Overcoming Burnout in 3 Simple Steps

Over the past few years, the definitions and processes of work radically shifted as we adapted to a global pandemic. Even though the storm has passed, many of us have experienced epiphanies about work and are rethinking our priorities in life.

This is very relevant as, according to a study by Instant Offices, Singaporeans are the most overworked in the APAC region, reaching an unhealthy average of 45 working hours per week. Consequently, 20% of us feel deenergised at work, 50% intend to leave their jobs and a staggering 85% feel “burnt out” this year, based on Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends Study. This burnout may explain why Singaporeans, especially the younger generations, have resonated with the global “quiet quitting” movement.

Quiet Quitting

This recent work life trend deemphasises hustle culture, stating that work should be relegated only to working hours and only within your job scope i.e., not going beyond the call of duty. While quiet quitting seems like it could provide us greater control over our work life balance, it comes at a cost.

By disengaging ourselves from work, we take less pride in it and stifle any sense of accomplishment we may find. Also, while quiet quitting stresses that you still meet KPIs, this is more difficult when one doesn’t care, and failure to do so can cause work to pile up. Colleagues may also be affected, which can strain working relationships.

Perhaps more importantly, bosses notice shifts in employee attitudes, especially negative shifts, which are perceived to result in less productivity. Besides adversely impacting your current job e.g., reduced promotion opportunities, this could limit future career options as your employers are less likely to recommend (or even speak favorably about) you.

Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

Lewis Garrad, Career Business Leader at Mercer Singapore, stated that over a third of Singapore’s HR leaders are making efforts to counter employee burnout. Despite this renewed focus, dealing with burnout is still very much dependent on our own efforts.

As quiet quitting and burnouts come with risks and dissatisfaction, we believe tackling the root cause (i.e. avoiding burnout) may be more effective instead.

Here are some essential tips that can help do so:

• Changing Your Role

Burnout is unpleasant and unhealthy, so it is no surprise that many professionals’ instinctively think of “escaping” their job, such as by quiet quitting or actually quitting. While resignation can have a positive outcome on your life, it can also cause great financial and career instability.

Instead of outright leaving, a change of pace, such as by transferring to a different role, may help you alleviate your stress and refocus. Doing so could also provide new and valuable experiences for your resume and improve your worklife balance while maintaining goodwill, unlike with quiet quitting.

• Proper Destressing

According to the World Health Organisation, burnout results from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Therefore, reevaluating how you destress could also improve your well-being, and its simpler and more effective than quiet quitting.

An example would be to try out new hobbies or destressing activities that you’ve put off or avoided. In addition to broadening your horizons, you can sometimes discover new passions or facets of yourself, which can be motivating.

• Your Employees Are Your Lifeline

The aforementioned Mercer 2022 Report also lists feeling unrewarded, work overload and uncertainty as significant contributors to burnout among Singaporeans. These factors are all within an organisation’s ability to manage and control, hence employers must also do their part to protect their employees from burnout. Not doing so can result in the reduced efficiency and eventual hemorrhaging of talent (and profit) in the long run.

Along with clear and regular communication, encouraging feedback and implementing it can instigate a sense of involvement among employees. Also, company policies should be continually revised to adapt to changing employee expectations and motivate your people away from burnout.

Is This Job for Me?

Even with the above tips, burnout may be inevitable in some cases. Ultimately, the best way to deal with burnout is not at all, and you might consider moving on to greener pastures instead.

According to global analytics and advice firm Gallup, happy employees are up to 14% more productive. Therefore, by valuing, appreciating and finding meaning in your work, you can improve your career development as well as personal fulfilment. By being engaged in your role, you might even begin to enjoy working, completely negating burnout and improving your physical and mental health.

Thus, finding the right job that fits you is paramount, and could positively influence your life.

The upcoming Jobscentral Virtual Career & Education Fair could be your ticket to finding jobs aligned with your values and suited to your interests, making work more meaningful and engaging for you. Featuring notable industry leaders and exclusive webinars, the Fair hosts a wide range of exhibitors, presenting career options that span multiple industries and education pathways that will lead you to jobs you are passionate about. In addition to learning from prominent speakers and thought leaders, you might even discover the career for you!