When a job loses its fizz

Job-related ‘burnout’ now figures in World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases. WHO’s classification of ‘burnout’ as a medical condition should hopefully encourage the corporate world to be more proactive in dealing with it.

To be proactive, employees, especially line managers, should be able to identify signs of a burnout in their colleagues. There should be an employee assistance programme specifically targeting this problem, with the emphasis on creating awareness about the various ways in which it can show up.

Aarti Shyamsunder, an organisational psychologist and founder of Psymantics Consulting, says a manager needs to be on the lookout for “systematic” signs.

“Frequent absenteeism due to health-related issues or other reasons should be investigated,” she says. Some companies engage in employee engagement survey, which must be studied for tell-tale patterns.

“For all of this to be done effectively, the manager has to be trained and empowered,” she adds.

Often, a burnout can result from lack of clarity about a role. When key performance areas are not clearly defined, there is the possibility of engaged and enterprising employees overdoing it, and ending up in a burnout.

Aarti says, “The line manager plays an important role by setting clears goals and responsibilities.”

There is no end to how creatively you can address this issue. Debleena Majumdar, director, Gray Matters Capital and co-founder Kahaniyah, believes storytelling can help deal with burnout-related problems at the workplace. At the workshops that she conducts for corporates, she uses anti-stories, which she says are specially helpful in today’s context when companies are going through organisational restructuring and downsizing their workforce as a result of it. She says “fear of irrelevance” is a cause of stress and burnout. Debleena says that they conduct multiple levels of this exercise where people are encouraged to come up with versions of a story that is doing the rounds at their company, and help them create a positive attitude towards the development.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 12:14:31 PM |

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