5 Red Flags of Burnout Culture in Your Workplace – And How to Manage It

5 Red Flags of Burnout Culture in Your Workplace – And How to Manage It

According to Gallup, 76% of employees say they’ve experienced burnout. Burnout is often misconstrued as just an individual issue, but it's increasingly clear that it stems from the work environment itself, not just how we manage ourselves. It's crucial to recognise the signs of a burnout culture within your workplace. Understanding these signs can empower you to advocate for a healthier workplace or to make informed decisions about your career path.


1. Limited Autonomy

A hallmark of burnout culture is a lack of autonomy, where employees feel they have little control over their work processes or schedules. This might manifest as micromanagement, rigid schedules, and strict, often unnecessary, oversight.

Manage It: Advocate for more flexible working arrangements or the implementation of results-only work environments (ROWE) where performance is measured by output rather than hours spent at a desk. Propose pilot projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of increased autonomy in boosting productivity and employee satisfaction.

2. Inequitable Treatment

Burnout thrives in environments where employees feel undervalued or unfairly treated. This could be due to a lack of diversity and inclusion, unequal pay, or opaque promotion paths.

Manage It: Engage with HR to discuss transparent methods for promotions and raises. Support or initiate the formation of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to foster a more inclusive culture. Encourage your company to conduct regular pay equity reviews and diversity training.

3. Overwhelming Workloads

Consistently high workloads without sufficient resources or recognition can lead to burnout. Signs include employees regularly working long hours, high turnover rates in departments, and frequent complaints about workload. According to a Gallup survey, employees are 70% less likely to experience high burnout when they have enough time to do their work.

Manage It: Communicate openly with management about the realities of workloads and the need for realistic project timelines or additional resources. Encourage the use of workload management tools and techniques. Advocate for policies that allow employees to disconnect outside of work hours to recover and recharge.

4. Lack of Recognition

Without acknowledgment of their hard work and contributions, employees can feel invisible and undervalued, leading to burnout.

Manage It: Promote a culture of recognition by encouraging managers to regularly acknowledge team efforts and individual contributions. Propose the implementation of reward systems that highlight employee achievements, both big and small.

5. Poor Community Support

A supportive workplace community is essential for employee wellbeing. A lack of support can manifest as isolated teams, poor communication, and a competitive rather than collaborative environment.

Manage It: Foster a supportive community by promoting team-building activities that help strengthen relationships among colleagues. Advocate for open communication channels and regular feedback loops. Encourage leadership to conduct routine check-ins with teams to gauge morale and address any concerns as they arise.

Recognising the signs of a burnout culture is the first step towards creating a healthier workplace. As you identify these issues within your company, take proactive steps to address them. Whether it's through direct communication with your manager, proposing new policies, or engaging in community-building activities, your actions can lead to significant positive changes. Remember, improving the workplace environment not only enhances your own wellbeing but also contributes to a more productive and positive company culture for everyone.


By Megan Dalla-Camina, Women Rising Founder & CEO

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