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Deel Team

While prevention is always better than cure, spotting signs of burnout in yourself and your remote team can make it easier to offer support and take measures to ensure others don’t experience the same.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. 

Burnout stress can manifest physically and mentally, leading to fatigue, insomnia, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and many other symptoms. These lead to disengaged employees, increased healthcare costs, and annual global productivity losses of US$1 trillion

Now we know the damage that burnout can cause, here are a few common employee burnout signs to look out for in your remote team.

Team members aren’t taking time off 

If team member hasn’t submitted any time off requests in a while, it could be that they’re too busy, don’t feel that they deserve it, or they’re trying to conserve their days off for as long as possible for fear of running out. Each of these scenarios could indicate employee burnout. 

Time off is essential to rest and recharge. Statistically, taking more vacations results in greater success at work, lower stress levels, more happiness at work and home, and a boost in creativity

A healthy approach to time off benefits both employers and employees.

Team members adopt an always online culture

An environment that does not foster a healthy work-life balance culture can pressure employees to present themselves as always working and available. This pressure is a primary contributor to remote work burnout.

An always online culture can take many forms. Workers may rarely go offline, reply to messages immediately, apologize for delayed replies, express anxieties about not doing enough, not living up to expectations, or show and verbalize physical signs of exhaustion. 

Team members provide low scores on pulse surveys 

Monthly or weekly pulse surveys are an excellent tool for understanding how people feel using shorter, more frequent check-ins with high participation rates. 

Consistently low scores in these surveys are a sign that should not be overlooked.

Team members are withdrawn from conversations or emotionally volatile

Burnout can present itself in many ways; however, changes in a worker’s character can be a telltale sign. 

Those experiencing burnout may start to withdraw socially. In remote teams, that could be communication breakdown, little participation in or avoidance of virtual gatherings or activities, and not wanting to open up and share thoughts and feelings. 

At the other end of the spectrum, a team member may be more sensitive than usual, struggle to control their emotions, and get angry and frustrated. 

Team members are struggling to hit their targets and achieve results

The final telling sign of an employee with burnout is often reflected in their job performance. Forgetfulness, errors, delays, and procrastination, all point toward a disengaged or overburdened worker.

If you notice a colleague is far behind in their tasks or goals, that may be a signal that they’re feeling burned out or too overwhelmed with their daily responsibilities.