Helping Employees Avoid Burnout

Brad Edson writes about how we can help employees avoid career burnout.

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2020 has been quite the year for everyone, with a nationwide quarantine in the middle of work deadlines that didn’t go away, starting your own business in 2020 or simply continuing to pursue your career goals has certainly come with its fair share of challenges, and in a manner many of us have not experienced in our lifetime.

77% of respondents to a recent survey say they’ve experienced career burnout. This is something that hits pretty close to home for me, as I’ve spent my career leading teams and, of course, pursuing my passions and honing my skills in the business and entrepreneurial world.

With this in mind, I wanted to lay down a few helpful tips on how to avoid burnout, and how we, as leaders, can help prepare our teams to pursue a more productive and peaceful 2021 (things that don’t have to be exclusive from one another).

Avoiding Burnout

Burnout doesn’t mean we’re just getting frustrated or experiencing the everyday ups and downs of a packed schedule. Burnout is something much more pernicious, and it has a direct impact on the quality of our work, the quality of our sleep, and even the quality of our relationships, exercise schedule, and eating habits.


The first thing people need is to feel heard. If someone on your team is feeling overwhelmed, take the time to listen and learn to understand what they’re going through. Are they stressed because of the everyday pressures of the job, or is it something else? This is likely not going to all come out in one conversation, but if an otherwise star employee is consistently feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to help them schedule in some days off or to help relieve some of their workload.

Offer Specific Types of Help

Often, employees who are burnt out don’t have the mental energy to help themselves. With this in mind, think of some ways you and your team can get specific with ways to help. Drop a meal off, send them a gift card, or give them a personal day. These small gestures can go a long way.

Create a Plan

This is a last resort, but sometimes employees are experiencing burnout because they actually feel called to something else. While an employee should never feel like they’re going to lose their job if they voice feeling overwhelmed, sometimes the most gracious act is to help them broaden their horizon and think critically about whether or not what they’re currently doing is satisfying to them.

No career path is immune to burnout, and even the best of the best may experience it from time to time. I’m also not so naive as to think this list will magically fix career burnout.

But part of our role, as leaders, is to help facilitate an environment that both helps people through burnout and, by establishing a culture that pursues greatness, works hard, and listens, works to mitigate burnout and avoid it altogether.

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