How to prevent burnout syndrome atworkplace

burnout stress disorder

The Burnout Syndrome , also known as Annihilation Syndrome, is an occupational disease recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

People who suffer from it have a prolonged state of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion caused by a stressful work environment. As a result, professionals with Burnout end up “burned out” from their work, experiencing strong job dissatisfaction.

Despite being recognized by the WHO, this syndrome does not appear in the main psychopathology diagnostic manuals. And even so, it is a reality that many employees suffer from this disorder that generates a loss of interest in their tasks, negatively affects their sense of responsibility and, in the worst case, leads to deep depression.

What is Burnout Syndrome?

There is a difference between the typical fatigue due to a long day at work, which occurs mostly in those periods when the volume of activity suffers a high peak, and being perpetually fatigued.

The Dr. Christina Maslach, creator of the Maslach Burnout Inventory, explains that burnout is “a psychopathology that emerges in response to chronic interpersonal stressors at work”.

Burnout goes beyond increased stress: it causes extreme fatigue in the sufferer, increases detachment from the organization, generates feelings of cynicism and lowers self-esteem.

Referring to the Sharmila Dissanaike’s analogy: “stress is the person who looks a little crazy when they turn up for an after-work get together at the end of the week, strung out and frazzled; the burned out person is the one who didn’t even bother to show up”.

Although this syndrome was commonly attributed to all those vocational professions with a strong burden of responsibility, such as doctors and teachers, actually no sector is free of the possibility of suffering from this disease.

What Causes Burnout?

In many cases, this lack of energy occurs due to poor work organization, high task demands, deadlines impossible to meet, poor relationships with colleagues and lack of communication. All this together causes employees to lose the meaning of their work.

However, there are other factors of a more personal nature that are related to self-demand and an overly exacerbated perfectionism, which causes feelings of dissatisfaction and “never being enough”.

If we want to combat burnout, it is necessary to understand what are the factors that underlie this disease: understand people, their processes, and the state of the organization in which they work. If we do not address these variables, we run the risk of burn out our teams:

  • Work-life Balance. Workshifts and work hours have biological and emotional influences on employees.
  • Job security and stability. The psychological safety is critical, especially in times of crisis.
  • Learning Development. The lack of learning activities for the correct development of work functions reduces motivation and negatively affects employee satisfaction.
  • Workplace climate. Organizations with complex structures and a toxic environment affect the degree of control of individuals, generating stress and irritability.
  • Interpersonal relationships. Lack of trust, poor teamwork or no communication can trigger levels of tension that seriously damage the health of teams.

In Team Insights you will find surveys with which you can explore all these factors in your employees, which will allow you to find warning signs (if any exist) and provide solutions before the problem goes ahead.

In general, people with these situations are more likely to suffer Burnout:

  • They cannot find the balance between their personal and professional life.
  • They cover too many tasks, or those they assume do not correspond to their functions.
  • They work directly for the public.
  • They feel that they have no responsibility for their work.
  • The work they do is monotonous.

How to spot if someone is suffering from Burnout

Burnout Syndrome is a process that goes from less to more and its symptoms are classified depending on the stage. We find different stages:

  • Mild. At this stage, those affected have nonspecific physical symptoms such as headache, back pain, fatigue, nausea, or muscle tension. On an emotional level, employees become ineffective and efficiency in their tasks begins to decline.
  • Moderate. In this phase, insomnia, attention deficit, concentration difficulties and depersonalization appear. People self-medicate regularly.
  • Severe. Absenteeism increases, phobia and aversion to tasks that were common until now appear, and those affected are cynical. Self-medication leads to the abuse of alcohol and drugs.
  • Extreme. At this point, people with this syndrome isolate themselves, suffer existential crises, chronic depressions and run the risk of committing autolysis.

As we can see, the symptoms can be both physical and psychic and very negatively affect motivation, self-esteem, and the integrity of the person. In relation to organizations, affected people lose trust in their work, in their managers, in their colleagues and they feel unproductive and ineffective.

How to prevent your team form burnout

The good news is that this condition has a slow evolution, giving managers the ability to detect it early and react proactively.

Preventing burnout syndrome must become a continuous process, so organizations must have effective tools capable of spotting critical signs. With Team Insights you will be able to detect the signs of burnout more easily and put a solution in the initial phases of the problem, addressing it early.

In addition to having an adequate system, there are other methodologies that are also interesting to include in a prevention program:

  • Giving information. Provide your employees with relevant information about Burnout Syndrome, its symptoms, and its consequences, making themselves the main sources of detection.
  • Improving workplace environment. Create a pleasant work environment and encourage collaboration between colleagues to avoiding individual overloads.
  • Workshops. Design and implement Team Building workshops, as well as social skills workshops for leadership management.
  • Designing new incorporation plans. Design good onboarding process for new hires.
  • Fostering company culture. And thus generate a feeling of belonging. 
  • Improving internal communication. Communication between the management team and the rest of the employees must be fluid and transparent.
  • Public recognition. Leaders must recognize a job well done by employees and the achievement of objectives.
  • Empathy. And recognize that workers are people with their own needs and limits that they should not exceed.


The Burnout Syndrome is included among the main mental health problems of employees, and is one of the main sources of absenteeism that affect the proper functioning of the organization.

A primary prevention consisting of knowing how to detect alarm signs in time improves the well – being of the teams, reinforces the physical and mental health of employees and avoids bad practices that can harm the company as a whole.

Team Insights is a pulse survey tool that allows you to detect these signs and show the results highlighting the main information. Also, you can see their evolution in real time, and help you make the best decisions that drives the operations of your entire business.

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