The True Causes of Work Burnout

Are your employees at risk for burnout? It can happen without warning – and the signs aren’t always the same. While one employee may dramatically quit, another might lose track of their responsibilities. No matter the symptoms, the odds are this will affect their performance long-term.

It’s easy to assume that work burnout is just another typical form of stress, but some key differences are. Work burnout does not only cause physical and emotional exhaustion, but it can also cause your team to feel a reduced sense of accomplishment leading to a disconnect from their identity. Here are the most common causes of work burnout.

Drastic Changes Within the Organization


It’s true in most work settings – change is inevitable. But how change is handled makes all the difference in whether your talented team members feel like they’re transitioning to a new normal or having the rug pulled out from under them.

Even the best workers may feel like they’re not equipped for a major change in technology or routine, and their work can suffer as a result. This was especially common in 2020 when many companies abruptly shifted to remote work.

So how can companies make major changes easier to navigate? For one thing, know who your employees are and who’s likely to struggle more with some changes. This is especially important when it comes to technology, as older workers may feel like their entire job description has changed on a dime. The best way to avoid employee burnout is to offer support and training for your team before, during, and after major changes.

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A Poor Work Culture


One of the most important elements of preventing work burnout is ensuring that employees feel supported and validated in their day-to-day doings at the office. If the rest of the team is isolated and doesn’t interact or celebrate each other’s wins, it’s easy to become demoralized. This goes double if the supervisor tends to micromanage or if workers are forming gossipy cliques. If a person feels isolated, the greater the chances that they’ll be demoralized.

There are certain signs to look out for to identify a declining work environment, some more obvious than others. The most obvious being frequent employee turnover or staff consistently being rotated out or replaced. It should be expected for employees to stay in their role for a minimum of two years, if the average within a corporation is less than that length of time, then there’s a need to look into why employees are choosing to leave and addressing those reasons.

The best way to eliminate a culture of inclusion and miscommunication is to implement a system called UCaaS. What is UCaaS? It’s a system that integrates communications between in-office workers, remote workers, and outsourced workers through an all-in-one digital communications system. Based in the cloud, it’ll replace most of your office-based communications systems and make it easier for the team to find a support system no matter their working situation. Look into options for switching to UCaaS at

Non-Work Related Pressures or Stressors


Oftentimes, the causes of work burnout might have nothing to do with the actual job. It’s common for people to struggle with focusing on work when dealing with increased stress in other areas of their lives. These can be negative life events, like marital problems or financial difficulties, but they can also be positive life events. If an employee is dealing with a big move to a new house, a kid graduating college, or planning a wedding, the stress of planning can impact their job performance.

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Management might not have caused this, but they can help to alleviate it in the right work environment. If employees know their team leaders value them and they feel comfortable openly communicating concerns with them, they may approach them early to let them know their mind is elsewhere. Temporary adjustments like switching some work duties or taking some time off to resolve things can ensure the employee comes out of the burnout stronger than ever.

In order to properly navigate unforeseen circumstances that affect an employee’s performance and may result in burnout, employers should prepare to be flexible, no matter the situation. There should be measures in place that will ensure workflow will continue to function smoothly with the absence of an employee and that other team members are equipped to shoulder responsibilities in that event. Most importantly, work teams should have the leverage already in place to ensure every team member is never overloaded in their responsibilities or incapable of meeting expectations.

Non-Achievement Depression



It’s important to make sure your team members have something to work towards. Too often, people find themselves stuck in a rut, performing the same task day in and day out without any real hope for advancement or change. Even for dedicated workers, that monotony can start to wear on people and impact their performance.

How do you avoid this for your employees? The best way is for management to find out what their team wants out of a job and find a way to give it to them. This might be a path to promotion, or a desire for a bigger challenge. The answer will be different for every employee, but figuring out what motivates them will keep them and their job performance consistent. This can be achieved by simply checking in with employees individually and giving them the chance to express their own needs and wants from their position.

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Perhaps they’re not receiving the support they need to succeed or feel that they’re overburdened. In that case, empowering them to achieve more and feel fulfilling in their roles might be as straightforward as providing them with the resources they know they need that might not have been communicated or made available to them previously.

Rebound From Burnout

Employee burnout is a major threat to company success, but it can be countered. You can keep your team working at its peak by taking proactive steps. Not only will your company be better off, but your employees will pay you back in the long run with loyalty and exceptional performance.