Ignite the burned out: Applying a healthy approach to burnout in the workplace
Everyone has responsibilities and expectations to fulfill, whether as business owners, startup founders, workers, parents, students, or many other roles. There must be times when we experience a state of exhaustion, both physical and emotional, that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment. Based on the latest Deloitte report, named “Women @ Work 2022: A Global Outlook”, the report reveals that 53% of women say their stress levels are higher than they were a year ago, and almost half feel burned out.
Based on the findings of how women are more prone to burnout, East Ventures, the leading sector-agnostic venture capital firm in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, facilitated a discussion and networking session through its women empowerment program, Women with Impact. This fourth event was conducted on 24 November to help the audience better understand, identify, and manage work stress that might appears in daily life, especially from the experience and day-to-day scenario of women representatives from startup and tech ecosystems.
We believe that there are many definitions of burnout. Still, lately, the term has gained more usage, as people can have different interpretations of the stress and exhaustion they are experiencing. It is even getting vaguer than it used to, as everyone has different mechanisms for coping with work and life stress.
As the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pintarnya, the one-stop digital platform for blue-collar workers in Indonesia, Nelly Nurmalasari illustrated burnout as an elastic rubber. It is good to stretch and pull the rubber, but the important aspect is to be mindful not to break the rubber. Once it breaks, then the rubber itself loses its functions. It is important to pick up the burnout signals in our daily activities, and there is no certain symptom that everyone has.
Different roles in a work setting serve different functions in managing burnout. As a leader who often creates the policy, it is important to encourage openness and consider employees’ needs. Several arrangements can be made to support this, such as through regular 1-on-1 catch up to understand the state and how the employee is doing.
“I think I see some of the founders here. realize it or not, burnout can be caused by you. Even me, for example, in Pintarnya. Sometimes, as founders, we dream big. We want A, B, C, D, and I keep telling my team, it’s my job to dream big because otherwise, you will not go anywhere. But making it explicit about “challenge me” if this (idea) is not the right thing. That’s important,” Nelly said.
Not all employers provide the chance for you to speak up. Especially with the current landscape of work settings, where the job is essential because we are living paycheck to paycheck, so leaving the employers is not an option. Therefore, the current work landscape has somehow shaped us as the “yes” men and women, where we are afraid to say no to the assigned work, but in the position that we have a lot on our plates, according to Hillary Buntara, Experimenter at Xendit. This is where the coworkers come in, and a simple checking and idea of sharing the workload are so powerful to create the support systems in preventing each other from burnout.
From the investors’ point of view, Melisa Irene, Partner at East Ventures, shared the importance of double-clicking or taking a deeper dive into how people think and feel about an issue in managing burnout. She explained that there are many aspects that can cause burnout, and sometimes it can be related to things that are not work-related. By double-clicking, we can better understand the cause of burnout and how as the leader in the company or as an investor can help to address it.
“So I think as an investor, the role that we tried to play is to be empathetic and being able to sit down and run through like what is the source of issues that they are facing,” said Melisa.
Here are practical guidance in building a more positive work environment and managing burnout, which can be followed by not only female but also male workers
1. Set clear expectations
There is no acceptance that your leader or company should lower the standard to prevent their employees from being stressed. However, being clear in terms of expectations can serve as a way to create a less stressful environment in the workplace.
2. Build your credibility
It is also important to understand that expecting support at work is not easy, especially if you are in the early stage of a new position. Building credibility is the foundation of your career, and being mindful of the support you receive shouldn’t be taken for granted.
3. Take your break
A short break can be a total change for you in gaining back the spirit and motivation. As you work hard for the firm, you should expect a decent amount of time to spend for yourself and recharge.
4. Providing full context
There are times when some hard calls need to be made, such as the short deadline of the project, despite some people already having other plans or things going on. Providing the full context, and giving the understanding of the sense of urgency, might serve as helpful tips to bring everyone to the same page without causing a less motivated state and even burnout.
This article is extracted from the recent panel of the Women with Impact program, which is available on-demand on East Ventures’ YouTube channel. Click here to watch the video.