Butler & Davis Consulting LLC

Identifying the Warning Signs of Burnout in Your Employees

Burnout has become a major issue for both employees and organizations in the corporate world of today. Burnout can occur for a variety of reasons, including an unbalanced work-life balance, high expectations at work, unhealthy workplace interactions, working in an emotionally draining field, or just feeling out of control (Lam et al., 2022). 75% of employees have experienced burnout (Lam et al., 2022). The recent stress brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak has not helped since 40% of employees claim to have burned out specifically because of the pandemic (Lam et al., 2022). 

Burnout is a complex phenomenon characterized by emotions of skepticism and detachment from one’s work, physical and emotional tiredness, and decreased performance (Maslach et al., 2001). Burnout can be difficult to identify in the context of large businesses with huge bureaucracies due to the layers of hierarchy and impersonal structures. To lessen the effects of burnout, however, it is essential for leaders to recognize the early warning signals and take action.

Red Flag 1

An employee’s performance and engagement levels noticeably declining is one of the most clear signs of burnout.

Prevention Method 1

An effective leader should foster a climate of open communication to combat fatigue. One thing leaders can do is encourage regular one-on-one sessions with staff members to give them a forum for talking about their issues. It is crucial for leaders to actively listen during these discussions in order to understand the underlying causes of burnout. Leaders can stop burnout from worsening by addressing problems while they are still small.’

Red Flag 2

An increase in employee lateness and absenteeism is another glaring indicator of burnout. Leaders may blame such behavior on a lack of dedication or discipline in bureaucratic organizations with rigorous attendance standards. 

Prevention Method 2

However, burnout can cause issues with physical and mental health, increasing the likelihood of absence among workers (Schaufeli & Taris, 2014). When it is practical, leaders of large firms should implement flexible work arrangements to address this problem proactively. Employees can achieve a better work-life balance and lower stress levels by being given the option to work remotely or with flexible hours. These arrangements also show empathy and trust, which strengthens a positive corporate atmosphere.

Red Flag 3

Employees who are experiencing burnout frequently display mood fluctuations, impatience, and a rise in disputes with coworkers. Such emotional shifts can interfere with team interactions and lower morale generally, which is bad in organizations with bureaucratic systems in particular (Leiter & Maslach, 2005).

Prevention Method 3

The availability of stress management programs, wellness initiatives, and access to counseling services is something that leaders should think about. Employees’ stress can be managed by encouraging them to take regular breaks, engage in mindfulness practices, and maintain a good work-life balance (Schonfeld & Bianchi, 2016).

Indeed, finding and treating burnout in employees is crucial for keeping a motivated and effective staff in large bureaucratic businesses. The first step in preventing burnout is to recognize its warning signs, which can often be confused with defiance. These include declining performance and engagement, rising absenteeism and lateness, and observable mood swings and irritability. By encouraging open communication, introducing flexible work schedules, and supporting stress management and well-being, leaders can develop a holistic prevention and intervention plan for employee burnout. These initiatives not only assist the workers but also the organization’s general well-being and long-term viability.

preventing staff burnout


Lam, L. T., Lam, M. K., Reddy, P., & Wong, P. (2022). Factors associated with work-related burnout among corporate employees amidst COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health19(3), 1295.

Leiter, M. P., & Maslach, C. (2005). Banishing burnout: Six strategies for improving your relationship with work. Jossey-Bass.

Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual Review of Psychology, 52(1), 397-422.

Schaufeli, W. B., & Taris, T. W. (2014). A critical review of the job demands-resources model: Implications for improving work and health. In Bridging occupational, organizational, and public health (pp. 43-68). Springer.

Schonfeld, I. S., & Bianchi, R. (2016). Burnout and depression: Two entities or one? Journal of Clinical Psychology, 72(1), 22-37.