Employee Wellbeing

5 ‘hidden’ signs of burnout in your team

If you’ve noticed a change in your employee’s work, they may be burnt out. In this blog, we discuss five ‘hidden’ signs of burnout in your team and how to talk about it.
Alanah Hammond
4 minutes

46% of Gen Z and 45% of Millennials say they have experienced burnout at their current job. Burnout has been a huge topic of discussion for several years now, but has seen a surge during the past two years with workers struggling to switch off through the pandemic. 

At Myles Wellbeing, we have looked into the rise of burnout, the five hidden signs of burnout, and how to talk to your team if you’re concerned. 

New data, collected by Myles Wellbeing, shows that searches of “burnout” doubled from September 2021 to April 2022 for Brits. On average, they searched for the term 22,000 times a month over the last year, Google Trends data shows. 

Clearly, Brits are heading to Google to find out more about burnout, including the symptoms and ways to prevent and cure it. However, there has now also been a surge of people turning to TikTok for help and advice on burnout.

TikTok is being used more frequently than ever as a search engine. People are trying to find out answers as to why they’re burnt out and what they can do about it, as well as looking for the feeling of ‘community’ that TikTok brings.

Videos using the hashtag #burnoutrecovery have racked up MILLIONS of views (33.2 to be exact), with a huge amount of content being created around the subject of burnout, showing the magnitude of the issue. 

To combat such a universal problem, we asked Michael McCreadie, Co-founder at Myles Wellbeing, to share some expert advice on how to spot the ‘hidden’ signs of burnout that your team might be experiencing.

1. Sensitivity to feedback 

If your team member is working extremely hard to the point that they are burning out, a simple bit of constructive feedback may bring their world crashing down as they already feel they can’t work any harder. If your team member reacts strangely to a piece of feedback, dig a bit further into how they are feeling.   

2. Lack of productivity 

It can be a common mistake to think that employees that are burning out are doing too much work. In fact, it may be the opposite. If you’re noticing that your team members aren’t getting tasks done as efficiently or as well as they used to, it’s a good time to chat.

Burnt out employees may have trouble prioritising or be so worried about doing everything perfectly that they procrastinate. Both are common problems that as an employee’s manager, you can help with. 

3. Clashes between team members

Do you have a team who were working harmoniously, but suddenly things have changed? It’s possible that members of the team are burnt out as this can lead to irritability. Speak to each member of the team individually to get to the root of the problem. 

4. Making careless mistakes

Is your team member making strange mistakes they don’t usually make? CC-ing the wrong people into email chains? They could be burnt out. These mistakes may only be minor, but if they are doing things they don’t usually do, book in a quick catch up. However, make sure to give your employee warning about what you want to talk about to avoid anxiety when the meeting invite lands in their inbox!

5. Self-doubt

If when you’re catching up with your team members, they are very negative and cynical or if they’re feeling like their work isn’t good enough, this could be a sign of burnout. 

Encourage your employee to talk about how they’re feeling and give them a confidence boost by explaining their achievements as an employee. Offering to help your employee work through any tasks they’re finding particularly challenging will also help your employee feel less overwhelmed. 

Three ways to talk about and prevent burnout within your team

If you have noticed any of these signs within your team, make sure you address them with your employees. Here’s three ways to talk about burnout, and how to prevent it within your team.

1. Make mental health part of everyday conversation 

If you talk about mental health as a manager, both good and bad, your team will feel that you’re approachable if they are struggling or stressed. Ensuring that talking about mental health isn’t a taboo subject is key to employees feeling comfortable to talk to you.

2. Give your team your full attention

We are all very busy at work. Managers especially can find themselves in back-to-back meetings, often working on something whilst in a meeting or having a conversation. If you are having a one on one with your team member, ensure they have your full focus and attention so you’re able to read how they are feeling and their pain points. Employees who feel listened to and understood is key to talking about issues such as burnout. 

3. Lead by example

If you work in a business where it’s common to work long hours, set yourself boundaries that your team will follow. If you stay three hours late every day, so will your team even if you tell them not to. Create a culture of work-life balance by limiting communication to office hours to give employees space to have their own time to wind down.

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