5 Signs You and Your Employees Are Experiencing Burnout – and How to Overcome It

Not only does burnout lead to physical and mental illness, it can also lead to business closures and loss of jobs. But incorporating freelancers into your labour force can greatly help to prevent burnout.
Carolyne Njeri

Carolyne Njeri

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Although managing your own business is highly rewarding and comes with incredible benefits, it often involves a lot of juggling. Entrepreneurs have had to become adept at handling large workloads, resolving incessant business-related issues, navigating the difficult path to business success while at the same time, remaining beacons to their workforce. This extreme pressure, compounded with the high-achiever standard that entrepreneurs aspire to and a common chronic inability to delegate makes running a business even harder. This translates to long hours at the office, strained relationships with loved ones and susceptibility to stress-induced illnesses.

While working hard can be crucial to the short term success of a business, lacking the proper work-life balance for sustained periods usually has unwanted repercussions. Your drive to succeed can inadvertently trickle down to your employees turning your workspace into a melting point of stress and frustration. This is usually the onset of workplace burnout, which is defined as “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.”

A recent study found that entrepreneurs are more at risk of experiencing burnout because of their high passion for their work. While passion is on most occasions an innocuous motivating force, it can turn dark quickly if it veers into obsession. Another study carried out by the Harvard Business Review determined that 25% of the entrepreneurs interviewed were experiencing burnout at the time and that there was a 50% chance that business owners would experience burnout at one point in their lives.

What are the signs of burnout?

Because the signs of burnout are not usually apparent, they can easily be misinterpreted as normal stress and can therefore go a long time undetected. However, burnout is actually so serious that in 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as a clinical disorder. The good news is, there are some tell-tale signs that can help you identify and manage burnout before it goes into uncharted territory. Be on the lookout for the following signs.

1. A decline in job performance

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People experiencing burnout report that they sometimes lack the motivation to do even a little bit of work. Going to the office becomes a Herculean task that requires an insurmountable level of effort to do. Even tasks that were once simple and brought on a sense of accomplishment lack the appeal they once held. As such, it might take you more time than usual to get through your normal to-do list. You might even get into the dangerous habit of procrastinating. Eventually, work piles up, you’re under pressure to meet deadlines and you brush through your work in a zombie-like trance which makes your output dissatisfactory. Monitoring the quality of your work over time is usually a good way to self-assess. If there is a sharp decline in your performance, you may be on the verge of burnout.

2. Wearing too many hats

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Some things are facts: the sky is blue, the grass is green and entrepreneurs are poor delegators. You might be among the many entrepreneurs that subscribe to the thought that if you want something done well you have to do it yourself, so you try to undertake as many tasks as you can at one time. But because you are human and you have a finite mental capacity, these tasks might quickly overwhelm you and cause you to fall into a slump. In the long run, this is detrimental to your health and that of your business.

3. Constant exhaustion

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Medical experts agree that this is usually the first and most conspicuous sign of burnout. No matter how many hours of shut-eye you get in the night, you are always tired. This is how you know that your business has begun to take a toll on your physical health. Chronic exhaustion rears its head because you repeatedly try to extend yourself beyond your means. In your pursuit of perfection and success, you leave little room for rest.

4. Alienation from your work and your employees

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You no longer feel any connection to your business. You clock into the office just to watch the hours slip by so you can go back home. You get no satisfaction from undertaking the tasks that would otherwise fill you with contentment. You are at your workplace because you have to be there and you avoid all interaction with people if it is possible. Or you might be on the other side of the spectrum, too busy doing task after task that you lack the time to revel in your success or even touch base with your coworkers. No matter what side you are on, these are signs that you are doing too much and need to take a step back.

5. Dealing with physical ailments

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Burnout can eventually manifest itself in the form of illnesses or physical disorders if it goes unchecked for a long time. If you are constantly exhibiting signs such as insomnia, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, digestive issues, headaches or chest pains, it is advisable to check whether they can be stemming from your business. The high-pressure situations inherent in entrepreneurship can have lasting negative effects if not handled on time.

The solution? Hiring freelancers

It is evident from the signs of burnout that the common denominator is pressure. There are several ways to relieve pressure in the workplace but the most effective of all is workload balance. When the workload is overwhelming, people tend to exert themselves too much, resulting in burnout. But this can easily be relieved by relying on a freelance workforce to handle emerging tasks while you and your employees focus on the core functions of your business.

Freelancers are a stable and reliable workforce that can help prevent you and your employees from being overworked. A study by Xero found out that businesses can increase their success rate by 20% if their owners learn how to delegate. And what is a better way to delegate than to bring highly skilled, seasoned freelancers into your fold? Also, 23% of business owners find it hard to delegate because they can’t find the right person for the job. But seeking out qualified freelancers from market places such as Ureed.com will make finding your perfect hire a non-issue. 

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With close to 35,000 freelancers on the platform, you can rest easy because you are assured that whatever task you have at hand, you will be connected to a competent worker. Freelancers are lauded for having a quick turnaround time and consistently high quality of output. Because they are extremely flexible and not governed by conventional work hours, they are also well suited to manage the stress brought on by a fast-paced business environment.

Summing up

Even though stress is a normal part of running a successful business, if it goes on for long without being addressed it can morph into burnout. Not only does burnout lead to physical and mental illness, it can also lead to business closures and loss of jobs. But incorporating freelancers into your labour force can greatly help to prevent burnout because they relieve you of unnecessary pressure. Register on Ureed.com to find qualified freelancers and help your business fight burnout.

If you want to start hiring freelancers now, reach out to Ureed.com – the GCC’s largest freelance marketplace with over 35K vetted freelance experts across 150+ industries.