It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.

Business owners, HR departments and employers in general might take heed of the following advice:

 1. Understand the risk

Inexperienced managers assume someone can take on the work of a departing colleague and barely consider how it will affect his or her long-term health. Strategies to boost productivity should be aligned with human-resource initiatives to manage the transition

2. An open culture

Too many companies still have a culture that regards burnout as a sign of professional weakness. Talk about work/life balance is more myth than reality. Strong organisations have open, supportive cultures where staff feel confident to talk to their employer about professional or personal issues.

3. Seek professional advice

Some cases of career burnout might require specialist medical support. In severe cases, it's not something to take lightly or try to solve without professional help.

4. Train managers

In my experience, most managers are clueless about spotting the signs of burnout and helping affected team members. Efforts to encourage staff to have a better work/life balance are rudimentary at best. Even in small companies, managers should know where to turn for support if staff suffer persistent burnout.

5. Encourage staff to help themselves

Some staff may not realise they have burnout. They put feelings of excessive tiredness down to working too hard and assume a holiday will solve everything. Without going overboard, it is possible to help employees spot the signs of career burnout and provide information or counselling to help them address the problem.

6. Consider the symptoms, not just the cure

It's easy to blame companies for burnout. But in some cases, the cause might be staff who have career insecurity, cannot delegate, struggle with the job, or have health problems. Employers need to understand why some people feel burned out: is it because their job demands are unreasonable, or because they continually have to cover for lazy colleagues? How could work flows be reorganised to help them enjoy their work again?

7. A systematic approach

Good companies implement and monitor systems to promote staff wellbeing; for example, requiring staff to take their full annual leave each year; encouraging exercise and healthy eating; limiting emails after work hours; and discouraging weekend work. And they use performance reviews and organisation surveys to track employee-engagement levels.


Contact Thrive in Work for more details on how to investigate your business and how you can put mental health on the front page of your workplace culture, becoming a great place to work is not just a nice idea, it makes financial and legal sense.

It is interesting to see that is clearly outlines the connection between this aliment and occupation, there is a message here that we should all take note of – our employment can cause us harm if not managed. And the statistics and figures are certainly compelling with A study by the Health and Safety Executive found 526,000 UK workers suffer from burnout and that 12.5 million workdays were lost from 2016 to 2017 as a result. This phenomenon is seen in all OECD countries and employers need to take special attention. Bigger workloads, less job security, low wages growth, and high debt will cause more people to suffer extreme physical or mental exhaustion in the workplace.