Job burnout is more than just feeling tired or under pressure at work. It’s a particular kind of job stress — “a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work,” per the Mayo Clinic.
This issue is complex, but there are some simple things workers can do to help combat it. Taking a vacation once in a while, for example, could help a lot. However, according to the results of a new survey from CareerBuilder, one in three Americans aren’t planning to take any kind of vacation this year, even though the majority of them are stressed.
Feelings of Job Burnout Shouldn’t Be Ignored
Burnout doesn’t go away on its own. It gets worse until the issue is addressed. Taking time away from work gives the mind and body the time and distance needed to rest, relax, and recover from stress.
Vacations do something else too. They allow the job stress to melt away enough that we’re able to think more clearly and therefore begin to address some of the larger issues connected with the burnout. People don’t think as clearly when they’re stressed.
Stress impacts memory and other cognitive functions. Taking a vacation allows workers to recover. This, in turn, allows them to find further solutions: Perhaps a different schedule would help? Maybe the job is more meaningful than it seemed to be during a period of high stress? Perhaps having a conversation with a manager about how teams are structured could reduce some of the difficulties?
Taking a vacation allows stressed workers to address the problem in both the short- and long-term.
Yet, Many Workers Who Experience Burnout Don’t Take Their Vacations
One-third of workers, 33 percent, say they haven’t taken a vacation this year and that they don’t plan on taking one, according to the results of a new survey on stress and vacations from CareerBuilder. However, the survey also found that 61 percent of the workers say they’re burned out in their job.
Here are some other key findings from the survey:
- 79 percent said their company doesn’t offer any programs to help combat stress.
- Nearly 1 in 5 left unused vacation time on the table in 2016.
- The highest tier of professionals (senior management, VPs, etc.) reported the least amount of stress.
- Women reported feeling high or extremely high stress levels more than men – 34 percent compared with 27 percent.
- 3 in 10 workers say they stay connected with work even when they are on vacation.
Bad vacation practices might start at the top. Managers should be careful to model the time-off behaviors they want to see in their employees.
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“If you’re a boss, it’s important that you role model how to take a vacation,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources office at CareerBuilder, said in the press release for the survey. “If you’re prone to answering every email and phone call that comes through on your own vacation time, consider the example you’re setting for your team members. You need to set up an automated response email, and only respond to absolutely urgent emails while you’re away. Direct all calls to an assistant or colleague at the office. Show your employees that vacation time matter to you and to your company and its culture.”
Whatever a company’s vacation culture may be, workers should take their job stress seriously and make frequent efforts to combat it. Taking a vacation once in a while isn’t a bad place to start.
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