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Preventing Employee burnout

According to research conducted by organisational psychologists Dr Michael P. Leiter and Dr Christina Maslach earlier this year, if you constantly feel mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted because of on the job stress, you are experiencing ‘occupational burnout’ – a common phenomenon globally and in Pakistan – which saps your energy and passion for working. 

If you are a manager, factor in the following to prevent your employees from burning out:    

1 Lack of control. When people feel that they lack autonomy in the workplace, it leaves them feeling helpless. To prevent this, avoid micro managing and ensure that your employees have the resources and the independence to complete their assignments. Remember, your responsibility is not to monitor your subordinates’ actions, but rather to hire competent individuals who can be empowered to make decisions, resolve problems and deliver results. 

2 Conflicting values. When personal values clash with departmental or organisational norms, it results in conflicts that create a hostile work environment, preventing collaboration and damaging professional relationships. Ensure that your employees’ values are aligned with the organisational culture; this can be done by encouraging your employees to assume responsibility for setting and achieving their goals.

3 Inadequate rewards. When employees feel that their efforts and output are not recognised or adequately rewarded, their motivation levels drop and they start compromising on the quality and quantity of their work. By rewarding employees monetarily (through increments and bonuses), offering them benefits such as sponsored vacations, and instituting employee recognition programmes, you will ensure high retention rates and a committed workforce, willing to go the extra mile. 

4 Work overload. When your employees attempt to complete a long list of assignments during the day, are forced to multitask, given unrealistic deadlines and have their work interrupted in order to answer questions or provide updates, unnecessary anxiety is created. Give them a prioritised task list with flexible deadlines, when possible, and encourage them to take their annual vacation.

– Mehreen Ahmed                                                                                                   The writer is a project coordinator at a multinational company.    mehreen.ah@gmail.com. 

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on November 9, 2014.