Burnout is a reality in the world of work and occurs as the result of chronic stress (stress that is repeatedly faced). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is not a “medical condition”, but has been listed in the International Classification of Diseases as an “occupational phenomenon” since 2019. The symptoms of burnout are many, but the most common include extreme exhaustion, both physical and mental, insomnia, change in appetite, difficulty in concentrating, feelings of incompetence, among others.
Six triggers that may lead to burnout
Researchers identified six main triggers that may lead to burnout:
1 – Workload: how sustainable the amount and level of your work are over time.
2 – Control: Do you have autonomy in your work, flexible hours, and can choose which projects you work on? The less control you have, the more likely you are to burn out.
3 – Reward: Are you recognized for your contributions, both monetarily and socially?
4 – Community: Do you receive support at work? Do you have healthy work relationships?
5 – Fairness: Do you feel that you and your work colleagues are treated with respect? A respectful workplace generally creates the feeling that work decisions are fair and just.
6 – Values: Do you connect with your work at a deeper level?
The two-minute burnout test
You now know the main reasons that can lead to burnout at work, but how do you know if you’re reaching your limit? A simple and quick activity can help you monitor your burnout status.
Created by Canadian writer and productivity consultant Chris Bailey, this test was developed to evaluate how close the author might be to burnout. Of course, if you are feeling the symptoms of burnout, seeking a healthcare professional is essential and should be done immediately. This activity only serves to provide an overview of how you are feeling at a given time and show whether you are heading in the right direction.
How does the test work in practice?
To take the test, decide how much stress, on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 being insignificant stress, 10 being extreme stress), you experience from each of the six factors of burnout. For example, if you are finding it hard to connect with colleagues after an extended period working from home, you might attribute an 8 to community. On the other hand, you might rate workload as a 2 if you have a lot of activities, but find the number of tasks manageable. You can use the following table to test this activity.
Your score — the sum of all dimensions out of 60 — shows how you are doing at the moment. Although the total number of points is important, your scores in each of the six categories are more useful. They can help you understand what needs to be improved for each factor.
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