Whether one works at a small start-up or a multinational company, hardly anyone is exempt from stress. While feeling tired is normal, it’s important to know when you’re starting to burn out. It’s the point where you lose the interest and motivation to do anything, especially when it comes to work. According to the World Health Organization, burnouts have three major symptoms: feelings of exhaustion, mental detachment from one’s job, and poorer performance in the office.
If you’re already feeling at least one of them, then it could be due to a few bad office habits that you need to address.
Here are some of them:
Never using your leaves
Work leaves are there to give you a moment to recuperate during times of mental stress or physical sickness. Unfortunately, some people have a tendency to ignore their needs. In fact, CNBC reports how employees consistently choose to work regardless of health, citing reasons like “too much work [left] to do” and “not wanting to use a sick day.” Refusing to recover will only result in worse illnesses and faster burnout.
Working during breaks
If you think you’re maximizing your productivity by working through your lunch break, think again. An article on We Forum emphasizes how our bodies need the proper fuel if you expect it to get through the remaining hours on the clock. And it’s not just about the food either, as not giving your brain the mid-day breather it needs will only add to the mental stress. By taking a break, you get to come back to work even more refreshed, and it becomes easier to develop healthy habits.
Staying in one position for too long
Desk work means living a mostly sedentary lifestyle in the office, which could prove detrimental to your health in the long run. In fact, health writer Philip Bates notes how sitting for too long drops the electrical activity in your muscles, which makes you more susceptible to tiredness and eventual burnout. As such, it’s important to make an effort to actually get up and be on your feet. Pain Free Working states that 15 minutes of standing up is usually enough to combat the health risks of sitting, but it can vary depending on your fitness level. It doesn’t have to be complicated—even walking to get coffee, or standing outside to inhale fresh air can make a world of difference.
Constantly checking your emails
Checking emails is a small task that, when done multiple times in a day, can give you a surface-level sense of accomplishment. It’s so easy to get carried away with it that the average person now ends up spending thirteen hours a week just managing their inbox, based on a study from the McKinsey Institute. It may seem shallow, but the bad habit of constantly checking emails can immediately result in anxiety and significantly keep you from getting any real work done. To combat this, you can set specific times in a day when you should refresh your inbox. After all, if something truly is that urgent, then it isn't something that will usually be relayed through email.
For managers and team leaders, micromanaging can be downright exhausting. While it’s understandable to want to supervise their work, you may have to step back if you find yourself constantly looking over their shoulder for the tiniest tasks. There truly is no remedy to this except to trust that you’ve trained your team well enough to manage projects on their own. Otherwise, you might have to find a right hand you trust to help you out.
Burnout isn’t something that happens overnight. And as previously discussed by our writer Alan Olsen, it can happen to anyone too—from top executives and leaders, to employees and those at the bottom line. So take it seriously, and kick those bad habits to the curb as early as now. Your health, your career, and your company will thank you.