February 21, 2024

Burnout: What is it and how do we manage it?


In this New York Times article, burnout is defined as a manifestation of unmitigated stress, and a workplace phenomenon characterized by feelings of exhaustion, cynicism and reduced efficacy. A lot of factors contribute to burnout, and it often presents itself physically before people are even mentally cognizant of it. It’s generally not 100% avoidable and everyone experiences it at some point or other, but there are ways to spot it and manage it at the onset and/or turn it around and use it to recharge and make better work-life choices.Our panelists Katrena Mantach (Director of Field Marketing, Sendoso) and Kyla Gradin Dahl (Area Sales Manager, US West, GitLab) shared their perspectives on how to spot workplace burnout plus tips to prevent and manage it.

Know your baseline and always look for pattern breaks.

You need to check in with yourself frequently and know your "normal" so you can recognize when you're feeling off mentally and/or physically. Burnout can look different for each person, and could be a change in sleep patterns, inconsistent eating habits, neck or back tension, or unproductivity. If you know your habits, it’s easier to physically identify burnout and adjust your priorities.

Everyone experiences burnout.

All employees experience burnout at some point, so you should never feel guilty about sharing how you're feeling with your manager and asking for support. You can also change your tactics or routine to feel refreshed whether that’s prioritizing what is a top priority or learning to take a break when you can. You can do anything, but not everything.

Burnout comes from the top-down.

Leaders need to set boundaries, take time for themselves, and lead by example to encourage a supportive culture that mitigates the stress of its employees. Create a safe space for your team where they can bring their best selves and have honest conversations when burnout hits.Juggling work and responsibilities has been more challenging than ever in the past few years, and more often than not, it leads to burnout. While burnout is normal and generally unavoidable, it can be mitigated by prioritizing your own well-being, being communicative with your manager, and giving yourself the grace to take breaks any time that you feel physical or mental signs of burnout.Want to learn more? You can stream the full event recording here. Thank you to all of the WISE partners that made this event possible and our panelists for sharing their time and advice.