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    Executive Burnout, Mental Health

    Seven Major Signs of Corporate Burnout

    Published on March 14, 2024

    Do you spend your days feeling stressed out, depleted of energy, and lacking control? It’s perfectly normal to have bad days; we all have them. But if those days turn into weeks and months, your body is sending you a major signal that you’re in danger of burnout. 

    In 2022, McKinsey Health Consulting surveyed 15,000 workers across 15 countries and found a staggering quarter of all employees had experienced burnout symptoms at one point or another. The majority polled stated that lack of support and recognition from management were the major contributors to their feelings of burnout, alongside medical issues of depression and anxiety.

    In fact, 76% of respondents in a Mental Health America and FlexJobs study agreed that workplace stress affects their mental health, and 75% had experienced what is considered “burnout”.

    While burnout isn’t classified as a medical diagnosis, The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised its impact among global employees, declaring it an “occupational phenomenon.” In 2019, WHO defined burnout as “a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed” and included it in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

    Globally, burnout is on the rise, with corporate workers, Gen Z, young millennials, and women being the most stressed. Now more than ever, it is crucial to be aware of the seven major signs of corporate burnout. 

    What are the Seven Signs of Burnout?

    Because it can take weeks, months and possibly years to recover from burnout, it’s ideal to spot potential signs and symptoms as early as possible before they become chronic and the situation too problematic.

    Let’s examine the signs that are particularly prevalent in corporate environments. High-performance expectations, competitive cultures, long hours, and a blurring of work-life boundaries usually influence this high-stress workplace. 

    1. Chronic Exhaustion in the Corporate World

    White River Manor - Treatment in South Africa - Signs of Corporate Burnout

    In a corporate setting, this goes beyond general tiredness and reflects the intense mental and physical fatigue that comes from the relentless pace and pressure of corporate life. Due to the continuous exposure to high-stress environments, unrealistic deadlines, and the constant pressure to perform at peak levels, employees often feel like they’re running on empty, unable to recharge, and being mentally, emotionally, and physically depleted. 

    In the corporate world, where staying connected 24/7 is expected and long hours are often worn as a badge of honour, the line between work and rest can be blurry, making employees always feel like they are “on” and never able to truly rest or disconnect. 

    2. Increased Cynicism Towards Job Roles and Colleagues

    If you’re experiencing a growing sense of detachment, disillusionment, and negativity toward your job, colleagues, and company mission, this is a sign of corporate burnout. Cynicism in the corporate world often manifests as a lack of interest in participating in meetings, skepticism about the intentions of coworkers and corporate leadership, and a general feeling of disconnection.

    Employees experiencing burnout may feel underappreciated or unrewarded and question the value of their work and contribution to the organisation. High-pressure environments prioritising results over employee well-being can exacerbate these feelings, leading to a workforce feeling undervalued.

    3. A Sense of Ineffectiveness and Lack of Achievement

    Even high achievers may start feeling ineffective and lacking accomplishment, leading to a significant drop in productivity and satisfaction with their work outcomes. In a corporate workplace, this could be reflected in missed deadlines, declining work quality, and disillusionment with career progress.

    In the high-stakes corporate environment, the drive for continuous improvement and comparison with high-performing peers can create an environment where nothing ever feels good enough. When achievements are constantly measured against ever-moving targets, employees may feel like they’re on a treadmill, working hard but not making meaningful progress. 

    4. Stress-Related Physical Symptoms

    White River Manor - Treatment in South Africa - Signs of Corporate Burnout

    The stress associated with corporate burnout doesn’t just impact mental and emotional health; it often manifests physically. Stress-related physical symptoms become more pronounced, including headaches, muscle tension, gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, and depression. The relentless stress can also increase the risk of more serious issues like cardiovascular disease.

    This physical toll is a direct consequence of chronic stress. Employees dealing with corporate burnout often experience extended periods of stress without adequate recovery. Additionally, the demanding nature of many corporate jobs can lead to poor lifestyle choices, such as lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits, and insufficient sleep, all of which exacerbate physical health problems.

    5. Altered Sleep Patterns and Insomnia

    Do you have difficulty disconnecting from your job? Is your mind constantly racing with worry about work tasks or deadlines? This continuous engagement with work disrupts the natural winding-down process necessary for sleep. Corporate professionals suffering from burnout may find it hard to fall asleep or experience frequent wakings during the night, leading to chronic sleep deprivation.

    Altered sleep patterns and insomnia are common indicators of corporate burnout. The stress and anxiety of work cause disruptions in sleep, which not only aggravate the symptoms of burnout but also impact overall health and cognitive function.

    6. Withdrawal, Isolation and Escapist Behaviour 

    In high-pressure corporate environments, relentless demands and stress can push employees to their limits. Withdrawing from team interactions and seeking escape with unhealthy behaviours, such as excessive alcohol consumption, substance abuse, overeating, or an over-reliance on social media or gaming as a means to detach from the stress of work, are all common signs of corporate burnout.

    These behaviours, psychological coping mechanisms and activities that temporarily relieve stress are often symptoms of deeper issues related to job satisfaction, work-life balance, and emotional well-being.

    7. Loss of Personal and Professional Satisfaction

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    Loss of satisfaction, both personally and professionally, is a profound indicator of corporate burnout. Professionals may begin to question their career choices and feel stagnant in their current roles, contributing to a cycle of negativity, further detachment from their career, and a noticeable decrease in happiness levels.

    In the corporate world, continuous exposure to high stress, lack of recognition, and feelings of being trapped in a position that no longer aligns with personal values or career aspirations can lead to disillusionment and depression.

    White River Manor Understands Corporate Burnout

    As corporate burnout becomes increasingly common in the global workforce, professionals must be aware of the signs and take steps to prevent it. Implementing self-care routines, setting clear boundaries at work, seeking support when feeling overwhelmed, and engaging in activities that rejuvenate you outside of work are critical for maintaining a well-balanced life and preventing corporate burnout.

    At White River Manor, we understand your career is one of the most important aspects of your life, but it should not come at the expense of your health or peace of mind. If you’re experiencing signs of corporate burnout, we can help you take proactive steps to realign your professional life with your personal health.

    White River Manor Can Help

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed by burnout or the struggle of juggling work and personal life, know that you’re not alone. Our expert team is here to support you and help you navigate through it.

    At White River Manor, we offer our guests luxury accommodations with individual care and personalised burnout treatment programs. Our team of highly qualified therapists, medical professionals, and dependency specialists are ready to design a program that brings balance and well-being to your life. If you’d like to discuss treatment options and how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.