How to spot and manage burnout | Article by Loopin
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How to spot and manage burnout

Experiencing burnout is like running on empty, kind of like a battery with no charge. Here's how to spot and manage burnout.
by Jack Horder / February 14, 2022 / 3 min read
How to spot and manage burnout

Burnout: So what are we looking for?

Experiencing burnout is like running on empty, kind of like a battery with no charge. But unlike batteries, people don’t need chargers; we're a little more complex than that!

How burnout is caused and the best way to manage it is unique to each person - you could say that we need different chargers! So it’s good to know the signs and causes of burnout. Leaders can use this knowledge to determine the best course of action for either preventing or addressing burnout in their people.

The most common approach to understanding the signs of burnout is through the Massachusetts Burnout Inventory, which is both a tool to measure burnout and a model to understand it. According to the MBI, burnout is a combination of:

  1. Emotional, physical, and cognitive exhaustion.
  2. Cynicism and detachment.
  3. Perceptions of personal ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.

In a nutshell, when you’re ‘fully’ burned out you will feel exhausted, engage in negative self-talk, reduce your social and environment interactivity, and have a negative perception of your own abilities.

But burnout can fly under the radar. When left undetected, burnout can progress over time. You can go for a while with only a handful of burnout symptoms; exhaustion often rears its head first. Then if unnoticed, these symptoms can compound and cause burnout.

Luckily, and potentially the reason you’re here, Loopin predicts when burnout is likely to occur. We do this by tracking the emotions that might cause or suggest burnout, such as uncertainty, worry, and tiredness. When these feelings are consistently experienced for a certain amount of time, Loopin flags a burnout trend, drawing your attention to its likelihood.


Described as a modern workplace phenomenon, up to three out of five employees report feeling burned out. That being said, wielding the burnout torch and labelling everyone who is tired as being burned out, likely isn’t the solution!

So what actually causes burnout in the workplace? Well, according to the literature, these are the most common causes:

  1. Very high or very low job demands: at both extreme ends of the spectrum, one might experience burnout.
  2. A lack of control: a lack of control over one’s workload can contribute to the onset of burnout.
  3. Dysfunctional workplace dynamics: those around you who engage in negative behaviours, hold a negative outlook on life, and who are potentially wrongdoers of some kind will increase your chance of being burned out.

Now what?

We might know what burnout looks like and what can cause it, but we need to know what to do next. Let's start by trying to find out what the cause of your (or your team’s) burnout is. Here are some helpful questions you can ask yourself which allow you to do just that:

  1. Is my team in control of its workload? Do they have a say in the work they take on and when the deadline is?
  2. As a leader who is allocating the work, do I discuss the deadlines with my team?
  3. How demanding is the work of my team?
  4. Is your type of work interesting?
  5. Do the people of my team support one another? This could be professionally and emotionally.
  6. Are there any people in my team which are overtly negative and pessimistic?

Questions one and two relate to the cause of lack of control. Three and four relate to the cause of very high or very low job demands. Five and six relate to the cause of dysfunctional workplace dynamics. If you find yourself focusing on specific questions more than others, start by addressing that relevant cause.

Use Loopin and the signs outlined above to notice if you or your team are at risk of burnout. Then, without wielding the dreaded burnout torch too early, calmly ask the questions outlined above to work out why they might be at risk. By doing this, you can intervene early enough to prevent burnout.

Want to see Loopin in action? Click here to book a 15-minute demo with one of our team. We'll show you all of the tools and features available to drive positive workplace culture where people feel valued, understood, cared for, and empowered.

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