Joel Kintu was asked to sit in for his colleague who was taking annual leave. Unfortunately for Kintu, his colleague left a lot of pending work on his desk so he had to work triple in order to meet his employer’s expectations.
Because he had little time to complete his and his colleague’s workload, Kintu resorted to working longer hours and eating as he worked.
The situation was not any better at home. His wife had just given birth, leaving no room for rest. By the end of the second week, Kintu’s output dropped because he was always sleepy and tired. Subsequently, he lost his job.
Kintu is just one of the many people that experience burn out. Statistics indicate that three out of 10 people experience burn out.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, burnout is defined as a physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.
Dr Brian Musinguzi of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital says the commonest cause of burnout is too much workload coupled with less hours of rest.
“It’s more common among people who use their brains especially those that work using computers as compared physical workload,” he says.
However, Dr Musinguzi says burn out can also be caused by ‘not working smart’ and the thought that an employee is not treated fairly at the workplace.
Though mainly caused by factors beyond one’s control, Dr Musinguzi says burn out can also be self-inflicted.
“In the quest of career goals and better income, some people do more work hereafter becoming overcommitted and finding themselves on the road to burnout,” he says.
Since it’s not easily recognisable, Juliet Mpiima, the Vivo Energy human resources manager, says burn out can be spotted when there is a clear difference in an employee’s attitude towards work, colleagues and supervisers.
“The relationships at work becomes strained and the productivity reduces. A burnt out staff will be irritable, and can easily snap when having the usual work discussions, or even with a client or supplier,” she explains.
To prevent burn out, Dr Musinguzi aises people to maximise their breaks without undertaking anymore work engagements.
“Don’t go for lunch with your gadgets and work as you eat because your brains will not rest,” he aises.
He also discourages people from working while hungry because this drains their glucose yet the brain depends on glucose to function well.
“When you work hungry, the body starts burning fats for survival which is risky.”
Since burn out is caused by work-related issues, Ms Mpiima aises that employers promote work-life balance aspects.
This should start during the recruitment process.
“An organisation should ensure to hire the right person for a particular role so that matters pertaining to work assignments and delivery are not beyond their capability,” she said.
Afterwards, she says, ensuring clear performance management practices and reinforcing of team engagements for synergy and alignment is key.
Since work without play makes Jack a dull boy, Ms Mpiima aises that it’s important to dedicate time to social activities for staff and their families. These could range from sports activities, corporate events participation, diners and camping activities.
How to recover from burn out
Take enough rest.
Get a bed rest of 48 hours to rest the brains. Also, make time for sufficient rest and balanced regeneration.
Evaluate your priorities.
Find out what is most important to you. Much as family, relationships, your job and good health near the top of their list, these are likely to suffer if you are burned out. Make a tough choice and eliminate any of the above tasks causing you to burnout.
Simplify your life.
To reduce stress and gain time for what you truly value, you may consider working fewer hours. Persuade your employer to reduce your current job demands, or you may consider changing jobs.
Learn when to say no to work.
If you face a big workload or some other persistent problem in your workplace, discuss your situation with your employer. Where possible, offer solutions that meet both your needs and those of your employer
SOURCE: Daily Monitor