How to Beat Burnout at Work in 5 Easy Steps
RAFT Team, March 14, 2022
We could easily dub 2021 as the “year of burnout at work for women.” According to the annual Women in the Workplace report, 42% of women reported feeling burnout at work, nearly twice the percentage it was in 2020. We could definitely chalk some of this up to childcare difficulties, remote learning for kids, and other pandemic challenges. (Learn about the “third shift” and the additional 5 hours 1 out of 3 women put towards caregiving and housework after work every day.) But something more is going on here. There’s a deeper reason women are feeling the burden of burnout. And why they're considering leaving or at least downgrading their workplace commitments. It's time to beat burnout at work.
What is burnout?
According to Mayo Clinic, “Job burnout is a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” With all that’s on your plate, it’s no surprise you may feel this way.
After America’s racial reckoning these past two years (think George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Brianna Taylor), companies have been more aware of the need for equity and inclusion. Almost 80% of companies surveyed by LeanIn.org acknowledge that more allyship and DEI training is needed, but less than 20% actually do anything tangible about this acknowledged need.
Women are setting a new standard at work. They’re taking action as they see their teams falter in the face of overwhelm. They’re checking in more often to see how their people are holding up. And they’re spending time training and educating on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and building it into their operating procedures, processes, and hiring practices. Women are twice as likely to do this type of work compared to men in similar positions.
So while women are the ones most frequently stepping up to the plate to provide this important piece, only 25% of them receive acknowledgement for it, and far less receive any additional compensation for this extra work.
But they’re putting in all this effort to the detriment of their own wellbeing.
How to minimize burnout at work
1. Incorporate DEI and Allyship Training
DEI training and allyship training can help minimize burnout for many people. This not only teaches individuals what DEI means as a daily practice. It also teaches how to be allies in tangible ways for those around them.
2. Learn to Delegate
It may be difficult to trust people on your team for important deliverables, but it’s vital that leaders learn to delegate. Take the time to train your people. This small time investment will pay big dividends over time. Delegation reduces the burden on leadership and provides meaning and a sense of ownership among team members.
3. Don't Forget to Check-in on Well-Being
Check in with co-workers and employees about their well-being. And not just on the daily tasks that are due. See how they’re doing overall as they navigate life. Don’t be afraid to ask how you can encourage and support them. As a leader, ask what opportunities they may be interested in, whether education, responsibilities, or advancement. And then followup with them on what you discover.
4. Problem Solve as a Team
Problem-solve together. Don’t be afraid to have roundtable discussion about diversity, equity and inclusion at work. Set some rules for the conversation so everyone feels safe to share, then talk through the realities of what it’s like to come to work every day. (And a small hint: if you’re white, listen more than you speak.) Talk about micro-aggressions. The path to promotion. And what is needed to accomplish the goals you have as a company.
5. Make Your Goals Measurable
Create measurable metrics to track company progress. It’s one thing to talk about actions you can take, but it’s quite another to be held accountable for how you’re doing. Create a plan of action and implement any training needed to get to a more equitable place as a company.
With these practices in place, the daily grind should be less of a burden for everyone. Responsibilities will be shared more evenly, and everyone will not only feel supported, but feel confident in their ability to support others in a very real way. And remember, you never “arrive,” so keep training, keep learning, and keep improving the work conditions for all employees.
If you’d like some help to beat burnout at work, RAFT can help you improve your operations and the well-being of your staff with our free organizational training. By taking just a few short days to teach resilience and self-care foundations to your staff, you can prevent a critical loss of resources by preventing staff burnout—and the turnover associated with it. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and nowhere does that ring more true than in sexual and domestic violence organizations.
This one-or-two day curriculum happens within the walls of your own organization or by Zoom, is completely free, and will remain free throughout the entire workshop. Our experienced trainers listen to your specific needs and select the program to be best suited to your operations.