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Workplace Burnout: Causes, Effects, and Solutions

Jun 6, 2019

What is workplace burnout?

Physical exhaustion at the end of the work day. Cynicism and detachment from coworkers and customers. Extreme dissatisfaction with your work, and uncertainty about how to improve and progress in your career.

These are classic symptoms of workplace burnout, and more people are impacted than you think.

Job burnout is specific work-related chronic stress. It’s emotional and physical exhaustion that leads to job dissatisfaction and loss of personal happiness.

Burnout at your workplace usually creeps in subtly, over time, impacting workers in a way that they almost don’t notice.

Signs and symptoms include chronic fatigue, insomnia, physical symptoms like headaches and stomachaches, anger, isolation, irritability, depression, and more.

Causes of job burnout.

There are many things that can lead to job burnout, and it differs for every person. But there are common factors that can be identified as reasons behind burnout and stressors at your workplace

  • A feeling of little control. Not being able to make decisions about your schedule or workload can lead to job burnout.

  • Being unsure about your expectations. If you don’t know what your manager will expect of you, you’re likely going to be frustrated with your work.

  • A poor work culture. The attitude and morale of people around you will directly impact your satisfaction with your job. A boss who micromanages you, cliquey coworkers, and a lack of friends at your office can lead to job burnout.

  • A lack of work-life balance. If you’re giving a lot of your energy and time to work, your personal life can suffer, which can lead you to resent time at the office.

  • High engagement with your work. Being over-engaged with your job can lead you to feel a constant need to overwork and be involved with projects. This leads to stressful situations, and emotional exhaustion. While being highly engaged good thing, it can also lead to high job stress and burnout. For example, while millennials tend to value work/life balance, they may have an increased risk of developing burnout because they are highly driven and motivated in the workplace.

Effects of workplace burnout.

Workplace burnout isn’t just a small thing that people need to figure out how to get over. It is a difficult and impactful reality that can lead to many negative consequences in all areas of your life. People dealing with workplace burnout symptoms and job stress are often impacted in the following ways:

Physical health issues

  • Excessive stress
  • Fatigue
  • Increased likelihood for heart disease
  • Increased likelihood for high blood pressure
  • Increased likelihood for type 2 diabetes
  • Increased likelihood for respiratory issues
  • Increased likelihood for death before age 45

Mental health issues

  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Increased likelihood for mental health needs like medication or hospitalization

Personal consequences

  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Irresponsibility with finances
  • Anger towards family members
  • Inability to fulfill responsibilities

Professional consequences

  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Withdrawing from colleagues and friends
  • Inability to do job well
  • Drain on company resources


As you can see, the impact of job stress on all aspects of your life is extremely serious, and should not be taken lightly. The issues that stress in your job can create for you are strenuous and require attention to correct, before it’s too late.


Job burnout solutions.

Luckily, there are things you can do to help with job stress. The best way to deal with burnout, is to prevent it from happening in the first place. While this isn’t always possible, there are treatment options if you’re currently experiencing burnout as well.

Human resource managers should work to identify employees who may be suffering from burnout, as well as train employees and managers alike on how to recognize burnout. 


Similarly, organizational leadership methods and training can help their employees avoid burnout both by learning to recognize the signs of burnout and also by working with their employees to avoid it.


Increase your belief in yourself and your abilities. This is a first crucial step to preventing job stress. It’s important to identify what you need from your work, sometimes even before you decide to take a certain job. Knowing exactly what you need from your career will help you confidently make decisions about it.

Having creative outlets is also a great way to prevent yourself from getting too focused in on your job. These outlets allow you to find an escape from the pressures of your work. Similarly, self-care is crucial in preventing workplace burnout. If you’re taken care of, you are more likely to be able to cope with the stress of your career.

Educating yourself about business and its intersection with health can help you better identify and prevent workplace burnout.


If you’re experiencing stress at your job, there are a few things you can do to help treat the issue. Getting real with yourself is an important first step. Acknowledge what the issues are, and where they stem from. Some people find it’s best to get real in this way, with the help of a therapist. If you don’t want to find a professional, seek help and support wherever you can find it, whether it’s friends and family or coworkers.

It’s important to take regular breaks during your workday, no matter how inconvenient it may seem. These breaks will help you reset, re-evaluate your emotions, and more. Similarly, if you feel yourself start to get angry or too stressed, walk away and take a break to clear your head.

Workplace burnout is a common thing for many employees, but it doesn’t have to be. You can work to prevent, or treat workplace burnout and have a career that you find fulfilling and fun.


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