Preventing Employee Burnout: What You Need to Know

Stress frustration

You already know it’s important to attract top performers to your company. You also know it’s vital to cultivate their talents, bringing together your most skilled and qualified people to establish thriving teams.

However, these types of performers tend to be ambitious—a beneficial trait, indeed, but there are instances when A-players are so dedicated and hard-working that they end up burning out. This results in disengagement, weaker performance, and a general lack of motivation.

That’s why it’s important to understand what you can do to guard against burnout among your team members. The following are ideas worth considering:


Provide them with the right tools and resources.

It’s been shown that employees are more likely to be engaged on the job when they have the tools and resources they need to fulfill their duties to the best of their abilities. This is particularly true of top performers. They want to do their best, and so they become frustrated and stressed when they don’t have what they need to succeed in their roles.

Don’t simply assume you know what tools and resources your employees need. Ask them directly. You may have overlooked something that can make doing their job much easier.

business resources

Encourage using their vacation time.

Vacations play a crucial role in an employee’s mental health. The problem is, trends indicate many American workers are reluctant to use their full vacation time. And thanks to today’s technology making it easier than ever to complete work tasks from virtually anywhere, it’s not uncommon for employees to work to at least some degree while on vacation.

That’s a recipe for burnout in the long run. You need to encourage your employees to take vacations and discourage them from completing any work tasks while they’re away.

You can do this easily by setting an example. Make a point of using your vacation time, and while you’re away, let it be known that you won’t respond to e-mails, texts, or calls (unless there’s an emergency). This signals to your team members that vacations—without work interruptions—are encouraged.

It’s also a good idea to encourage mental health days. There are simply instances when an employee needs to take a quick, unexpected break to prevent burnout. You can make sure your employees feel comfortable taking these types of breaks by frequently reminding them that mental health days are permissible.

It may take time for your ambitious employees to follow your lead and take breaks and vacations, but if your attitude remains consistent, eventually, they’ll accept it.


Check in frequently.

It’s important to provide employees with regular and thorough feedback, as the days when business experts believed an annual review was sufficient are long over.

Surveys and research indicate employees are much more engaged when they have regular chances to discuss their progress and goals with their supervisors. This helps employees to understand where they’re making progress and where they need to address certain weaknesses.

These sessions also give you the opportunity to make sure your team members can handle their current workloads. Because ambitious employees sometimes take on more work than they can realistically complete, they can find themselves on the road to burnout. Check in with them periodically to confirm they don’t need extra help or require more time to complete a project.

business conversation

Consider Reorganizing Your Office

The environment in which people work will always affect their mood and performance. The problem is, different people thrive in different environments.

Some people feel more engaged in dynamic offices where noise levels are fairly moderate and conversations are encouraged. Others work better in silence. Some workers enjoy an open-office plan that allows for easy socializing, while others need their own space to maintain focus.

The degree to which you can accommodate your employees’ needs in this capacity will, of course, depend on how much space you have to work with. That said, if possible, you should reorganize your office so that everyone’s needs are met to some degree.

For instance, you can set aside quiet spaces and private rooms for employees who are easily distracted, but keep half of the office open for those who perform better in this type of environment. After all, you may be surprised by just how draining it can be to work in an uncomfortable environment for an extended period of time.

(While on this topic, it’s also worth considering flexible work schedules, in which employees can work from home and set their own hours occasionally throughout the month.)

Remember, your organization’s success is inherently linked to employee satisfaction. You don’t want to squander the talents of a strong team by allowing burnout to set in. By applying the lessons here, you’ll be more likely to effectively guard against it.