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Combatting workplace burnout: Expert strategies for employee wellbeing

In today’s fast-paced work environment where employees are juggling between multiple deadlines and tasks, burnout has become a prevalent issue and this has resulted in constant stress and anxiety, which pushes the individual to the brink of exhaustion. Exhaustion can evoke feelings of being useless, helpless and emptiness and failing to confront them can worsen the situation.

Combatting workplace burnout: Expert strategies for employee wellbeing (Image by macrovector on Freepik)

Recognising the importance of addressing this issue in an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Evelyn Raghel Thomas, Clinical Director – Employee Assistance Program at Truworth Wellness, recommended some beneficial ways for combating workplace exhaustion and restoring employee wellbeing –

1. Reflect, relax and manage your time:

It is recommended that you reflect on your weekly routine to keep track of your professional and personal progress simultaneously and allocate some time regularly for self-care activities like meditation and deep breathing exercises to keep your mind and body relaxed. Additionally, it is essential to prioritise your tasks to ensure you are able to effectively manage the hustle and bustle of corporate deadlines. To accomplish this, it is recommended to start creating personal timelines for the tasks and breaking them down into smaller and more manageable steps by using tools like to-do-lists or digital calendars.

2. Avoid transference:

Transference is a term which is used to describe the act of redirecting your emotions or frustrations onto others due to stress or pressure. It is recommended that you avoid it as it can potentially harm your relationships at the workplace. When facing difficulties, it is advised to prioritize self care activities like journaling, pursuing hobbies, and opting for proactive living rather than reactive living to deal with frustrations effectively.

3. Take self appreciation breaks:

Many people might feel tired in the early hours of the day when they think about their pending tasks and tight deadlines. This can further cultivate a sense of negative feeling towards your work, leading to burnout blues over a long period of time. To fight this, try setting a phrase or affirmation to start your day with a positive attitude. You can also use the pomodoro technique which is a time management method with 25 minute focused periods followed by a five-minute self appreciation break.

4. Seek support and professional help:

As a working professional it is important that you reach out for support when needed. It can include confiding in a friend or family member, seeking guidance from a mentor at work, or seeking professional help from therapists as a part of an employee assistance program. This will help to manage workplace exhaustion and stress levels at the times of uncertainty and efficiently manage their mental health and overall wellbeing.

Dr Evelyn Raghel Thomas shared, “Moreover, apart from these strategies, it is recommended to keep your work desk and corner decluttered as it will help you manage your day more efficiently and in an organised manner and further reduce stress and burnout levels by keeping your mind and body relaxed. Remember, that each person’s path towards combating burnout will differ and it’s essential to tailor these strategies to suit personal preferences and circumstances. Recognising the signs and taking proactive steps to address them are crucial for establishing a healthy work-life balance and sustaining productivity and fulfillment in the long run.”

Empathy and engagement nurture strong bonds

Bringing her expertise to the same, Kashish Daya Kapoor, Head – HR at NEC Corporation India, said, “Off late, industries and sectors are experiencing a high percentage of employee fatigue. Focus on mental health and well-being are pivoting many employee engagement initiatives. Comprehensive medical insurance serves as a foundational element of employee safety. Forward-thinking organisations lead by example, implementing tailored programs, conducting routine health assessments and creating age-group cohorts to address diverse employee needs. Prioritising flexible work arrangements, equitable workloads and effective time management are imperative for achieving work-life harmony.”

She asserted, “Equally crucial is establishing a cultural ecosystem that is based on the principles of transparency, empathy and inclusivity, thereby, augmenting an open culture where employee voices are integrated into ideation, innovation, and growth spaces. Recognising the importance of employee morale, and fostering a sense of purpose through community engagement is essential. Furthermore, recognition programs and platforms provoking ideas and innovation keep the workforce engaged and forward-thinking. Investing in skill development further strengthens the talent capability and empowers employees to navigate technological shifts with confidence. This holistic approach mitigates concerns of professional obsolescence and ensures a resilient, thriving and engaged workforce.”

According to Mili Panicker, Director – HR and People Operations at WebEngage, employees are expected to manage multiple tasks and solve various work-related problems to achieve their goals for the quarter or the month hence, it becomes essential for organisations to comprehend employee sentiments and offer support to help them overcome exhaustion and prioritise their well-being. In order to be able to create a supportive environment, she recommended beginning with understanding employee sentiment on an ongoing basis, through an employee engagement survey, which tries to understand various drivers like culture, values safety and well-being.

Mili Panicker elaborated –

  • Values: To assess if employees find the company values inspiring and if it is being practiced.
  • Fair and transparent: To understand whether they believe that all decisions taken in the organisation are fair and transparent.
  • Safety and wellbeing: To assess whether they believe that the organisation prioritises their safety and well-being.

Encouraging to create a safe space for employees to address their challenges by offering an in-house counsellor, Mili Panicker further recommended organising webinars conducted by clinical psychologists and hypnotherapists to discuss topics such as managing burnout, building resilience, overcoming gender stereotypes and mentoring. To effectively manage stress, provide training sessions for managers to help them identify and manage stress levels of their team more effectively, as well as equip them with the tools and knowledge needed to mitigate these challenges.

Mili Panicker concluded, “Encouraging a healthy work-life balance is crucial to prevent employee burnout. Organisations must encourage employees to take their earned vacation days and provide flexible work hours and remote work options to reduce commute stress – wherever possible. A mix of these strategies can promote greater productivity, reduce undue burnout and exhaustion, and prevent the erosion of work-life balance.”


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