When Too Much Is Enough: New Study Uncovers Risk Factors For Burnout

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New study by Psychtests.com reveals that lack of job control and an excessive workload are just some of the risk factors that can result in employee burnout.

Believing that stress and burnout are “normal” at work is dangerously misleading.

Certain work factors can increase vulnerability to burnout – factors that can actually be reduced or managed.

When employees are exposed to stressors on a regular basis, their well-being is put at risk.

Stress is a fact of life. It’s a moral that has been drilled into people’s heads since they were children. But while hardships and struggles are a part of life, the belief that frequent stress is normal is a fallacy, and a dangerous one at that, particularly when it relates to chronic stress.

Researchers at Psychtests.com argue that while all employees are likely to go through difficult days at work, too many difficult days can build-up – and when stress is allowed to run rampant, it is more likely to lead to debilitating burnout.

Looking at data from 466 people who took their Burnout Test and who displayed strong signs of burnout, researchers at Psychtests.com uncovered 14 factors that could increase an employee’s risk of developing burnout:

  •     74% of the burned-out employees have no say in the decisions made at work, even when the decisions directly affect them.
  •     41% of the burned-out employees say that they have no control over the pace at which they need to complete tasks and assignments. Tight deadlines, conflicting priorities or stretch targets force them to work at an intense pace.
  •     53% of the burned-out employees indicate that they lack autonomy and independence at work, increasing their sense of helplessness over their circumstances.
  •     54% of the burned-out employees feel that their job lacks meaning. They don’t see how their effort and tasks plays a role in the success of the company, or make a difference on an organizational or worldly level.
  •     80% of the burned-out employees feel unappreciated at work. Management often fails to acknowledge or reward these employees after a job well done.
  •     82% of the burned-out employees have few if any friends at work, and lack the social support needed to cope with stress.
  •     When work becomes demanding, 65% of the burned-out employees are reluctant to speak up to their manager, or ask for help from colleagues.
  •     85% of the burned-out employees admit that they often keep their concerns and problems to themselves, rather than seeking out help or advice.
  •     65% of the burned-out employees lack the knowledge and skills needed to cope with stress in a productive manner.
  •     68% of the burned-out employees either don’t have enough leisure time, or fail to take advantage of their time off to relax and unwind.
  •     87% of the burned-out employees are overwhelmed by their workload, and feel compelled to take on more responsibilities than they can handle because others (colleagues, customers, management) make too many demands on their time.
  •     74% of the burned-out employees are workaholics, often taking work home or doing a lot of overtime hours.
  •     90% of the burned-out employees indicate that their job is emotionally demanding, often leading to feelings of anger, sadness, helplessness, or frustration.
  •     43% of the burned-out employees say that their job is physically demanding, making them feel drained and fatigued at the end of their work day.

“Burnout isn’t limited to jobs with an element of danger or trauma, like police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, psychologists or nurses,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “Jobs with demanding workloads, tight deadlines, extreme competitiveness among employees, micromanagers, or difficult customers can take an emotional and psychological toll on a person. The occasional acute stressor, like pushing hard to meet a deadline, is fine. But when employees are exposed to stressors on a regular basis, their well-being is put at risk.”

“Management may not be able to regulate all stressors, but they can take steps to reduce controllable ones. Include employees in the decision-making process, especially when the decision will affect them directly. Reduce the need for overtime by adding time buffers when creating project plans and establishing deadlines. Most importantly, offer your employees resources to help them manage their stress effectively. Companies that question the merit (and the cost) of implementing an Employee Assistance Program will only be creating more trouble for themselves the longer they put it off. The cost of absenteeism, low productivity, and work accidents as a result of stress far outweigh the cost of providing an EAP.”

Want to assess your burnout risk?

For people in service fields, check out: http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/2079

For people in non-service fields, check out: http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/2080

Professional users of this test can request a free demo for the BSS - NSF - R2 (Burnout Symptom Screener - For Non-Service Fields - 2nd Revision) or BSS - SF - R2 (Burnout Symptom Screener - For Service Fields - 2nd Revision) or any other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr

About PsychTests.com
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com). The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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Ilona Jerabek, PhD
PsychTests AIM Inc.
+1 514-745-3189 Ext: 112
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