Stress Awareness Month: How to Spot Burnout in Your Colleagues?

New statistics from The Workplace Health Report have revealed that 76% of employees in the UK report moderate to high or high levels of stress, up 13% from last year.

Recognising symptoms of stress is crucial when it comes to avoiding burnout, but sometimes, it can be easier to spot these symptoms in others before seeing them in yourself.

1st April marks the start of Stress Awareness Month, so SaaSGenius has rounded up some of the most common signs of stress, so you can reduce the risk of burnout in your colleagues.

Visibly tired and increasingly irritable

When stressed, people will likely struggle to sleep at a reasonable hour. As well as this, a lack of sleep can also lead to increased irritability or uncharacteristic frustrations.

If you notice a colleague is reacting to situations differently, becoming frustrated more easily or complaining they are more tired than usual, they could likely be dealing with stress.

Working through breaks or working longer hours

When someone is repeatedly working through breaks or working longer hours to get tasks finished, it’s a sign their workload is too high, or they are stressed about deadlines.

According to The Workplace Health Report, the workload is the top cause of work-related stress, so be aware of anyone doing this.

Time off

If a colleague isn’t using their annual leave, it’s a major sign of an unhealthy work-life balance, which can contribute to burnout. As time off is needed to rest and recuperate, it’s important always to encourage team members to use their holidays throughout the year.

Poor time management – arriving late to work, missing deadlines

When we feel stressed or burnt out, our cognitive functions, such as memory, attention and decision-making abilities, are impaired. With this in mind, if a colleague misses deadlines, arrives late to work, or forgets to do tasks, it can be a clear sign of burnout. This can also happen when someone feels less motivated about their job because they’re stressed.

Unusually quiet and withdrawn

When someone is emotionally or physically exhausted, they tend to withdraw and detach from work and engage less in social interactions, perhaps as they begin to feel disinterested in their job or are experiencing high-stress levels.

What to do if you spot signs of burnout in a colleague

If someone in your work shows clear signs of stress, offering a space to talk is the best place to start. Being part of a team is all about supporting one another, and sometimes people will find stress relief in just being listened to or offloading.

Next, try to find out what the situation is about and whether it is something you can directly help with or if it’s something that needs to be referred to a manager or the HR department.

While it is great to support your teammates with open conversation, there will be many situations where action from above will be needed, whether reducing a person’s workload or supporting them professionally in managing their mental health.

As a friend, it’s also great to encourage your colleague to prioritise their self-care by taking regular breaks, going outside and getting away from their desk on their lunch breaks. As well as this, engaging the team in some well-being activities, such as going on walks or doing some arts & crafts, can be a good way to re-engage someone and to remind them how important it is to have a healthy work-life balance.