Long before COVID-19 was on any ones radar, all around the world people were suffering from Chronic Stress which leads to Burnout. The World Health Organization has even come to classify it as an "Occupational Phenomena" that leads to illness.
“Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:
feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
reduced professional efficacy."
It is an interesting phenomena because it starts off innocent enough. One wants to work hard to prove themselves at work but then they get stuck into the "busy" routine of constantly feeling the need to prove oneself. Eventually being overworked or always busy becomes a badge of honor they wear to try and prove to others that they are a superior worker. It becomes a way of bonding with others over how big their workload is. Even happily telling people they will need to work on the weekend just to stay on top of things. No one, I repeat, no one can keep up a grueling work pace and overloaded schedule without feeling the manifestation of illness or the feeling of being constantly rundown. Yet, for so long the water cooler chatter revolved around the stress.
For the past several years Burnout has been a catch all words for feeling overworked and overstressed. I think its important to refer to the above definition of Burnout. Recovery does not look like a long vacation or a lighter workload. It is a full HARD STOP. Unfortunately, I think it is safe to say that the majority of the population doesn't get that opportunity to fully step away due to a plethora of reasons. It is important as a society to recognize the privilege of being able to step away. It is a privilege to be able to take a full break from working and still be financially ok or to know that your job is being held for you. Most do not have the luxury to stop and recover from Burnout. They have to keep going despite constantly pouring from an empty well.
This is why there needs to be Well-Being and Emotional support in the workplace. To come from a place of understanding of the individual and their unique situation. Employers are finding that when they lean into supporting the needs of their Employees that they get a better outcome. When we humanize the workplace and allow people to show up fully... they will feel emotionally safe, financially secure, well-being needs met. This will in turn lead to a stronger sense of loyalty and understanding within the company.
My personal philosophies and what I teach in my workshops are echoed here in Work Better Together by Jen Fisher and Ann Phillips. I have enjoyed this read and recommend it to all of my clients. It is a great resource on how to being to implement Well-Being practices into your workplace and all around truly how to Work Better Together. I can not recommend it enough!