It’s impossible to not feel stress or anxiety when working. Whether you’re trying to meet a deadline or going to an extremely important meeting. Situations like that bring people stress, anxiety, and even fear. Continuous and unmanaged feelings of stress can bring significant changes to one’s mental and physical well-being.


Remote work has increased in popularity in recent years. Whether it was an adjustment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic or a business strategy suitable for outsourcing employees from different parts of the world. 


However, this type of work setup has its advantages and disadvantages. For some, remote work offers more control of one’s time and space. There is no longer the need to allot time for travel and people get to work in the comfort of their own homes. However, some people also see this as a disadvantage as the line that separates work and personal life starts to blur.


It is under these circumstances that people experience the so-called burnout syndrome. 


What is Burnout?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is a term used to refer to chronic stress caused by work-related activities. Although it is not recognized as a medical condition, the effects of burnout can significantly affect one’s productivity. It’s a result of unmanaged work stress for a considerable amount of time.


Burnout often starts when a person feels overworked and/or undervalued. However, many confuse feelings of burnout with just stress. Although closely similar, stress and burnout are two different states.


General stress comes from feeling too much or too many pressures. The mental or physical demand of these tasks causes stress. However, the person still has the capacity to realize that once things are under control, the negative emotions of stress would pass.


On the other hand, burnout stems from feeling spent. Whether it’s mentally or physically. Burnout causes people to lose motivation and feel detached from their work. Often, people experiencing the effects of burnout also lose hope of change in their situation.


In comparison, stress and burnout differ by the following characteristics:

  • Consist of over engagement vs. disengagement.
  • Loses energy vs. Loses hope, ideal, and motivation
  • Creates anxiety vs. Leads to depression and detachment
  • Emotions are overemphasized vs dulled
  • Results in urgent and hyperreactive actions vs Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness


Burnout and Productivity

The burnout phenomenon does not happen overnight. Instead, it’s a whole process that a person experiences through phases or stages. Burnout occurs over a period of time as piles and piles of unmanaged work stress inevitably affect one’s mental and physical capabilities. When a person is burnt out, they are likely to be:


  • Cynical
  • Resentful
  • Unmotivated
  • Unfulfilled and unsatisfied
  • Detached from their tasks


When an employee experiences burnout, it most likely affects their productivity. They can be completely unable to work or their output will not be the same quality. 


Lower output:

Severe feelings of burnout can disable one’s ability to function effectively. High levels of stress along with anxiety and depression can prevent a person from focusing on their task. 


Poor quality work:

Although people dealing with burnout can still finish tasks and work, it’s possible that the quality of their output would be affected. In relation to their inability to focus, details can be easily missed and more mistakes would be made.


Unproductive attitude:

A person’s mental state starts with their mindset and attitude. Feeling burnt out can make a person feel helpless and hopeless about change in their difficult position. This will then turn them resentful, impatient, and cynical of their work and environment.


Management Tips to Prevent Burnout

Mental health and well-being are crucial in order to function properly. People who spend a significant amount of their time on work need the ability to take breaks when needed. Taking this into consideration, businesses should be responsible for providing a healthy work environment and set up for their employees.


Here are some tips that can help curve burnout and boost productivity:


  1. Establish company rules ensuring work-life balance.
  2. Monitor employee workloads.
  3. Encourage employees to use vacation leaves.
  4. Provide flexibility in work location and schedules.
  5. Schedule regular mental-health breaks, workshops, meetings, or activities.