Preventing the second pandemic - Burnout

Prevent the second pandemic – burnout!

In October we observe Mental Health Awareness Month, and according to the SA Society of Psychiatrists Mental health is the biggest threat in 2021. When the global COVID-19 pandemic started, it brought along physical illness but also caused increased mental health. These problems naturally spilled over to the workplace. 

The truth is that we are all affected by this virus – whether through the loss of a loved one, contracting the contagious life-threatening illness, or just by living with the daily fear that you or someone you love will succumb to the virus. This pandemic has caused another one that impacts both personal and professional aspects of our live namely, burnout!

COVID-19 does not only make your body sick – it also messes with your mind and increases anxiety levels. Various restrictions in SA and abroad brought on lockdown blues, screen fatigue and sudden changes none of us were ready for. It brought about challenges people never learned to overcome. Strange new stressors became part of everyday life. And honestly, we, as well as our employees, were not prepared for the mental health crisis it would create which now impacts the workplace drastically. 

Therefore, the new issue needs to be tackled by both the employer and employee. Here’s how to combat potential workplace burnout: 

Help employees to combat workplace burnout:

  • Become self-aware. Stress can be a strange thing which not only affects your physical health but also your emotional and mental state. Evaluate your mental health and make sure you familiarise yourself with the early warning signs like negativity, not being able to see a better future etc. Know yourself well enough to realise when you need help with things like depression and anxiety. Then, seek medical advice if you recognise the signs.
  • Allow yourself “me-time”. You deserve time to relax and ‘regroup’ yourself. Understand that “all work and no play” is an out-of-balance way to live. You need to spend time with yourself. Practice self-care and become mindful of your surroundings. Take a personal day and try to zone out totally to refresh your mind, emotions, and body.
  • Self-motivation. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Become emotionally fit and constantly motivate yourself by focussing on continuous improvement techniques. This will help you increase your positivity one step at a time. 
  • Equip yourself with skills and techniques. If you feel stressed or anxious, make sure you equip yourself with the correct skills, tools, and techniques to manage this. By investing in your soft skills development and improving yourself, you will become much more confident in handling difficult scenarios. 

Here is how the employer can combat workplace burnout:

  • Promote good mental health among employees. Give them training and upskill them on how to manage stress and anxiety in the workplace as well as in their personal lives. 
  • Introduce more flexibility. Encourage flexible work hours, home offices and taking personal days. Learn to trust your employees. Focus on the output and not on the input. 
  • Manage your teams through emotional intelligence. Show empathy and understanding. Discuss challenges and try finding proper solutions together like decreasing workplace stressors like unnecessary meetings, for example, as much as possible. 
  • Help them connect on a social level. Companies and management teams should realise that the productivity of an employee is connected to their social interaction and activities. It will help a lot if the manager or team leader check in on your employees on a social level as well and endorse team building activities or social gatherings. It helps with increasing motivation and socialising, which will assist with relaxation and increase happiness. 
  • Provide workplace counselling. Being able to have an objective person to talk to, and not having to worry about accessibility or costs, will enable your employees to use a workplace platform that will provide expert help with their problems. 
  • Foster workplace wellness programmes. Show your employees you care about their wellbeing. Employers who show they care, retain their employees. Healthy employees show a decrease in absenteeism and an increase in productivity. 
  • Communicate effectively. If you listen to your employees and uphold an open-door policy where they feel comfortable enough to talk to you, you will recognise the warning signs of workplace burnout well in advance and will be able take corrective action.  

In a report by the World Health Organisation called “Mental health and work: Impact, issues and good practices”, they state that “There is growing evidence of the global impact of mental illness. Mental health problems are among the most important contributors to the burden of disease and disability worldwide. Five of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide are mental health problems.” This report goes on to say that “The impact of mental health problems in the workplace has serious consequences not only for the individual but also for the productivity of the enterprise. Employee performance, rates of illness, absenteeism, accidents and staff turnover are all affected by employees’ mental health status.” 

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken so much from us. It has changed so many things not only in our personal lives but also at work. Let’s focus this month (October) on working on both your and your employees’ mental health. 


About the Mindspa Institute

* The Mindspa Institute Pty (Ltd) was established in 2008 and specializes in skills development. We are accredited with The Services Seta and have offices in Gauteng and Cape Town and operate internationally. The Mindspa Institute has had the privilege of forming partnerships with major blue-chip companies as well as government institutions and have rolled-out training and workshops across Africa. We have numerous client references available to ensure that you can make an informed decision and can trust us to partner with you in growing your team.

The greatest gap in the world is between “knowing” and “doing” so all our training workshops and interventions focus on bridging that gap through interacting with the business, its management and employees, enabling them to take the lessons and practically implement the changes in their work and personal lives.

While Management Training remains a key focus, we offer a wide variety of training courses and workshops, continuously updated to remain relevant, across public and in-house platforms. Contact us via 010 110 0226 or email or visit our website

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