Back to Blog

Recognizing and Preventing Burnout

The negative effects of burnout can significantly impact productivity, quality, and the timely delivery of projects. Let's explore what we can do to avoid it and how to create a work environment that prevents it from occurring in the first place.

Recognizing and Preventing Burnout

We have briefly touched upon the topic of firefighting mode, how to identify and prevent it, and how it can affect the team in my previous blog post. Today, I’d like to write about an issue that can be closely connected - namely, burnout.

According to the data from the report by Yerbo, The State of Burnout in Tech, “56% of the IT professionals can’t relax once their day is over. 62% feel physically and emotionally drained”. This means - there is a chance that over half of the people you are working with could be suffering from burnout right now. In this post, I will enclose some advice on what can be done about this.

Let’s start with what burnout is in the first place. According to WHO, burnout is a state “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”, and “is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and reduced professional efficacy”. As you can easily imagine, each of these factors alone can have a major impact on a person’s well-being and performance. Combine them, however, and it’s hard to overstate just how negative effect it can have. 

I am certain that at some point in your life, you’ve had to work while feeling exhausted. If you think back to that moment, you will most likely remember how your performance was affected. Problems with memory, concentration and alertness, decision-making skills, and even motor functions, are just the most common issues you might’ve felt. But let’s put that into context a bit.

Each of us at work is a part of something greater. Be it your project team, department, internal team, or even the entire organization - in the long run, none of us truly works alone. That means that if your efficiency is lowered, it impacts everyone else around you. If that’s only a short-term issue, it can be amended, as certain fluctuations in performance are normal. But if you are feeling burned out, that raises the situation to a whole new level since the effects become increasingly long-term. Multiply that by the statistic mentioned at the beginning, and you can easily imagine just how much your projects can be affected by half of your team working with such performance. Increased turnover on your projects, decreased morale, and finally, a strong negative effect on projects’ deadlines and quality are all consequences of burnout happening for a continuous period.

As you can see, the effects of burnout can be significant and influence your projects in a major, negative way. Because of that, learning to recognize early warning signs is a crucial skill in preventing your team from being burned out and your projects from failing.

One of the earliest indicators that somebody can be feeling the negative effects of prolonged stress is a decrease in their productivity. As mentioned earlier, some variation is to be expected and is normal, but if that happens for a prolonged time it might be an indicator of something more.

Some behavioral changes might also point toward a more serious problem. Negativity and cynicism, the feeling of helplessness or anxiety, increase in the number of absences in people who did not show such traits earlier might be just a temporary effect of an unrelated issue. Then again, it might also be a sign that the person exhibiting such changes is feeling burned out - especially if you are working in an environment that can foster it.

Now that we know how serious the consequences of burnout can be and how to spot it, let’s dive into what can be done to combat it. 

One of the factors contributing to burnout in employees is an unreasonable workload, as well as overly demanding job expectations. Bearing that in mind, it is crucial to provide the people in your team with an environment that ensures the correct work-life balance. Offering flexible working hours, ensuring the use of vacation days as well, and limiting overtime to emergencies can be fundamental in preventing burnout.

Another major part of reducing burnout is creating and maintaining open and honest communication. Regular check-ups and surveys are important, but ultimately useless if the people you work with can’t feel they trust you enough to tell how they feel. On the other hand, if you promote a supportive environment that values employees and has their best interests in mind, people are far more likely to talk about their problems honestly. By doing that they enable you to act in time to prevent their burnout before the issue gets out of control.

Apart from the above, giving people the credit they deserve as well as skill development opportunities are also a part of the supportive work environment. Nobody feels valued when they feel their hard work goes unnoticed, and if such a situation is happening repeatedly, it can easily contribute to burnout. Aside from giving praise where it’s due, providing employees with access to courses and conferences needed to expand their skills will also demonstrate that you are committed to their growth and satisfaction in the long term.

In summary, burnout is a prevalent issue in the IT industry, with over 50% of employees experiencing it. Its symptoms include a negative attitude, decreased productivity, anxiety, and being withdrawn. The prolonged effect of burnout on the team might lead to a major negative impact on the productivity, quality, and timely delivery of the projects, as well as high employee turnover and low morale. It can, however, be prevented by fostering an environment promoting a proper work-life balance, employee appreciation as well and career development opportunities. A culture of honest and open communication is also crucial in preventing burnout as well as ultimately enhancing productivity and job satisfaction.

Contact us today...

to discuss your web development project and discover how our team can help you achieve your goals.

Tell us about your project

Empower your vision, partner with us today

Author photo
Jakub Czapski
Founding Partner at Blazity
To best serve you, let's get to know your requirements first. Tell us about your project, and we'll arrange a free consultation call to discuss how we can help.

Trusted by:

Trusted by logoTrusted by logoTrusted by logoTrusted by logo
Do you need an NDA first?