Avoid stress and burnout through prevention Burnout prevention at the workplace

Every year, stress- and burnout-related absences cause immense costs for Swiss companies. With an effective strategy for overcoming stress, you can protect your employees against excessive strain, prevent burnout, and promote health in your company in the long term.

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The benefits of burnout prevention

  • Protect your employees against stress-related illnesses
  • Increase wellbeing at the workplace
  • Lower costs for illness-related absences

What is burnout prevention?

Burnout prevention includes all measures aimed at preventing the occurrence of burnout. A growing number of Swiss companies are implementing burnout prevention at the workplace to protect their employees against stress-related physical and mental illnesses. This pays off twofold: Not only does it sustainably improve employee health and satisfaction, it also reduces the costs for stress- and burnout-related absences.

What are the symptoms of a burnout?

A burnout is condition of chronic fatigue, often as the result of chronic stress in an individual's private and professional lives. Those affected by burnout syndrome often experience a number of symptoms. These can vary from sleep disorders, lack of energy, and depression to gastrointestinal issues and back pain. Therapy options are just as wide ranging and should be adapted to the individual needs of the patient. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment such as psychotherapy or behavioral therapy may be considered. 

The task of burnout prevention is also to identify psychosocial risks and to establish structures and processes at the workplace to help recognize employees who are at risk of a burnout at an early stage and to help them obtain the support they need so that they don’t burn out to begin with.

Burnout syndrome and stress are on the rise in the working world.

And it has everyone talking. Health Promotion Switzerland has conducted a regular survey of employees in Switzerland since 2014 to learn about the effects of work-related stress on employee health and productivity. According to our work climate compass, nearly one third of those surveyed had the feeling of being emotionally exhausted. The main reasons indicated were the accelerating pace at the workplace and higher intensity of work. Digitalization also plays a role in this. It requires people in the working world to constantly acquire new knowledge and new skills. This can lead to additional pressure at work. 

What effects does that have for the company?

The major financial consequences of stress in the work environment are often underestimated. Those affected may develop a depression or other symptoms as the result of constant stress, are less productive, or are absent from work for a certain period of time. With a growing number of cases, this can have a long-term impact on your company. The following negative effects are possible:

  • Loss of productivity due to staff absences (absenteeism)
  • Loss of productivity due to staff who are present but cannot perform (presenteeism)
  • Increased risk of accidents
  • High staff turnover
  • Additional expenses on staff recruitment
  • Lost turnover because dissatisfied customers go elsewhere

Why is burnout prevention so important for companies?

Burnout syndrome represents a huge risk for companies. In Switzerland, the economic damage caused by stress amounts to CHF 7.6 billion per year. The good news is that just like other occupational safety risks, persistent excessive or undue strain can also be systematically prevented. The more your workforce knows about the phenomenon of stress, the less chances there are that it will occur at all. If your employees have additional strategies for effectively dealing with stress, phases of of higher stress at the workplace can be better managed.

Countering burnout syndrome

To effectively protect employees against stress-related conditions, such as depression and burnout, the subject of stress should be viewed by company management as one of its tasks. It is important to permanently anchor measures for dealing with stress into company culture. In-house burnout prevention can help: Causes of stress at your company are identified and employees are actively supported in handling stress. In addition, your employees will be informed on the subject of burnout and the options at their disposal for therapy and prevention so that symptoms can be detected early on and taken seriously. 

AXA’s offer regarding burnout prevention

Stress and burnout prevention is a component of AXA’s Corporate Health Management. Your job is to facilitate effective strategies for employees and line managers to deal with the stress of day-to-day work. To do so, trained experts identify possible potential for reducing stress in your company in a first step. Measures are subsequently developed to build up stress reduction expertise and anchor this in the company in the long term. Your employees receive helpful tips in workshops and training to learn how to deal with stressful situations.

Health survey

To take effective action against an excessive workload and its consequences in an organization, it's essential to know the main areas of potential for health promotion and the causes of excessive and undue strain. An online health survey collects this information anonymously, in compliance with data protection requirements. It effectively determines what situations employees feel stressed in and reach their personal breaking point.

Measure the stress level

An analysis is conducted to identify the causes of excessive and undue strain as well as the health promotion measures that offer the greatest potential.

  • Online health survey on individual behavior/individual attitude
  • Working conditions (stressors/resources) and individual demands
  • You will identify the impact on work performance and can plan measures

Management training

Managers play an important role in stress prevention as they directly impact psychosocial risks with their behavior. When line managers are comprehensively trained on the subject, they learn how to recognize those affected by burnout and stressful situations for employees at an early stage, to have the necessary conversations, and to lend support. This can permanently reduce the risk of excessive stress over the long term.

Presentations and workshops

AXA has a comprehensive program for training on the subject of stress management and prevention. The goal is to raise awareness among your employees for the subjects of stress, burnout, and resource management. Using practice-based examples, important information on maintaining and promoting health is made easily accessible. Employees also receive helpful tips on how to better deal with their workload in day-to-day life.

Partnership with Pro Mente Sana

If you need help now, call Pro Mente Sana at 0848 800 858. Our partner Pro Mente Sana offers free advice for people with mental health impairments as well as for their relatives and designated persons. 

Support and frequently asked questions

  • Why is chronic stress so dangerous?

    Stressful situations that are short-lived don’t hurt anyone. However, if the stress at work is never-ending, the regulatory mechanism of the body is paralyzed. This favors the onset of a series of physical and mental illnesses:

    • Depressive exhaustion (burnout/depression)
    • Dementia
    • High blood pressure
    • Back pain

    Tip:  Chronic stress disorders, such as burnout, can’t be pinpointed based on a single symptom. Instead, they manifest themselves differently for every person affected. For example,  130 different signs for burnout (in German) are known that must be taken into account when making a diagnosis. 

  • What can I do to reduce stress at the workplace?

    We’re all familiar with the scenario: The to-do list at work has no end in sight and the time you spend at work gets longer and longer. If you are constantly overburdened, you should see this as a warning sign and actively undertake countermeasures. In addition to a company strategy to prevent excessive and undue strain at work, a healthy lifestyle can also contribute to reducing stress.

    Relaxation techniques like autogenic training and mindfulness methods are suitable preventative measures and can promote the resiliency of employees in stressful situations. Fostering social contact and exercise are also frequently used means for ensuring more tranquility at the workplace. Listen to your body if it is asking for more balance to work. If you detect a possible burnout syndrome early on, you can react before physical or mental damage occurs and restricts your quality of life. 

  • What are are the most common reasons for stress in the workplace?

    Stress is caused by the imbalance between the demands placed on people and the resources they have at their disposal to deal with these demands.

    Classic examples of what can lead to stress at the workplace are a constantly changing working environment, time pressure for completing tasks, and constantly increasing demands. Likewise, a limited sphere of influence at work, lack of support from line managers or co-workers, discrimination, or violence, as well as fear can exacerbate the feeling of stress.

  • How can I prevent burnout syndrome at my company?

    A burnout doesn’t turn up overnight. Instead, those affected go through a process with numerous steps. If the first warning signs are detected early, long-term effects such as depression and psychosomatic reactions can be prevented. With in-house burnout prevention, you can raise the awareness of your employees for the subject of stress and increase their ability to deal with stress in demanding situations. In this way, you can decrease the risk of becoming ill with burnout syndrome as well as stress-related absences. 

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