Tired and unmotivated; can’t get out of bed and contemplating calling in sick day after day. Sound familiar? We all go through it one time or another. It’s called burnout and when it happens, it can sully a person’s good work reputation for being a rock star.
Today, many companies seem to place a rather large emphasis on overloading employees so they work long hours and hit career burnout quicker. These same companies also seem to look down on people for taking time off to unplug and recharge, quietly giving them the badge of "slacker.”
What we need to do:
- Talk to our manager and discuss how things are going. Don’t be afraid to openly discuss the possibility of changing jobs, departments or even companies.
- Actually take time off—it’s there, so use it! Relax, refresh, and most of all, unplug! Do not answer e-mail or calls on vacation and ensure there’s a back-up to help with this.
- Take care of mind and body. Exercise regularly and eat well.
It’s our responsibility to take accountability for our actions, including organizing our work-life balance.
What managers and companies need to do:
- Recognize that doing more with less isn’t necessarily a good thing. Make sure there are enough people to do the job well through workforce planning.
- Talk to everyone on the team frequently and find out how things are going.
- Don’t assume someone producing less or not coming to work as often is a problem or a slacker. Have a positive two-way conversation about what may be happening, including talking together about next steps. If a person is burned out and the work is no longer engaging, help them soul search. Maybe they leave for another team or maybe they leave the company. Either way, if a person’s manager positively helps them find the path they’re meant to go on, it won’t come back as bad press later.
Managers have responsibility to grow and take care of their team, whether they hired them or inherited them.
Work-life balance is imperative for all of us to stay sane in life. The best work is not done constantly working long hours with no time off. The best work is often done after we’ve taken a break and recharged. If our employers don’t give us what we need, it may be time to start thinking about finding one that does so we can continue to do our best work.