The World Health Organization offers this burnout definition: “A syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

Knowing this definition can help us understand that organizational management and company culture play key parts in preventing workplace burnout. When organizations focus on cultivating a culture of well-being, they protect employees and companies from the impacts of burnout. By creating awareness and addressing this issue proactively, employers have an opportunity to create teams that are more productive and successful overall.

According to Gallup polls, “Organizations are facing an employee burnout crisis. A recent Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. That means about two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job.” (Wigert & Argawal, 2020)

  1. Difficulty focusing, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed
  2. Physical symptoms, tension, digestion issues
  3. Loss of motivation, lack of focus on goals
  4. Negative feelings about their job
  5. Isolating or irritability towards others
  6. Decreased satisfaction with work
  7. Reduced professional efficacy

Symptoms can range from being subtle to extreme, and they often build up over time.  Watching for signs of burnout, creating an open space for communication, and taking action on early warning signs can prevent burnout from turning into a full-blown meltdown.

Now, some people might experience burnout or get close to burnout without recognizing the signs in themselves. Opening communication around the topic of burnout and addressing the importance of well-being can be powerful ways to create proactive awareness around burnout, support your employees, and protect the organization from the future impacts of employee burnout.

The Effects of Employee Burnout

According to Gallup, employees who say they very often or always experience burnout at work are:

  • 63% more likely to take a sick day
  • Half as likely to discuss how to approach performance goals with their manager
  • 23% more likely to visit the emergency room
  • 6 times as likely to leave their current employer
  • 13% less confident in their performance

So, what are two of the most important things organizations can do to protect themselves and their employees from experiencing burnout?

  1. Make well-being part of your company’s culture.
  • Model well-being by walking your talk and showing employees that well-being and preventing burnout are practices that the company not only encourages, but models through practice.
  • Educate employees and management teams on the importance of well-being through ongoing training and educational materials.
  • Find ways to incorporate well-being practices into company culture and policies.
    • Ex: offer 5 minutes of stress reduction practices during regular meeting times.
  1. Empower your managers to prevent burnout.
  • Engage in active communication and check-ins with employees.
  • Provide space for feedback and opportunities for employees to engage in their areas of interest and professional growth.
  • Offer employees projects that align with their strengths and areas of interest.
  • Offer education programs for staff and management to become more mindful of how they are managing their stress levels, habits, and overall well-being.

(Wigert & Argawal, 2020)

When it comes to addressing these five elements, opening the communication and conversations around preventing burnout is a great place to begin. Focus on the positive aspects of company culture and promote well-being through leadership, support, and resources.

There is evolving research that is paving the way to further educate employers and organizations about ways to improve overall levels of employee well-being. Stay in tune with what Gallup and other organizations are learning in terms of preventing burnout.


Lucid Lane is dedicated to empowering people with pain and substance use to live a better & healthier life.

Wigert, B., & Argawal, S. (2020). Employee Burnout. Gallup. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/237059/employee-burnout-part-main-causes.aspx


If you have any questions about how VEST can help you improve your culture and provide your employees with the emotional resources they need through our Proactive-EAP, don’t hesitate to contact us at (385) 205-6789 or go@vesteap.com.

We are here to help!

Disclaimer: VEST content is not therapy and is not designed to diagnose or treat any condition you may be experiencing. Please contact a medical or mental health professional for treatment that is specific to your needs.