Workplace Burnout

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I’ve been on both sides of the career spectrum – working for a corporation and wondering why I come to work every day other than earning a paycheck, as well as owning my own company and being totally frustrated at the challenges of all that business ownership entails.  Both sides of that coin have the potential to cause workplace burnout over time.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is now recognizing that burnout has become an epidemic that deserves medical attention, according to Dana Wilke’s article on  WHO describes burnout as a chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed, including symptoms of increased mental distance from one’s job including negativity or cynicism, reduced professional efficacy, and feelings of depleted energy or exhaustion.

Wilke discusses workplace burnout today versus generations ago and suggests a number of ways to combat this increasing phenomenon.  One theory for why WHO has issued guidance on burnout is that many current employees can’t appreciate the results of their work. “This is an interesting paradox,” said Courtney Bigony, director of people science at 15Five, which helps companies identify and avoid employee burnout. “Today, we have great benefits—unlimited time off, dry cleaning on site, onsite yoga. But job satisfaction is so low. People don’t feel valued, and they’re not happy.”  In addition, a feeling of powerlessness to balance work with life causes burnout as well.

Leadership often has no idea their employees are burning out right under their noses until it’s too late. That’s why it’s so important for leaders to take a personal interest in their staff’s engagement levels and keep an eye on how satisfied they appear to be within their respective roles. Short periods of disengagement or dissatisfaction are completely normal regardless of the company or the role, but if a leader notices it happening for more than just a few weeks, that means it’s time to check-in with the employee to discover what’s going on inside them to determine the best course of action forward. Take a look at Dana Wilkie’s article here.


At Aepiphanni, we specialize in creating and building high-performance teams. If this article was helpful and prompted you with an increased desire to improve your effectiveness as a leader so you can take your team to the next level, contact us to learn more about our Aepiphanni Ascend Leadership Development program.  Fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to schedule a Coffee & Consult to chat in more detail about how we can help.

Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. Kris periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.

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