When an employee begins to suffer from burnout, it can lead employees down a dangerous path reducing productivity, affecting mood, increasing sick time, financial worry and fear of unemployment.
Shay, a program coordinator for a non-profit organization I met with recently coordinates events, manages a museum and writes grant proposals. She works under a new manager that makes unreasonable demands, communicates poorly, fails to plan in advance and responds to Shay’s requests at the last minute, increasing time pressure on important events and causing her additional stress.
While off work on the advice of her doctor, her manager sends her a request to complete a grant proposal, which only adds to Shay’s distress. She dreads returning to work, but is not in a financial position to risk leaving.
Poor Financial Wellbeing Can Also Cause Burnout
When people are overworked the likelihood of mental health problems rise. But few people are in a financial position to address workload issues with their manager or leave their job. As a result they feel trapped and their mental health declines further.
They may not have the skills, or feel their manager is approachable about the problem. They may also need help financially but can’t afford to pay for financial help. Continuing work under these circumstances is bad for both employers as well as employees. Employers risk losing money due to lost productivity, increased absenteeism and long-term disability. Employees themselves feel increasingly disconnected and disengaged, and as a result decline mentally and emotionally, which affects their productivity, performance and confidence.
In a recent survey 86% of respondents who have had a mental illness say that their financial situation had made their mental health problems worse. And 72% of respondents say that mental health problems impacted their financial decisions.
The combination of financial problems, mental illness, and the stigma of both can lead to a negative cycle that makes it extremely difficult for people to problem solve or seek help.
Are You Suffering From Stress or Burnout?
Are you experiencing signs of stress or are you on the verge of burnout?
The table below describes the differences between the two.
Characterized by over-engagement
Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are overreactive
Emotions are blunted
Produces urgency and hyperactivity
Produced helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of energy
Loss of motivation, ideals and hope
Leads to anxiety disorders
Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is physical
Primary damage is emotional
May kill you prematurely
Make life seem not worth living
Financial wellbeing plays an important role in mental health. It provides you with a sense of security and confidence in your ability to make decisions and address problems in your life. It allows you to feel in control of your day-to-day finances so you can make necessary choices.
Reduce Workplace Burnout
- Watch for subtle signs of stress and burnout in yourself and your co-workers
- Take action to reduce stressors or seek help from others to get to the root of the problem
- Decide if it’s safe to talk to your manager or supervisor about your workload and set new workplace boundaries
- When you're off the clock, take that time to focus on yourself, rest, recharge, and do things you enjoy
This week, evaluate your wellbeing. What factors may be causing fatigue or burnout. Set aside time to address problems at work you may be avoiding. Assess also your financial situation. Who can help you problem solve, set goals or help?
Talk to someone who can help you address challenges or plan for change.
If you are a manager or HR leader, ensure opportunities for employees to talk about problems without the fear or repercussions. Provide employees with resources at work, and outside of work that reduce stress and prevent burnout.
Take good care,
Your wellbeing matters. Take five minutes to learn if you are suffering, surviving or thriving in five essential areas of life and what you can do to improve your wellbeing. Try it now.
About the Author:
Derrick McEachern is a Registered Counselling Therapist (RCT) in Nova Scotia, and a Canadian Certified Counsellor. He specializes in providing mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in the areas of addiction, healthy relationships, grief and loss, and career and life transitions. He offers workshops and webinars and consults with businesses on ways to improve employee wellbeing and mental health.