Put burnout on the back burner

  • September 19, 2022
  • By Jill Young Miller
  • 2 minute read

Burnout affects more than half the employee population in the United States.

In a recent article in Forbes, Olin’s Peter Boumgarden shared some tips for employers about how to stem the tide of workers who regularly experience intense and unwanted symptoms such as fatigue, reduced productivity and a cynical attitude.

Peter Boumgarden

Boumgarden recommends basing your understanding of burnout on a definition from the psychologists Christina Maslach, Wilmar B. Schaufeli and Michael P. Leiter: “a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job.”

All workforces are unique, so take the time to evaluate what’s burning out people, Boumgarden suggests. Could one of your corporate policies unintentionally be causing a problem that affects performance and morale?

“Let’s say you are an organization that desires greater collaboration,” Boumgarden told Forbes. “You ask for people to come back to the office at a higher rate than your competitors. If the average commute time is an hour each way, what is the impact on work outcomes and burnout of having to find two more hours in the day?”

Every decision will cause ripples. Do they create more issues than a policy solves?

Boumgarden is the Koch Family Professor of Practice in Family Enterprise, director of the Koch Family Center for Family Enterprise, and academic director of the Center for Experiential Learning at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Read more in the article “7 strategies to help your employees avoid serious burnout.”

About the Author

Jill Young Miller

Jill Young Miller

As research translator for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to highlight professors’ research by “translating” their work into stories. Before coming to Olin, I was a communications specialist at WashU’s Brown School. My background is mostly in newspapers including as a journalist for Missouri Lawyers Media, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida.

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