In our fast-paced world, employees often have the feeling of being overwhelmed, and exhaustion and burnout are on the rise. Recognize the symptoms at an early stage and strengthen the mental health of your employees. We show you how.
What are the first signs of a burnout? What do employees suffering from depression need? How do staff stay healthy over the long term despite exacting demands? Our blog answers questions like these. Attach the necessary importance to the subject of mental health at your company – not only will you be doing something good for your employees, you will also be boosting the performance, motivation, and productivity of the entire organization.
A high level of pressure at work and management and team problems can all be relevant causes of mental stress and exhaustion. However, a lack of appreciation from managers, a lack of trust, or unresolved conflicts can also adversely affect the mental wellbeing of employees. The stress is often not just due to the situation at work. It arises from the serious interaction of stress at work and problems in an employee's private life. Even if psychological problems have their root cause in a personal situation, they are not only a private matter and can also have negative effects for the affected person at the workplace. For this reason, it is always also the responsibility of the employer to recognize symptoms, and react appropriately.
Managers normally sense changes in behavior, work conduct, or in the social interaction of an employee very quickly. Some symptoms don’t seem disconcerting in the beginning. But as soon as these accumulate, increased attention is required.
The symptoms of a burnout are varied and can have different causes. To ensure you can respond at an early stage, you as the boss should look out for the following early indicators of mental stress in your employees:
Emotional and physical condition
If an employee is headed toward a burnout, they will usually show several of the symptoms listed above. This list is not exhaustive.
In the work environment today, the subject of psychological stress is still often taboo. Those affected fear being stigmatized and losing their job. Ignoring obvious problems exacerbates the situation for all involved. It is therefore important to address the issue if you suspect one of your employees is affected by mental stress.
Even with the best of intentions, it is not easy to talk to someone about their apparent problems. It requires empathy, discretion, and good preparation. Managers cannot afford to underestimate the signs of burnout syndrome or any other mental illness. The earlier you react, for example by talking to the employee, the better. At best, it can even mitigate the possible progression of the disease and improve the employee's chances of receiving successful therapy.
Not every employee will want to talk about their problems at the workplace. There is a real fear of a stigma, and maybe even of repression, if a mental illness like burnout or depression is diagnosed. This prevents the employee from addressing burnout and its treatment with their manager. It is the right of every person to disclose as much about themselves as they want. Exerting pressure would only make matters worse.
In this case, encourage your employee to get support from an independent help center. Depending on the size of the company, there may be an inhouse care contact for employees. Or you can refer the employee to an external contact like Pro Mente Sana.
If the employee has suffered from mental problems for a longer period of time, and has even taken sick leave, then depending on the situation, care and case management may be able to provide further assistance in reintegrating the employee.
In general, it is important that you as a manager create a basis of trust and an open and appreciative culture within your team. Invest in an open culture during "good times" and create the basis for open discussion for when the employees are not feeling well.
If you observe symptoms of a burnout, depression, or other mental illness among your employees, actively seek dialog with the affected person. Talk privately to your employee, explain that you are worried, and arrange for a meeting in a calm atmosphere and without time pressure.