a man getting overwhelmed by numerous tasks and deliverables

Workplace Burnout: Detecting the Early Warning Signs — and Managing It Toward Recovery

It’s unusual that a day goes by that employee burnout doesn’t come up in personal conversations or even in the latest news. Burnout is not a new idea; in fact, many people are feeling mentally and physically weary with their professions due to various factors. Recently, these included the changed work environments, the stresses brought by work-from-home setup, and the lingering effects of the just-concluded pandemic.

Whatever the case, burnout remains a real issue affecting countless workers worldwide. And while it reached a burning crescendo during the peak of COVID-19, employee burnout had already existed prior to the pandemic — and has since outlasted it.

What is Employee Burnout?

Employee burnout is characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion in the workplace. This occurs when employees feel overwhelmed by the amount of stress and pressure they are subjected to at work. It is a syndrome affecting employees’ mental health and physical wellbeing.

Employees that are burnt out are frequently anxious about their jobs. They may believe they are not doing anything or that they are uninterested in what they do.

Signs of Burnout

There are several indicators that you may be suffering from burnout. These include the following.

Difficulty in Concentrating

Employees that are burnt out frequently describe feeling weary, pressured, and overwhelmed. These emotions make it difficult to concentrate or focus at work.

Increased Irritability

Employees often become irritated when they are overburdened or distressed. Some employees will, in turn, blame their bad performance on others.

Increased Stress Levels Leading to Sickness

Another indicator of burnout in the workplace is increased stress, which leads to anxiety. When your stress level is high, it may eventually cause unexplained headaches, stomach or intestinal difficulties, as well as other physical symptoms.

Decreased Motivation

Burned-out employees do not feel motivated to accomplish tasks. They may fail to arrive at work on time or complete responsibilities on time. They may also avoid attending meetings or taking breaks.

Poor Decision Making

Overwhelmed employees make poor decisions because they don’t have time to think about what they’re doing, they don’t know how to address a problem, or they lack confidence in themselves. They simply react to whatever comes up next, or they become trapped in analytical paralysis, which is a kind of procrastination.

Reduced Productivity

Finally, employee burnout discourages workers to perform at their best, which leads to poor performance. Employees become less productive and innovative. They are more prone to quitting their jobs because they become disengaged.

a female professional suffering from employee burnout

Stages of Burnout

Burnout doesn’t happen overnight. Ideas, feelings, and actions progress in stages. The early stages may not seem like much, but they might gradually build to a habitual phase that makes it difficult to do your job obligations.

Honeymoon Phase

This stage, like the honeymoon period of a marriage, is filled with enthusiasm and optimism. It is usual to feel some semblance of satisfaction while starting a new job or taking on a new activity, which leads to times of productivity and a willingness to tap into your creative side.

Onset of Stress

The honeymoon period eventually wears off, and you begin to feel stressed. Not every second of your day is stressful, yet sometimes it takes over. You may begin to lose attention more easily or be less productive when completing activities. Physical tiredness might set in, making it difficult to sleep or enjoy activities outside of work.

Chronic Stress

You will reach a point where the stress becomes chronic. Stress is more likely to affect your work as the pressure grows. Apathy, not completing work on time, being late for work, or procrastinating throughout duties are some examples. You might disconnect socially from typical work-related talks. Sometimes, you may grow frustrated and lash out at coworkers. These emotions might sometimes follow you home and affect your interactions with friends and family.


This is the stage at which you have reached your limit and can no longer function normally. Workplace problems consume you to the point of obsession. You may also feel numb and have intense self-doubt. Physical symptoms will worsen, resulting in chronic headaches or digestive issues. Friends and family members may observe behavioral changes as well.

Habitual Burnout

Burnout can become a part of your daily life if left untreated, and it can eventually lead to anxiety or despair. You may also develop chronic mental and physical fatigue, which stops you from working. If you continue on this path, your employment may be endangered.

Reasons Behind Employee Burnout

What factors contribute to workplace burnout? Is it work-related stress or something else? Workplace burnout is a widespread concern that affects employees across all industries. It doesn’t just appear out of nowhere; it has to be brought about. Here are some of the most common reasons behind employee burnout:


Overwhelming workload jobs and working for long hours might put an undue strain on employees. Employees that are overworked may seek ways to escape. This may lead to them taking shortcuts when performing tasks, which may cause mistakes. When mistakes occur, people may feel guilty about what happened.

Unclear Communication

A lack of understanding about what bosses and managers expect of workers might lead to stress and frustration. It also makes planning and decision-making harder for employees. Uncertainty like this might lead to poor performance and burnout.

Undervalued and Unappreciated

Feeling unappreciated for your contribution at work is one of the leading causes of employee burnout. When employees believe they are making a difference, they are more engaged. Employees who feel valued are more likely to stay and contribute more. Similarly, when employees don’t feel that their pay is on par with their efforts or the time they are required to work, things may lead to more stress.

Lack of Support from the Management

Employees need support from effective managers. Valuing them as people is essential. They also need to feel that their management has their back when they make errors. Employees become disengaged when they do not feel valued, which leads to low morale, increased turnover, and decreased production.

No Career Progression

People desire to feel challenged in order to grow professionally. Employees might leave if they do not see a clear path to advancement inside the organization. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that your professional development strategy is well-defined and communicated within the organization.

a female employee showing signs of fatigue due to overworking

How to Recover from Burnout

Burnout certainly seems stressful enough at this stage that you’re wondering if you’ll ever recover from it. The bright side is that there are ways to recover and rediscover your passion for your career. Here are practical tips to recover from employee burnout:

1. Recognize the signs.

To begin, you must be honest with yourself and recognize the signs of burnout. It will be difficult to progress if you can’t see the problem.

2. Set boundaries.

Know your limitations at work. People in new positions tend to say “yes” to everything because they believe it is necessary to prove their abilities to their boss. This can be dangerous. You may eventually find yourself drowning in too many tasks. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to solve this situation.

3. Pay attention to your health.

You’ve been running on fumes for quite some time, so it’s time to fuel up. This may include getting an extra hour of sleep at night, preparing your favorite meal instead of ordering takeout, or going out with your friends. Whatever makes you feel more like yourself so you can reduce stress.

4. Re-assess your goals.

Take some time to reconsider your goals in life. Burnout can develop when your work is incompatible with your values or does not contribute to your long-term goals. If you don’t know what your goals are, you may face frustration and burnout.

5. Practice positive thinking.

It can be difficult to develop the habit of positive thinking while recovering from burnout. This is why it is wise to start small. Try to think of something nice each morning before you get out of bed. Or, at the end of the day, reflect on one exceptional item you did at work or at home. Even small accomplishments need to be celebrated. Such situations might help you find joy as well as meaning in your career.

6. Create a work-life balance.

Maintaining a work-life balance lets you to live a more productive and stress-free life. Begin with small daily actions to balance time spent at work and non-work activities. Use time blocking, for example, to minimize your screen time and adopt a new health and wellness trend.

Things Companies Should Do to Prevent Burnout

Burnout cannot always be avoided, but it can be managed. People must be educated in order to effectively manage employee burnout.

1. Pay attention to work-related issues.

Listening may seem to be an obvious solution, and many managers may believe they are doing this. But far too few managers prioritize frequent employee check-ins. Employees need to trust that their boss will address their problems and that their manager actually cares about them as individuals in order to fight burnout.

2. Encourage teamwork.

Employees who are struggling can rely on coworkers for emotional support. Coworkers understand how to deal with workplace stress better than managers. Effective leaders build committed collaborative teams with close bonds. They promote teamwork, set effective, regular interactions, and assist in coordinating their team members. They also hold individuals accountable for their role in developing quality partnerships.

3. Make employees’ opinions and feedback count.

Managers should actively encourage employees to give input and suggestions. Employees feel important and included when they believe their thoughts are valued and make a difference, and they begin to take greater responsibility for their performance.

4. Make work purposeful.

Employees are far less likely to be burned out when they can link their work to their company’s vision or purpose in a way that makes their employment feel relevant. People do not want to work just for a paycheck; they want to find purpose in their employment.

a happy and collaborative workplace

Achieve Work-Life Balance at FilWeb Asia, Inc.

A healthy work-life balance serves as essential for employee well-being. Employees who can balance their work and personal lives are more productive, engaged, and less likely to burn out.

If you’re interested in creating a work environment that supports employee well-being and gives them opportunities to grow, consider joining FilWeb Asia, Inc. today. We foster a learning, collaborative environment that promotes work-life balance, assist our employees in managing workplace burnout, and provide an excellent place to work. Check out FilWeb Asia Inc. and apply today!