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  • Writer's pictureChrysanthi Sophia Karampetsi

Burn Out, Bore Out and Employee Engagement

I wake up every day feeling just empty, helpless and hopeless. My job is so monotonous and unexciting. A chaotic full of deadlines environment, where I am counting the minutes until I could go home. Moreover, lately, I don’t sleep enough, I feel worthless and I pretend to work while I am surfing the internet…..

Do these feelings sound familiar?

Most of the people are familiar with the term of burn out, which occurs when for a prolonged period you feel overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted, and unable to keep up with responsibilities. A person with a burn out will lose his motivation gradually, be less productive, indicate procrastination, be isolated from others, and be more often sick and tired.

On the other hand, bore out, although related to similar symptoms of worthlessness or lack of energy and stimulation, however, is a result of being stuck in the same job routine. A person with bore out is not any more interested in his work, either because he cannot develop anymore, or because he has a long-term contract and he is not sufficiently challenged and stimulated.

The main difference between these terms is that on the bore-out you are too long in your comfort zone and you are not sufficiently motivated to develop, while on burn out you are for a long period in your effort zone, where you have pushed so much the limits that you cannot handle it anymore.

On the opposite side of burn out and bore out you will find employee engagement. Employee engagement is characterized by energy, motivation, willingness, dedication, and involvement. Highly engaged employees who are continuously developing, are proactive, great team players and communicators. They can easily enhance organization’s success and show lower rates of burn out and bore out.

How can we eliminate burn out, bore out and how we will increase employees’ engagement?

1. Identify the cause of the problem

"If you are unable to understand the cause of a problem it is impossible to solve it”.

Obviously, we need to have a clear understanding of the resource of the problem to find a proper solution. Possible causes might be:

  • The working environment (limited opportunities, demanding managers, bad relationships with the co-workers, bad work dynamics).

  • The job (doesn’t meet the expectations, not in line with your values).

  • Our personality (perfectionism, trying to have everything under control, getting bored really quickly).

  • Our personal life (work-life imbalance, problems with marriage, children, work more and think less behavior).

Once, you have identified the cause that drains you, then you need to start making the plan for the solution.

2. Find out available resources

“Don’t wait … Make your own opportunities”.

If you are not happy with your working environment and you do not want to move away from it, then change your attitude and start making your own opportunities. Find meaning in your work.

For instance, you can look for work support (employee assistance program), enjoyable aspects of your work (make your workplace more interesting with ping-pong tables, video games, books), or spend time talking with your manager about your concerns and ask for constructive feedback. Moreover, you might need to socialize with your co-workers on breaks, at lunch or organize fun activities outside the work once per month. You can also seek for new projects that are not related to your area or online courses to stimulate personal growth and development (continuing professional development). Finally, brainstorm with your colleagues about ways to modify work processes to make everyone more satisfied. Empower yourself and take initiatives.

3. Create sufficient “Me-Time” in your agenda

“Distance yourself from the voices of the world so you can hear your own”.

By having too many responsibilities, we forget to take care of ourselves. Your well-being needs to be your priority. We need time for ourselves to reboot our brain, to recharge our batteries to be more happy and productive. It’s imperative to make some time for yourself even if your agenda is full of appointments. Take small frequent breaks and go to the park or cafeteria close to your office. Wake up 20 minutes earlier stretch and treat yourself with a nice breakfast. Find new hobbies, exercise, or meditate. If you believe that you’re too busy for some quality time with yourself then assess how you’re spending your time.

4. Focus on your strengths and find the proper balance with your weaknesses

“On the moments that you achieved what you desired”.

We all have weaknesses and areas that we are not good enough. However, a constant focus on these areas might increase our stress levels, turnover, and dissatisfaction. Of course, weaknesses can improve over time, but focusing on our strengths, allows us to stand out, be more confident and believe in new possibilities. In addition, people will identify us easier, and we will feel more satisfied and happy. We need to find the right balance and trigger our mind to feel happier.

5. Change careers

“If something doesn’t work, fix it, if you cannot fix it, change it”.

It is never too late to change and discover new unexplored opportunities. Signs of burn out or bore out indicate that there is an intense need of a break, a pause to find something more meaningful and satisfying. Although it might be hard to change careers, (your CV is in a certain area, you’re too old, limited opportunities), however, there is no job that’s worth your health. Take a moment and just imagine how it will feel to wake up every morning and be full of motivation to do great things....

Give yourself the permission to take the pressure off, to reconnect, to explore, to re-energize and to be alive. Employees may have knowledge and skills, but if they are not satisfied with their job, they will never be fully engaged.

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