Being Burnt Out Costs Money

It is no secret that burnout is becoming more and more prevalent within the workplace and modern day life.  And furthermore, it is no secret that stress costs business MONEY. Big money.  According to a Beyond Blue calculation, MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS COST AUSTRALIAN WORKPLACES $10.9 BILLION PER YEAR.

Evidence is showing us that the pace of the 21st century and drive for higher work output will only amplify, putting our age-old human nervous system under even more strain, making stress and ultimately burnout more prevalent. 

So the question has to be asked: how do you ensure that your winning team, keeps on winning and that your star performers keep on delivering the goods, without running the risk of burnout as an “injury”?

Within the workplace, we may not be seen as seasoned or elite pro athletes but our time spent in the office, on the hop, in the front line is just about as long as an endurance athlete’s stint. Yet athletes do a few things differently to maintain their body’s performance so perhaps we could adapt our approach to delivering the goods, without sustaining burnout as an injury?

Here are my top 4 hacks on how to keep yourself and your top performers performing and consistently delivering the goods (and to stop losing money):

  1. Know the signs of burnout (what to look out for).                                     
  • Verbalising continual lack of sleep & that there aren’t enough hours in the day
  • Unusual passive aggressive behaviour creeping in at work 
  • Taking on more responsibility and workload when already maxed out
  • Fixing problems by themselves instead of reaching out
  • High reliance on alcohol to unwind after work
  • Seemingly abnormal reactions or outbursts in the workplace (seen as over the top)
  • Copious amounts of coffee to get going and stay going
  • Watercooler talk of being adrenally fatigued

M.M (organic food production) – had just immigrated to a foreign country, he was toying with many business ideas but was STUCK on which one to move on. Finding various scenarios and opportunities confusing and distracting. Being pulled in various directions, doing the entrepreneurial hustle, sent him into “spinning many plates mode” and right into the wall of burnout which of course left him with little to no energy for his eventual new business venture.  For this case study getting clear on outcomes was the main focus.

2) Pace, Pace, Lead (know when to match and when to set the rhythm) 

As I have mentioned before a pro athlete knows when to rest, they see it as a vital component of their performance. They also know that rhythm is the key to on court or field success. An athlete who has lost rhythm finds even the not so competitive days a grind.

Having been privileged enough to work with some pro athletes, they have one very huge belief in common in that great quality rest is vital for success. Rest isn’t seen as something weak people do, it is what intelligent people make a MUST. As a leader of a team, knowing when to drive them and when to rest and recover is vital for success and to mitigate chances of burnout.

S.S (corporate hotel manager) – as with any other city centre hotel there is always a hungry mouth to feed, key client to entertain, or function to preside over. Not only did he demand high standards from his vast team within the hotel, he demanded PERFECTION from himself. Perfection and burnout go hand in hand, so for this case study measurable outcomes were focused on.

3) Plan for Maintenance Times (a purpose to downtime)

Don’t expect your body & mind to keep on delivering the goods, when you don’t give it the goods in the first place. A seasoned athlete knows the race is won both in the build-up and the recovery stages.  If you want to avoid workplace burnout both these elements PRE & POST are vital (yet often ignored).  When someone is asking more and more of their mind without “coming up for air” they could be so trapped in the endorphin hit of work that they won’t even feel their physical pain until it is too late. Endorphins are usually produced post physical big work out in order to = MASK PAIN. It is because of endorphins that we as humans have an enormous capacity for physical endurance (like huge projects requiring big day work stints).

Question: is your addiction to work innocent or are the side effects causing unknown harm?

D.P (electrical contractor business) – with a high need for delivering customer satisfaction this case study is a prime example of overpromising and sadly under delivering which lead to their burnout.  High levels of control over ever possible scenario was behind the behaviour which lead the coaching focus to be on solid healthy boundaries and when saying NO (this is beyond our scope) would actually prove more helpful to the brand.

4) Clever is Calm (know the hot buttons of your star performers & yourself) 

IQ & EQ are understandably linked, meaning that IQ significantly drops when there is no EQ in any given situation.  (EQ) Emotional intelligence is at the heart of burnout, as it is a conscious choice of emotions instead of letting emotions run wild.  Our bodies have a chemical stress response that hasn’t yet kept up with evolution. Bio-chemically speaking our bodies are 150k years behind in how we react to stress. EQ helps us to selectively respond to stress, instead of letting the emotional domino effect cascade throughout our systems.

Hence why it is vital to understand our reactions under pressure, to find ways of resourcefully relieving such stresses and tension and finally get to the cause of these pressures and devise alternate strategies. Do you know the hot buttons of your star performers? Do you know your own internal hot button triggers?

It is estimated that AUSTRALIAN BUSINESSES WILL RECEIVE AN AVERAGE RETURN OF $2.30 FOR EVERY $1 THEY INVEST in mental health initiatives, be it a deep delve into emotional intelligence, coaching programmes or behavioural profiling to start off with.

A.R (truck stop service station) – having important uncomfortable conversations on staff performance was at the crux of this case study. Whereas in the past this client wouldn’t have the conversations and instead take on more and more workload leading to their burnout.  The takeout was picking up the slack and doing it for others only fed into their under functioning capacity in the workplace. Being calm in these scenarios helped them to be clever and not avoid what had to be said.

Burnout may seem the current buzzword making the rounds, and although not directly a life-threatening condition its impact and repercussions are huge (and costly), not only to company but personally.  Burnout is, in fact, a long way down and bouncing back from it can take some colossal effort. But prevention, in this case, is totally better than cure and for the sake of those around us (if not for ourselves) totally worth the journey.