March 02, 2023 by Andrea Rajic

How Managers Can Spot, Prevent, and Tackle Burnout in Remote Employees

How Managers Can Spot, Prevent, and Tackle Burnout in Remote Employees

Table of contents


    Symptoms of burnout


    What causes burnout at work?


    8 Ways To Prevent Burnout In Your Team


    Build a healthy and supportive work environment for motivated and productive employees

Employee Experience

Heavy workloads and pressing deadlines have become inseparable parts of the modern workplace reality. In performance-driven business culture, employees are expected to reach ever-rising levels of productivity. But for many of them, this has a dual effect. Reaching new performance levels takes a toll on their workplace well-being.

But, the pandemic-pushed blurring of home life and work tasks and the always-on culture have led to longer working hours. A staggering 53% of remote employees reported working longer hours than in the office, as they feel pressured by the management to work more, ultimately burning out.

Here, we’ll tackle the common and lesser-known burnout symptoms, and ways managers can help their teams deal with stressors and achieve a healthy balance in life.

Symptoms of burnout

A Deloitte research showed that 77% of surveyed US workers reported experiencing burnout at their current work, and more than 50% of them claimed to face recurring burnout. Mayo Clinic describes this condition as a specific form of work-related stress which manifests through mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.

When not properly managed, burnout can become a severe occupational hazard. Burnout employees experience a range of negative emotions and physical symptoms that can impact their well-being, job satisfaction, and overall productivity.

Here are some common signs of burnout to be on the lookout for:

  • Procrastinating and needing more time than usual to get things done
  • A consistent lack of energy, motivation, and sense of purpose at work
  • Self-doubt, leading to overthinking and insecurity
  • Irritability and feeling on edge while having a negative outlook
  • Having a hard time experiencing satisfaction from achievements

Besides fatigue, other physical symptoms an employee might be experiencing due to workplace burnout include headaches, intestinal issues, frequent illness, and changes in sleep habits.

In more severe cases, burnout can lead to more complex emotional symptoms such as depersonalization, a sense of failure, and feeling detached or alone in the world. These warning signs should not be neglected and may require assistance from a mental health professional.

What causes burnout at work?

It is a common belief that burnout happens when you are handling pilling workloads in high-pressure work environments. Actually, it is not only a matter of being overworked. World Health Organization states that burnout is the result of a complex set of factors that lead to prolonged levels of chronic stress.

Besides excessive workloads, there are other common risk factors that contribute to burnout.

  • Perceived lack of control: If they sense little or no control over their work or work environment, employees can become dissatisfied and stressed, leading to burnout.
  • Insufficient communication and support from managers: Feeling unsupported or like they lack resources to complete their work can make employees experience deep discomfort and take a toll on their well-being.
  • Unrealistic expectations and unreasonable time pressure: When employees are expected to work excessively long hours or produce unrealistic results, failing to meet these requirements can cause deep frustration and high burnout.
  • Poor work-life balance: When employees struggle with balancing their work and personal life, it can make them seriously unhappy with the time they invest in work, creating discontent. The inability to unplug from work, even during the off-hours, has led many remote employees to experience chronic stress and fatigue, which lowers their productivity and affects job satisfaction.
  • Lack of recognition or reward: Employees who feel undervalued or unappreciated for their work can feel resentment and become demotivated.
  • Toxic work environment: When the work environment is characterized by negative interpersonal relationships, micromanaging, mobbing, or discrimination, it can lead to emotional distress and burnout.
  • Personality traits: Some employees face perfectionistic tendencies and are high achieving in nature. It can make them overly critical of their and their colleagues’ work. Being constantly unsatisfied with personal accomplishments or wanting to take command of any situation can put employees at risk of burnout.

Remote work practices have added new layers to the burnout syndrome experienced in the traditional workplace. Remote employees miss the clear boundaries that on-site work sets between their jobs and personal lives. Working from remote locations can also provoke feelings of isolation and loneliness, making it emotionally draining. That’s why remote employees experience more burnout than their in-office colleagues.

8 Ways To Prevent Burnout In Your Team

The good news is that job burnout is not inevitable, and it can be prevented by creating a supportive and healthy work environment and introducing stress management principles to your work practice. Preventing burnout in your team requires a proactive and supportive approach that values your team's well-being and work-life balance.

Set boundaries

Remote workers are more likely to experience burnout than on-site employees as it gets harder for them to set boundaries and get away from work even when they are sick.

Motivate your workers to explore their own needs and priorities. This can guide them in establishing the boundaries they need to set in order to keep a healthy work-life balance. Lead by example and make sure that you're also setting boundaries and don’t work when you’re sick or send emails and anticipate responses outside of regular business hours. Encourage unplugging and going offline at the end of the day, and make sure you do it too.

Provide mental health support as part of your benefits package

Creating a supportive and stigma-free workplace culture that encourages open communication and prioritizes employee well-being is key to having happy and productive employees. Anyhow, it is no secret that most employees do not feel comfortable discussing mental health with their employers or HR teams. That is why mental health support should be included in your benefits package.

Mental health support can help employees manage stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions, which can improve their overall well-being and quality of life. It is more likely that employees will feel supported and valued by their workplace when they receive this kind of assistance.

Don’t insist on working long hours

There are more than a dozen reasons why insisting on working long hours may not be a good idea.

While putting in long hours might seem like a way to achieve more, doing so can actually reduce productivity. Working long hours can result in weariness, lack of focus, and diminished creativity, all of which can eventually lower the quality of the work that is produced. Set achievable goals and deadlines for your team members. Avoid overwhelming them with unrealistic expectations or deadlines, as this can contribute to burnout.

Help employees lead a healthier life

Support your team members in practicing self-care by taking breaks, exercising, getting enough sleep, and embracing a healthy diet. By providing them with tools like exercise classes, or wellness initiatives, you can help them take care of their physical health and develop healthy life habits. You might also think about rewarding staff members who take part in fitness programs.

Encourage your employees to take time off, whether it is for a holiday or a day for mental wellness.

Remind them to schedule regular pauses during the working day to stretch, go for a walk, or do other physical activities. This can lessen the harmful effects of prolonged sitting and improve both physical and mental well-being.

Don’t just talk about work-life balance — embrace it

By embracing work-life balance at work, you can help create a culture that values the well-being of employees, ultimately leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction. Encourage your team members to prioritize their personal lives and spend time with family members and loved ones. Make sure they feel comfortable taking time off without feeling guilty or afraid of negative consequences.

Employees highly value employers who prioritize their well-being and encourage them to take enough time off when they need to rest and fully recharge.

Provide a safe environment for people to speak about burnout

Encourage your team members to communicate openly and honestly about their workload, stress levels, and concerns. It’s what your employees expect from you.

Pew Research Center study revealed that about 40% of workers want their employers to bring up mental health in the workplace. Still, many worry about the consequences if they seek mental health care, while 47% of surveyed employees question employers’ concern for their mental health.

By promoting a culture of psychological safety, employees will feel more comfortable sharing their troubles and concerns. This will help you identify the causes of burnout in the organization before it becomes a problem. Your weekly check-ins with team members are a good opportunity to create a safe space and nurture honest communication.

Recognize and reward accomplishments

Recognizing employees' contributions to the success of their teams and the organization as a whole helps them understand how much their company values them.

Employees are 48% more likely to report burnout when recognition is reduced. Introduce a recognition strategy in your company and make your team members' accomplishments count. This can include bonuses, promotions, or simply acknowledging a job well done. It encourages employees to feel confident about their contribution to the company and reinforces their sense of worth, which encourages them to keep up the good work.

Reward your team’s hard work, and it will boost their morale and motivation, reducing the risk of burnout.

Help your team build meaningful relationships

People working in remote environments are having a harder time establishing meaningful connections with their coworkers. This happens due to the lack of opportunities to interact face-to-face, so employees may feel lonely and disconnected from their team.

Burnout is more likely to happen when you feel alone in your troubles, which is why encouraging your team to meet up as often as possible and foster interpersonal relationships virtually can help.

Team members who reside in locations that are close to each other can leverage coworking and flexible workspaces to collaborate more. For those who don’t have an opportunity to meet up, you can organize virtual water cooler sessions and use online apps and tools to play games or simply chat and get to know each other.

Build a healthy and supportive work environment for motivated and productive employees

By building a healthy and supportive work environment, you can create a workplace culture that fosters motivation and productivity. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, employee retention, and overall success for the organization.

Fostering a positive work culture that values collaboration, teamwork, and inclusivity will encourage employees to build positive relationships and work towards common goals. A way to reinforce these connections is to provide your remote employees with an inspiring flexible workspaces where they can feel connected.

Learn more about Gable can help remote teams to find, book, and manage spaces ideal for delivering outstanding results without the danger of being isolated or lonely.

Increase employee engagement and maintain your culture

Employees want flexibility and work-life balance but miss connecting with their teams in person. Help them achieve both by providing easy access to workspaces nearby, while you stay in control of budget spending, usage, and workplace data.

Written By

Andrea Rajic


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