This is a major step forward in helping companies address mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Burnout is included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon.
According to the handbook, doctors can diagnose someone with burnout if they meet the following symptoms:
feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
reduced professional efficacy
Before making the call, doctors should first rule out adjustment disorder as well as anxiety and mood disorders.
This diagnosis is only to be considered within work environments, and shouldn’t be applied to other situations outside the professional environment.
Although most of us have at one time in our careers felt “burnout” this is a major step towards legitimising what employees have known for decades; it is real.
Not only is it real but it is serious. It can severely damage a person’s wellbeing along with business performance and in turn, the bottom line.
Why only now?
Although the classification came in 2019, the first examination of it as a phenomenon started four decades ago.
According to CNN, the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger coined the term in 1974. Since then, hundreds of studies have attempted to explain the condition, linking it to associated symptoms and conditions such as anxiety, stress and depression.
Burnout has become a real and bigger issue in recent years, and now that it’s classified as a mental health issue, people cannot afford to ignore the signs.
As a recruitment agency, we see this a lot where we have candidates come to us saying that they are burnt out in their current role.
We also find that with a lot of people and the “always-on” culture of the internet, that the expectation of employees to work longer and harder than ever before contributes to an effort-reward where they are praised for it reinforcing the habit.
Moving jobs isn’t always the answer. Addressing your burnout in an effective personal manner is.
What can be done?
First of all understanding, the problem can help you fix it.
The biggest question to ask initially is: Is it burnout, or is it stress? There is a difference, but with similar symptoms, it can be hard to know what you’re dealing with.
Refreshing your memory, the three symptoms of burnout are:
However, the mental signs of stress are (according to Mind):
Irritable, Aggressive, Impatient Or Wound Up
Anxious, Nervous Or Afraid
Like Your Thoughts Are Racing And You Can’t Switch Off
Unable To Enjoy Yourself
Uninterested In Life
Like You’ve Lost Your Sense Of Humour
A Sense Of Dread
Worried About Your Health
Neglected Or Lonely
The subtle differences between the two are what defines what you could be suffering from.
Please bear in mind, burnout is progressive and chronic. It slowly builds up until the point you cannot cope whilst stress can be much more of a short term issue or an associated symptom of burnout.
There are so many ways we can make things better for ourselves and for employees by drawing distinct lines between our professional and personal lives.
Have a frank, honest conversation with yourself (for personal) and with your employees (for business) and decide what the best options are for you to tackle burnout effectively.
Taking time for self-care is something we are passionate about here at Morgan Jones and providing a flexible and understanding work environment can drastically reduce the chances of your employees burning out.
Like with many mental health issues, there is no “one size fits all” approach to tackling burn out.
On a personal level, one of the most touted claims is for you to “switch off” from work however that comes in many different forms and guises.
Experiment and find the best way to eliminate burnout by being able to refresh yourself in your personal time.
Exercise, meditation and indulging in creative hobbies are all effective and commonly used to help people unwind from the pressure of the day.
An important note here: There needs to be a clear line between work and personal lives not only for our mental health but also for the betterment of one’s business.