Unfortunately, we live in an era where burnout is becoming increasingly common. Burnout is an expression of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion commonly caused by ongoing work-related stress. As a leader, you are responsible for looking after your team and managing issues such as team burnout. To do this, you will need to empathetically observe your team and offer support to reduce the impact of burnout. Here you will find some practical approaches to tackle the issue and beat team burnout once and for all.

Gauge Stress Levels Within Your Team


When it comes to beating burnout, prevention is better than cure, and early interventions can prevent the issue from worsening. Look to periodically assess stress levels within your team. This will allow you to identify signs of burnout amongst individuals so you can take remedial action.

There are several ways you can gauge stress levels within your team. If it is appropriate, allocate time during a team meeting to discuss stress levels as a collective. This way, you can benefit from group discussion and get multiple ideas for resolving any issues. Be mindful, though, that some people may not feel comfortable speaking out about their personal feelings and experiences in a group environment.

A more individualised approach can be taken by creating a short survey which you can then distribute to individuals within your team. Ask questions such as:

  • How overwhelmed do you currently feel at work, on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the highest)?
  • How many days last week did you respond to emails outside of your working hours?
  • How many days last week did you work more hours than you should?
  • How productive do you feel this week on a scale of 1 to 5?
  • How supported do you feel at work, on a scale of 1 to 5?
working hours

You can also give space for individuals to state any concerns they have or perhaps any suggestions they have for reducing stress or burnout at work.

To encourage honesty in responses, carefully approach the subject and make it clear you want to help and improve things for everyone. Express concern for people’s wellbeing and show compassion for their experiences. This alone can begin to help people recover from the effects of burnout because it can shift perceptions away from feelings of hopelessness or inadequacy.

Create Small Weekly Goals as a Team


It can be really effective to tackle the problem of burnout as a team. This lets people know they’re not alone and provides a support network for everyone within the team. Keep stress management on the agenda and consider creating small weekly goals as a team.

Perhaps you could carve out some time each morning for a short team meditation or mindfulness session. While some team members may be less likely to make time for self-care practices like this, doing it as a group ensures that everyone benefits.

Other ideas for team goals include:

  • Everyone leaving on time for at least 3 days a week
  • Everyone to take all their allocated breaks each day
  • Everyone to take a walk away from their desk for at least 10 minutes at lunchtime
  • Monthly scheduled team building or reward days
  • Ending team meetings 10 minutes early to allow everyone a breather before their next task
  • Beginning all team meetings with 5 minutes of stretching or mindfulness
break times

Look to create goals that are appropriate for your team and environment and that are achievable for all.

Tackling burnout as a team will help to build crucial relationships within your team, which can in itself act as a buffer to work-related stress.


Offer Strategies for Overcoming Burnout


While you shouldn’t try to force participation in activities aimed at relieving symptoms of burnout, it’s a good idea to provide a range of optional solutions and be encouraging with these. People will be more likely to engage if they feel a sense of agency and autonomy in the process.

Encourage exercise and relaxation breaks, mental health days and mindfulness practices. Demonstrate your belief in these practices and encourage participation by practising them yourself. Perhaps send a regular email with tips and advice for beating stress and burnout. You could introduce new wellbeing practices here too.


Consider Structural Solutions


In order to beat team burnout it’s important to get a good understanding of the causes of burnout within your team so you can treat the issues appropriately. Perhaps you are understaffed? Perhaps there is too much pressure to meet deadlines or make sales? Perhaps your office location is difficult to get to? There could be many factors impacting stress levels within your team. The best way to determine this is by engaging with your team and asking questions, whether in person or via anonymous surveys.

Once you know the causes, you can consider any structural solutions that may be helpful. Consider adjusting company rules or processes to give people more choices in how they work or more community support. This may include things like:

  • Facilitating remote or flexible working
  • Rearranging workspaces
  • Providing community and recreational spaces
  • Facilitating greater collaboration
  • Investing in better systems or technology
  • Facilitating job or task sharing
  • Rotating tedious or low-value tasks around the team
Collobaration to reduce team burnout

Following these tips consistently will not only mean you beat team burnout, but also help you create a culture within your team where wellbeing is prioritised, and people feel valued. This, in turn, will help to restore a sense of drive and optimism amongst team members, which will benefit both individuals and the company.