for everyone, but some common signs include:
Irritability and Cynicism
This will be more noticeable in employees who typically get along with everyone. When they start feeling burnt out, you might notice that they are clashing with team members more often. You might also notice that they tend to show contempt to those who are feeling more positive. People showing signs of irritability and cynicism feel like every day is a bad day and everyone else is in the wrong.
As one of the more physical signs of burnout, signs of illness can be as small as the sniffles, and as serious as taking frequent sick days. If you notice a staff member is falling ill more frequently, burnout could be the cause.
Another visible sign that an employee might be experiencing burnout is exhaustion. Burnout can lead to a lack of sleep, so your team members might start becoming visibly tired (i.e. frequent yawning, dark under-eye circles, excessive caffeine intake, verbal complaints of not getting enough sleep, etc.)
This indicator of burnout is one of the hardest to spot, especially since burnout and depression don’t always go hand in hand, and signs of depression can oftentimes go unnoticed. Some subtle symptoms to look out for include weight gain/loss, lack of concentration, or even a combination of the other signs mentioned above.
The Key to Preventing and Treating Burnout
When it comes to burnout, it could look like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The good news is that you can get your staff feeling better in no time. Many of them might not even realize they are burnt out and will appreciate you stepping in and noting your observation.
The best way to mitigate burnout? By talking to your employees. Schedule 1:1 time with each staff member and ask how they are feeling about their workload and upcoming deadlines. Ask if they need help in any way whether it be professionally or emotionally. Potentially reevaluate some of their goals with them and make them realistic and attainable. Frequent and clear communication is a common solution to many problems, and sometimes people just need to talk things out. This solution might seem too good to be true, but sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one.
Tax Season is stressful for everyone, but it doesn’t have to reach the point of no return. By identifying early signs of burnout, and communicating frequently with your staff, you should be able to tackle tax season with as little stress as possible!