Burnout in Employees

Discuss about the Burnout in Employees.

Burnout refers to a state of excessive exhaustion experienced by a person that run from mental exhaustion, emotional exhaustion to physical exhaustion and result in loss of incentive and motivation (Howard 2015).  Burnout usually present in form of symptoms where a person feels unable to meet certain demands, feels emotionally drained and overwhelmed. According to Howard (2015), burnout results in person motivation surge being reduced and loss of interest in engaging in activities and therefore refrain from performing the duties in the usual manner. The productivity and the usual performance of various tasks reduce and are easily noticeable by his/her workmates. The mental stress leaves the person feeling resentful, hopeless, cynical and helpless and unable to concentrate on the duties accorded to him or her which can result in conflict with the workmates and the employer. According to  Kubicek and Korunka (2015), Burnout emanates from several reasons  most of which are as a result of physical fatigue due to overworking, mental fatigue due to stress and continuous thinking over something  or emotionally due to stigma.

 Burnout is beyond stress as with stress, when everything is under control, the stress decline significantly and continues with the activities normally. Burnout may be due to unrelenting stress, but not equal to too much stress. Rehman, Janjua, and Naeem (2015) argues that a person experiencing burnout lack the urge for positive change to his/ her current situation, he or she is beyond caring, devoid of motivation and feels empty. Burnout may cause illness to a person due to the changes that it causes to the immune system of the body making it vulnerable to diseases like flu and cold. Appropriate measures should be put in place in order to manage burnout before it can cause social, economic and health problems to an individual.

Burnout can be managed by first managing stress as sometimes stress causes the feeling of mental exhaustion and lack of motivation. The best method to relieve stress is social contact by reaching out to other people. The people easily manage stress by talking to people who listen to them without judging them. The opening up to people on the disturbing issues is the best way towards a journey of preventing and managing the stress (Günthner and Batra 2012). Development of friendship with the co-workers by being sociable with them can also assist in preventing stress as a worker can always have someone to turn to during the situations of stress and burnout.

Exercise is another method of preventing and managing burnout (Wu et al 2016). Exercising is important as it eliminates boredom, relax both the body and the mind, lift the mood, sharpen focus and increases energy. The exercise may include dancing, swimming, martial arts, running or walking. Researchers have found that regular exercise alleviates stress and depression and can prevent a person from experiencing burnout.

Undertaking different approach to work can also act as a means of preventing and managing burnout. Burnout mostly results from the workplace and a person should take a different approach towards the job in order to prevent burnout. Meszaros et al (2013) suggest that a person can decide to leave the jobs that are monotonous and unfulfilling in order to combat burnout. A person can also decide to change his/her attitude toward the job and perceive the job as valuable for him/her. The negative attitude towards the job easily triggers burn and a person needs to focus more on the job aspects that he/she enjoys rather than the negative impacts he/she experiences. Making friends in the workplace is also important in countering the effects of burnout. A person can also take a vacation or a break from the work in order to beat out burn out. The burnout is alleviated when a person is at leave as he/she is able to recharge and return back when he/she is rejuvenated and motivated to work.

The consumption of a balanced diet is able to lessen stress and burnout. Meszaros et al (2013) argue that the food consumed can determine the energy levels and moods that a person experiences. The foods that affect the mood include foods that are high in trans-fat, caffeine, chemical preservative, refined sugars among others. Nicotine and high alcohol consumption increases the level of anxiety of a person and should be avoided in order to prevent and manage burnout. The foods that boost the mood are those that are high in omega -3 fatty acids and include walnuts, fish, flaxseed, and seaweed. A healthy diet can, therefore, serve as a means burn out eradication and prevention.

Priorities re-evaluation is also important in preventing and managing burnout. The people with burnout should re-evaluate themselves on what makes them happy in order to overcome the disorder. A person should, therefore, think about his/her dreams, hopes and goals in life. According to Howard (2015), there is a need to allocate a time to reflect rest and heal in order to drive away burn out. A person should set aside a break from daily use of technology, set time to relax, and get enough sleep in order to prevent the condition.


  1. a) The Causes of Employee Perception of Burnout in the Workplace
  2. Personal Characteristics Causing Burnout

Perfectionist Tenderness

Employees striving for excellence and hard work in a company have the positive trait and can lead to the growth of the company. Stoeber and Damian (2016) asserts that a person who set very high standards for performance and refuses to accept standards that are shot of perfection can lead to him/her developing stress while working. A perfectionist is always not satisfied with a job that is not done in a perfect manner. According to Arabshahi (2014), a perfectionist may develop burn out due to stress as they are terrified of performing a task that is likely to fail.


A pessimistic person is not optimistic and therefore expect bad things to happen more than good ones. A pessimistic person does not believe in himself/herself and worries about things going wrong. Stoeber and Damian (2016) argues that Pessimism put a person at an increased risk for burnout due to developing stress in worrying for an eventually that things go wrong.


Excitability is one of the personal characteristics that trigger stress (Atan and Tekingündüz 2014).  A person who is easily affected and bothered by small issues which easily makes him/her lose a temper is an excitable person. Excitability can, therefore, result in burnout of an employee as he/she is easily bothered by several issues that occur at the place of work.

Lack of Belief in the Job

Burnout can also be experienced by employees who do not believe in the job they are employed for or on the task they carry out on a daily basis. According to Chirkowska-Smolak (2012), a person who feels that they undertook the wrong field end up not believing in their life works. A person would, therefore, experience difficulties in putting up with the hardships that come up as a result of the hardships of the job. The values of a person end up conflicting with the values of the company which eventually ignites burnout.

Job Discordance

The employees may not fit in the jobs they are employed for when the job description does not fit with their personalities. According to Atan and Tekingündüz (2014), a person should first understand his/her strengths and weakness and undertake the jobs that he/ she can be able to handle without stress. A person given a job that is not fitting or is difficult for him/her to handle because of lack of the necessary skills is likely to suffer from burnout.

Work – Related Factors

Impossible Requirements

Sometimes the responsibilities accorded to a job exceed the time that an employ can be able to complete the job successfully. An employ will, therefore, be unable to complete the job successfully despite putting so many efforts on the job. The employ feels unsuccessful and this is likely to trigger the burnout disorder. According to Kubicek and Korunka, (2015), overwhelmingly job demands is one of the work-related factors that initiate a state of burnout.

Unclear Job Requirements

When the expectations for a job are not clear and employ suffers from burnout. When the job description is not clear and keeps on changing and therefore a person is not certain on his/her job is likely to develop stress and experience burnout (Lent and Schwartz 2012). The employers have a duty of ensuring that every employee understands his/her job requirement in order for the employ to feel satisfied with their job.

Big Consequences Resulting from Failure

Some jobs are highly demanding for the employees and failure may cause big consequences. The small human mistakes that an employee may perform may pose him/her to a risk of a lawsuit or fired from the job. According to Lent and Schwartz (2012), the employees mostly working in the health sector have high possibilities of burn out because of a mistake while performing their duties can cause them to be prosecuted.

Restricted Personal Control

Burnout sets in the employees when they lack personal control of their environment or decision making. Nufer (2012) asserts that the employee who feels restricted in deciding what they need to do and how to do it are likely to develop stress that eventually leads to burnout. The employees feel happy and appreciated when they have control on what need to be done and the techniques they will use in handling the tasks.

Lack of Recognition

 The employees who work hard deserve recognition in order to continually raise their morale for hard work. EKER (2008) explains that the employees who are never recognized for their hard work and accomplishment are likely to develop stress and burnout. The employees feels rejuvenated and having the desire to work if they are appreciated by bonuses, awards public praise or using other tokens meant for appreciation.

Poor Communication

The employees are delighted when a company gives room for communication with the top officials if grievances occur. Most of the employees may experience stress and burnout if there are no avenues that they can take to discuss their problems with people in a position to help them (Babamiri et al 2016). Lack of good social relationship with the workmates may hinder effectiveness communication during the workplace leading to stress and burnout (Nufer 2012). The workmates should work as a team, being more sociable and try to solve other colleague’s problems by establishing effective communication.

Insufficient Compensation

Some occupations that are stressful deserve a pay that leaves the employs motivated despite the hardship that they encounter while performing their tasks. The employees develop stress and burnout if the job is stressful but reap peanut salary (Hämmig, Brauchli and Bauer 2012). Good compensation for a job acts as a drive for the feeling of satisfaction and beat out the burnout disorder.

Poor Leadership

The managers and leaders for a company should be able to provide good leadership to the company in order to eliminate burnout for their employees. According to Calitz, Roux and Strydom (2014), Poor leadership makes the employees feel unsatisfied as they are not recognized, well remunerated and experience a harsh working environment. Poor leadership causes unfair treatment to the employees, position insecurity and lack of appreciation. Good leadership should ensure that the employees are involved in critical decisions making process that concerns their well-being.  The managers have the obligation of ensuring that the employees feel valued, safe and supported whenever they experience difficulties.

Lack of Required Resources

The employees may also experience burnout if there is a constant lack of the required resources for performing the task expected of him/her. According to Campbell (2013), an employee should be provided with the necessary equipment and resources in order to complete job effectively and feel satisfied. Training is part of the requirements that the employees deserve in order to perform tasks effectively.

Unfairness at Workplace

Unfairness at the workplace is one of the works related factors that ignite burnout to the employees. The employees should be treated fairly through equal workload and pay if they are performing the same tasks (Campbell 2013). Promotions are sometimes done unfairly as the boss promotes the under-qualified staff due to their supper friendship.

Consequences of Burnout in Employee Well-being

Health Related Problems.

The employees who experience burnout suffer health related problems that include both physical and psychological (Toker et al 2012). The physical health problems experienced by the employees include sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal infection, respiratory tract infections, and headache among other symptoms. The psychological symptoms experienced may include anxiety and depressive disorders. The depressive and anxiety problems may drive an employee to abuse drugs like alcohol and nicotine in order to alleviate the stresses which finally transform an employee to being a drug addict. The consumption of hard drugs deteriorates the health condition of the employee .The research on burnout has found that the people who experience burnout are prone to infections like flu and the common cold. According to Toker et al (2012), Burnout has also been implicated as a risk factor for non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases and heart attack. 

Emotional Problems

 The emotional problems form part of the consequences of burnout for the employees (Howard 2015). The emotions employees with burnout present their emotions in the form of loss of motivation, decreased the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, feeling of detachment, sense of failure and negative outlook. The emotions will eventually result in the behavioral change of a person which eventually leads to social, economic and health problems to a person

Job Withdrawal

Burnout experienced by the employees may pose a risk of job withdraw by the employees. The job withdrawal may present in form of absenteeism, intentions to quit the job or turnover (Collini, Guidroz and Perez 2015). The job withdrawal symptoms may result to the employee being fired from the company. Absenteeism may also result due to health related problems experienced by the employee due illness.  A person who is stress feels to withdraw from performing the responsibilities accorded to him/her.

Low Productivity

The excessive stress that comes along with burnout causes anxiety that deters the employees from maximum productivity. According to Rehman, Janjua and Naeem 2015, the apathy and exhaustion act as barriers to effective working and cause the employees work at a considerable low rate than normal. The employee often misses the set-out deadlines to perform a certain assigned task. Leaving early, coming late and work procrastination are some of the reasons that result to low productivity. The negative altitude and decreased motivation ultimately result to low productivity of the workers.

Lower Quality Work

The quality of work can act as a measure to determine whether an employee is suffering from burnout (Howard 2015). Burnout goes hand in hand with exhaustion and stress and therefore the employees are unable to concentrate effectively on their work. Poor concentration on the work is what provides work that has lower quality. The state of lack of motivation and stress will lead to rampant mistakes in the work performed by an employee who experiences burnout.


 The employees experiencing burnout develop a negative attitude, mood swings, cynical, impatient and are disagreeable which ultimately result to conflict with the fellow employees (Howard 2015). The other major problem experienced with burnout is the development of anti-social behaviors. The anti-social behaviors may cause poor interpersonal relationship and communication barriers with the fellow colleagues. The employee will also develop a conflict with the workmates due to low productivity resulting to workload imbalance in among the fellow workmates. The conflict may also be developed by team members dependent on the employee who is stressed.   The employees may also create a negative reflection of the company to the customers due to his/her burnout condition.


Burnout of the employees has been an issue that most of the managers have failed to address in their respective companies. The employees form part of the most basic factor of production that should be taken care off if the mission and vision of a company are to be achieved. Poor leadership that does not take a keen interest of the employees’ welfare has been the main contributor to this disorder in among the employees. The managers have an obligation of utilizing their leadership skills in order to eliminate burnout for their employees.


Burnout usually emanates from personal characteristics and from work-related factors. The employees, as well as the managers, have the role of ensuring that they eliminate the possibilities of burnout. The employees should employ different techniques including exercise, healthy diet, and positive approach toward work and stress management in order to alleviate the feeling of burnout. The managers have a big role to play as mostly the burnout emanates from work-related factors which are under the control of the manager. The manager can embrace various techniques to prevent employ from acquiring the burnout condition. According to Asgari and Jafari (2013), the techniques includes being fair in promotion and reward, provide effective communication with the employees, create a supportive culture by rewarding employees who perform well, training the employees well, providing adequate resource for carrying out various task, allow reasonable working hours and schedule breaks, and reducing workload by being considerate in the amount of job assigned to the employees. 


Asgari, MH and Jafari, AL, 2013. The study of the Relationship between the Leadership styles of managers and Job Burnout of Technical-Vocational Education Centers Employees in the North of Iran. International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences

Arabshahi, M and Arabshahi, G, (2014). The relationship between personal characteristics, communication, and job satisfaction. Management Science Letters, vol.4, no. (7), pp.1595-1604. (Arabshahi  and Arabshahi 2014).

Atan, M and Tekingündüz, S, (2014). An investigation into the burn-out level, perceived work stress and job satisfaction of paramedics in terms of personal characteristics. e-Journal of New World Sciences Academy, vol. 9, no. (3), pp.54-69.

Babamiri, M, Zahiri, A, Morovati, ., Yousefi Afrashte, M and Dehghani, Y, 2016. Evaluation of Factors Affecting Job Burnout in Employees of Regional Electric Company, Kerman, Iran. Journal of Ergonomics, vol. 3, no.(4), pp.39-48.

Calitz, T, Roux, A and Strydom, H, (2014). Factors that affect social workers’ job satisfaction, stress and burnout. Social Work,vol.50, no. (2).  

Campbell, NS, Perry, SJ, Maertz, CP, Allen, DG and Griffeth, R.W., 2013. All you need is… resources: The effects of justice and support on burnout and turnover. Human Relations, vol.66, no.(6), pp.759-782.

Chirkowska-Smolak, T, (2012). Does work engagement burn out? The person-job fit and levels of burnout and engagement in work. Polish Psychological Bulletin, vol.43, no. (2).

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EKER, M, (2008). Work Related Factors That Affect Burnout Among Accounting And Finance Academicians. ISGUC The Journal of Industrial Relations and Human Resources, vol.10, no. (4), pp.110-137. 

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Kubicek, B and Korunka, C, 2015. Does job complexity mitigate the negative effect of emotion-rule dissonance on employee burnout?. Work & Stress, vol.29, no. (4), pp.379-400.

Lent, J and Schwartz, R, (2012). The Impact of Work Setting, Demographic Characteristics, and Personality Factors Related to Burnout Among Professional Counselors. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, vol.34, no. (4), pp.355-372.  

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Nufer, S, (2012). The Effects of Locus of Control and Leader-Member Exchange as Predictors of Stress and Burnout in the Workplace.

Rehman, WU, Janjua, SY and Naeem, H, 2015. Impact of burnout on employees’ performance: an analysis of banking industry. World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, vol.1, no. (1), pp.88-105.

Stoeber, J and Damian, LE, 2016. Perfectionism in employees: Work engagement, workaholism, and burnout. In Perfectionism, health, and well-being (pp. 265-283). Springer International Publishing.

Toker, S, Melamed, S, Berliner, S, Zeltser, D and Shapira, I, 2012. Burnout and risk of coronary heart disease: a prospective study of 8838 employees. Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 74, no.(8), pp.840-847.

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