Burnout at work appears to be an increasingly severe problem for US employees. An article by Vavra (2019), “Burnout is an Official Medical Diagnosis Under WHO Handbook Updates,” provides a brief description of burnout according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) handbook. Moreover, the author recounts symptoms and contributing factors, as well as possible medical conditions that can be caused by this mental issue if left unresolved. Therefore, this article presents practical information allowing managers to obtain the necessary knowledge on such a widespread problem and motivation for workplace environment improvement.
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WHO defines burnout as a specific syndrome that forms in the context of severe work stress experienced for a prolonged time. The inclusion of this condition in the International Classification of Diseases will allow medical professionals to recognize and manage this state before it leads to significant health complications. The author mentions the following symptoms: “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion increased mental distance from a person’s job or feeling negative or cynical in relation to work and reduced efficacy” (Vavra, 2019, para 4). It should be noted that these signs are relevant to the diagnosis only in the work context, and this condition is distinct from other mental disorders.
There are contributing factors that can worsen the psychological state of an employee, such as lack of autonomy and peer support, unstable workplace dynamics, mixed job demands, and disrupted work-life balance. People with monotonous jobs and extreme workloads are at higher risk of developing symptoms of burnout. Being in such a state without appropriate mitigating measures may lead to feelings of sadness, anxiety, and anger, along with consequent fatigue, insomnia, and possible substance abuse. Experiencing burnout chronically is associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and general susceptibility to different illnesses.
The first step to address such a problem should be inducing and promoting employees’ awareness of both personal needs and healthy mental practices. This can be encouraged by relevant information on self-care and adequate training. If an employee’s responsibilities appear to be a potent and constant stressor, he or she should feel motivated and entitled to discuss this issue with the supervisor. A simple act of bringing attention to the matter makes it possible for managers to offer a solution or help employees to prioritize their tasks.
The costs of poor mental state and benefits of a burnout-free environment are essential not only for workers but for business owners as well. Staff meetings and group events are valuable methods of establishing good communications among workers within the organization. Moreover, creating schedule opportunities for taking breaks and participating in quick, unwinding activities will foster wellness in the workplace and create a positive atmosphere. Undoubtedly, employees’ vacations can take their toll on business operations. Still, in the long run, the guaranteed possibility for a person to have some time away from work can further strengthen measures of burnout prevention.
In summary, adding work burnout to the list of WHO-recognized disorders establishes a firm ground for better management of such a prevalent mental health problem. Work-related stress is often a part of many jobs in the service sector, including health care professionals. It is crucial to address the contributing factors and manage the working environment in a timely manner at any organizational level. Therefore, appropriate steps should be arranged and enrolled on both the employee and the employer’s side.
Vavra, K. (2019). Burnout is an official medical diagnosis under WHO handbook updates. Daily News. Web.