How New Research Proves High Engagement Increases Risk of Burnout

Highly engaged employees are at higher risk of burnout. 7/10 employees have reported they don’t feel engaged in their work, according to a study by Gallup.


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Do you love what you do? Do you feel connected to the mission of the organization you work for? Have you given up weekends and family time to go the extra mile because you care about the company?

If you answered yes to all these questions, chances are you are a highly engaged employee. The kind that managers are looking for. This means great things for you, of course, lots of promotions, a pay hike, and the possibility of burnout.

Risk Of Burnout

How? A study by Harvard Business Review found that 1 in 5 highly engaged employees is at risk of burnout. Characterized by high levels of stress that resulted in depression, sleep deprivation, physical and mental exhaustion.

They studied the levels of engagement among 1000 U.S Employees. For the most part, two out of five employees reported high engagement and low risk of burnout. For them, it was a positive experience at work. However, 1 out of every 5 of them said they experienced high engagement and high burnout. These employees were so engaged that it increased the chances of burnout.

This should not be surprising since the work culture of Silicon Valley emphasizes so much the importance of engagement. Many companies encourage workers to be a part of a mission or bigger goal that drives them to bring positive change to the organization. To achieve this, long work hours and little to no holidays are taking their toll. While stretch goals have proven to be effective in increasing engagement, they are one of the reasons that highly engaged employees are at risk of burn out.

Burnout is a feeling of exhaustion (both mental and physical) induced by high stress and work-related anxiety. Instead of feeling fulfilled, individuals are likely to feel demotivated. And have a higher chance of quitting, the opposite feeling of what management and workers themselves want.

Another study by Harvard Business Review found that 50% of employees in the U.S feel the need to check their emails after 11 pm to keep up with work. This kind of high engagement harms employee motivation and enthusiasm for their jobs. If you feel the need to be so involved with work that you barely have any time for yourself or your family. It’s time to reevaluate your priorities.

That’s not to say you should be less engaged. It is more about creating some balance in your life and drawing boundaries between high engagement and overwork.

Consider the importance of a work-life balance. Driven individuals need to give themselves time to rest, recover, and recuperate to deliver results companies like.

That happens when you find a balance between your personal and professional life.

What can employers do to help employees find work-life balance? 

 Risk of Burn out

1. Flexible Working Hours

It is great for people with varying styles of work. Some people are more productive early in the morning, while some are night owls. Not only would you be making the best of their abilities, but you will ensure high engagement with a lower risk of burnout.

2. Part-Time Working Contracts

They are becoming more popular, as some work doesn’t need employees to be at the office all day. It’s also less stressful.

3. Alternate Working Days

Offering employees the option to come to the office on alternate days would give them more freedom to find balance.

4. Health Benefits

Many companies now do health checks to review the risk of burnout amongst engaged employees, like Hitachi. Organizations can also provide incentives to employees that take time off from work when the stress is too high.

But employers can’t do all the work. You need to actively seek out a work-life balance. But how?

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Say no, you don’t have to accept every project that comes your way.

Set goals you can achieve. After all, you know how much you can do, don’t overwork yourself.

Resist the urge to check your mails over the weekend or during your free time. You need boundaries.

To reduce the risk of burnout, and improve your work-life balance, start using your holidays and paid leaves. The break from work would do wonders to reduce stress and keep you motivated. Think of it as a reward for working so hard, don’t you deserve it?

Your career growth and health both matter. It’s as much your responsibility as your employers to ensure a work-life balance and that you don’t burn out. It’s a shared responsibility because, in the end, you need to find a way to balance your life so that you stay engaged smartly.

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