In the latest HCI Webinar, Dr. Jonathan H. Westover talks with Alfred Ishak about the causes, consequences, and solutions for burnout in the workplace. Below is a summary of the main points from their conversation! Check out the full episode and let us know what you think!
Watch the episode here:
Workplace Burnout Amid Pandemic
Jonathan and Alfred discussed the issue of burnout in the workplace, particularly in the context of the pandemic. Jonathan mentioned his personal experience juggling work and homeschooling, while Alfred brought up the challenges faced by parents in managing their children's education and socialization. Alfred emphasized that his work at Human 8, a global consultancy, adds a unique perspective to the conversation. The discussion also highlighted the need for balance between competing priorities and creating a healthy workplace environment.
Burnout in Remote Work
Alfred and Jonathan discussed the prevalence of burnout in the current social and economic climate. They agreed that the rise of remote work and the economic conditions have created an environment where burnout has become more apparent. Jonathan highlighted the ongoing impacts of social, political, and economic strife, as well as the challenges of adapting to new work arrangements, adding to this cumulative effect. Alfred emphasized the need for organizational leaders to recognize the far-reaching impact of burnout.
Burnout Signs and Support Strategies
Jonathan and Alfred discussed the signs of burnout that organizational leaders should be aware of, including exhaustion, detachment from work, ineffectiveness, and negativity. They emphasized the importance of identifying high performers who are experiencing these symptoms disproportionately, and not simply dismissing them as poor performers. Jonathan shared his personal experience with burnout and the benefit of a sabbatical, highlighting the need for proactive measures to support team members. The conversation concluded with a consideration of ways leaders can step in and provide the necessary support to help great performers recover from burnout.
Burnout: A Cultural, Not Just Employee, Issue
Alfred and Jonathan discussed the issue of burnout in the workplace, emphasizing that it is not solely an employee issue, but a cultural one that requires systemic change at an organizational level. Alfred highlighted that leaders have a crucial role in acknowledging and addressing the root causes of burnout, which often include unrealistic workloads, unreasonable timelines, lack of clarity on expectations, and poor communication. Jonathan pointed out the inconsistencies in how administration or executive leadership handles different situations, which can lead to burnout. They concluded that leaders must role model the right behaviors, set clear expectations, and hold people accountable to prevent burnout.
Workplace Frustrations and Solutions
Jonathan expressed his frustration with the current work environment, feeling hindered and unsupported. Alfred acknowledged these concerns and highlighted the importance of leaders taking responsibility for creating a positive workplace. Alfred suggested that setting an inspiring vision, creating a supportive and open work environment underpinned by psychological safety and accountability, and investing in wellness programs could help alleviate these issues. Jonathan agreed with these points.
Burnout Prevention Strategies
Jonathan and Alfred wrapped up their conversation by discussing the issue of burnout. Alfred advised that, when feeling burnt out, one should acknowledge their feelings, take care of themselves, prioritize rest and exercise, and seek support from managers and mentors. He also suggested finding efficiencies in tasks that drain energy, delegating tasks, and evaluating options if the situation doesn't improve. Lastly, he emphasized the importance of taking steps to become the best version of oneself.
Listen to the webinar here: