Business Owner's Guide to Addressing Workplace Stress and Burnout

Karl Pulanco - Product Portfolio Manager, Yondu  Product Portfolio Manager, Yondu.

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Business owners need to act swiftly and implement proper strategies to combat workplace stress and burnout, which are major causes of rising mental health conditions at work.


Mental health has emerged as a critical topic of discussion in today's fast-paced and demanding work environment. People spend a significant portion of their lives hustling and working, which takes a toll on their health. As such, it's essential to recognize and address the impact of poor mental health on employees and the workplace.

Every year, 12 billion working days are lost worldwide due to anxiety and depression, costing $1 trillion in lost productivity. These circumstances have resulted in a growing awareness of the importance of mental health in the workplace.

Employers and employees now recognize the profound effects of mental health issues on individuals and organizations. High stress levels and other causes of mental health conditions, such as burnout can lead to many problems that adversely affect a company's workforce.

In this post, we’ll highlight the causes of burnout in the workplace and how to alleviate it in order to preserve our mental health and overall wellbeing, as well as productivity at work.


Main Causes of Workplace Burnout

Workplace burnout doesn't happen overnight. It's a combination of events that eventually leads to an employee feeling exhausted and ultimately worn down.

Knowing what these events and causes of burnout are can help you address burnout effectively:

Tired employee having headache at wor


1. Long working hours

Working extended hours has become increasingly common for employees today. Due to the competitive nature of the business landscape, some employees consistently feel pressured to work beyond their mandatory hours. They find this practice necessary to meet specific standards and expected output.

Most companies greatly appreciate a good work ethic. However, people nowadays limit their time outside the office to a worrying degree. The lack of time and opportunities for self-care and pursuing personal interests can affect an employee's mental well-being, eventually resulting in stress and burnout.


2. Heavy workload

It's no secret that employees can feel stressed when facing a seemingly never-ending wave of tasks. Juggling tight deadlines, managing multiple functions simultaneously, and dealing with competing priorities can significantly heighten stress levels.

The constant feeling of being swamped and unable to effectively manage the workload is one of the main contributors to burnout.


3. Unclear job expectations

Ineffective communication can do more than lead to task mistakes. Not being clear about what you expect from them can also weigh on the minds of your employees, preventing them from setting and meeting their goals. For instance, they may feel overwhelmed and have trouble prioritizing tasks if they don't know what you want from their work.

Moreover, the ambiguity surrounding roles and responsibilities creates fears of not meeting expectations, heightening stress and anxiety, which are symptoms of burnout.


4. Lack of control and autonomy

Feeling a lack of control over their work environment and having limited decision-making authority can be highly detrimental to employees.

Micromanaging your workforce can make them feel limited in developing creative solutions and innovative ideas. In turn, they may experience reduced motivation and disempowerment, which are telltale signs of burnout.


5. Poor work-life balance

Struggling to balance work commitments and personal life responsibilities is a familiar challenge for many. Per statistics, 40% of surveyed employees state that they can't effectively strike the perfect balance between work and their personal lives.

Chronic stress can happen when work demands consistently affect personal time. When left unaddressed, this issue will eventually evolve into burnout.


Strategies & Initiatives to Support Mental Health in the Workplace



Mental health is not something you should take lightly. Not only is poor mental health debilitating to your workforce, but it can also bring significant problems to your overall company process.

To mitigate workplace stress and burnout and support mental health, here are some strategies you can consider employing:


1. Establish mental health policies

Develop clear and comprehensive mental health programs that outline the support available to employees. Consider implementing policies that provide guidelines for seeking help, such as addressing accommodations. Including a section on creating a safe space can also reduce the stigma of mental health in the workplace. 

These regulations are necessary because some employees may be too hesitant to ask for fear of discrimination. As such, having employee assistance programs (EAPs), confidential counseling services, and accessible resources, ensures your employees have the necessary support.


2. Provide mental health training and education

Equip your managers and team leads with the knowledge and skills to support employees' mental health. Offer training sessions or workshops that raise awareness and promote empathy.

Since supervisors are your primary connection to your employees, courses like these help your company recognize warning signs of burnout and offer initial support. With these training programs, you can avoid the problem before it persists.

Additionally, identify employees that require help who wouldn't have spoken up due to the sensitive nature of this situation.


3. Foster open communication

Have supervisors check on their employees regularly regarding their state of mind by implementing an "open door" policy. These seemingly simple policies provide a safe way for employees to discuss workload and challenges that may contribute to developing well-being issues.

With this, you can help them release pent-up stress to authority figures that can help. You can also add anonymous feedback channels and ensure employees who prefer to express their concerns confidentially have the means to do so.


4. Offer flexible work arrangements

The remote working culture saw a massive popularity boost during the pandemic. Post-health crisis, remote working arrangements are slowly becoming the norm rather than the alternative.

Studies have proven that flexible working arrangements like remote setups lead to a significant decrease in employee burnout. So, consider extending the same courtesy to your in-house teams. Embrace remote culture by letting employees work certain days in the office and conduct their jobs remotely from home.

You may be worried about the work arrangement negatively affecting communication and other crucial business functions. Luckily, many tools are available to manage remote teams effectively. With this kind of work setup, you allow your employees to recuperate from the rigors of daily commutes and other things associated with attending a physical office.


5. Regularly evaluate and adjust initiatives

Your efforts to support mental health must not stop after implementing your chosen initiatives. It's ideal to continuously assess the effectiveness of your mental health strategies by collecting feedback and conducting surveys.

Armed with this valuable information, you can identify areas for improvement and make the necessary changes accordingly. Maintaining ongoing conversations with employees ensures that your mental health projects remain relevant and continue to address their ever-evolving needs.


In Conclusion

The work landscape has drastically changed compared to years past, and it's mostly for the better. Companies are now talking about and taking mental health more seriously.

Indeed, more and more workplaces are encouraging discussions about the subject of mental health and taking proactive measures to raise awareness and promote better overall health.

Understanding the causes of mental health issues in the workplace, such as burnout, will help to battle the issue and effectively maintain your business's healthy working environment.

Karl Pulanco is the Product Portfolio Manager for Yondu. He’s into photography which is not surprising as he is a travel junkie as well. While he enjoys working on product planning and custom software development, he has a soft spot for writing and occasionally contributes articles related to his work.