Burnout is an exception at more typical times. In the COVID era, this almost seems to be the norm.

According to Jennifer Moss, organizations should look in the mirror carefully to cultivate a culture of overwork that only makes things worse. An author, speaker, and workplace health expert wrote Burnout Epidemic: Chronic Stress Rises and How We Can Fix It to help put the brakes on this crisis before we all fall into the wall.

Moss talked about how to deal with the pandemic safe and sound. The edited excerpts are shown below.

Q: You have researched how people are feeling now. What have you found?

A: During the second wave of COVID, we found that only 2% of people rated their well-being as excellent, and 89% said their work-life was deteriorating. We expected people to be exhausted, work more hours a day, and lose efficiency.

But we also found that cynicism is really high: people begin to feel that they have no control over the results. This is really dangerous.

Q: How do you specifically define burnout?

A: It is chronic stress in the workplace that cannot be controlled. There are six main reasons: unsustainable workloads, perceived lack of control, inadequate rewards for efforts, lack of a supportive community, lack of fairness, and a mismatch in values ​​and skills.

Q: Companies know something big is going on, so are they doing enough?

A: Leaders are concerned about people leaving, so they’ve added several wellbeing strategies to their portfolio. This put the employees in the driver’s seat; for example, we’ve seen many companies delay returning to the workplace. Self-help strategies can be helpful, but sometimes they are a patch for a much larger problem that needs to be addressed initially.

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Q: What should companies do to prevent burnout?

A: They need to understand the root causes of the workload. Giving people a day off is fine, but you also need to lower your expectations for productivity.

Having a culture of overwork doesn’t make people more efficient, but makes them nauseous. Companies need to give people more freedom to choose how and when they return to work, pay people what they deserve, compensate them if they work overtime, and make sure they are promoting people for the right reasons.

Lack of fairness is a big problem here because young people feel that there is no way for them.

Q: What can people do to make sure they don’t work from scratch?

A: Organizations have a huge responsibility for burnout, but employees can also be part of the solution. We can do a lot of work to determine if we are burning out, such as how often we feel drained, detached, and cynical. Then we need to start thinking about relaxing things like taking breaks every couple of hours, doing a digital detox, going outside, playing music.

Set boundaries on how you respond to emails and manage customer expectations so that things don’t always seem so urgent.

Q: Leaders also burn out. How can they manage these feelings?

A: We have never had such a collective trauma where every person goes through it. We all feel fear and social anxiety, and the same can be said for leaders.

Show self-compassion, be transparent with your team and don’t worry about appearing vulnerable. You, too, have something going on, and employees cannot be what they cannot see, so model the behavior. If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot help the team.

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Q: Have you personally experienced burnout?

A: It was really difficult. We must give ourselves the opportunity to act not as effective as before. We are tired, and this is nothing normal.

I really tried to follow my own rules and find moments for myself – sitting outside, reading fiction, walking the dog in nature.

I knew the only way to deal with this and keep my kids healthy was to get the job done. And it helped.

Each day, each of us should look back on the past year, pat ourselves on the shoulder and say, “I did it.”

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