A photo of a man with his head buried in his laptop. He looks exhausted.

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Burnout is a serious issue in the workplace. Everyone feels run-down from time to time, but burnout in this sense describes a chronic state of mental, physical, and/or emotional exhaustion. Symptoms include reduced motivation, efficiency, and a feeling of helplessness. It can impact health as well, increasing anxiety levels which can lead to depression, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and/or immune disorders. Not to mention, the loss of productivity due to burnout can result in job loss, which only adds another big stressor: financial burdens.

So how do employees prevent it? Well, that remains to be seen, but researchers in Switzerland have made a discovery as to the source of burnout: it results when someone’s subconscious needs don’t line up with their career. Basically, for an egregious, outgoing individual, being stuck in an office without human contact can cause burnout, whereas an introvert put in charge of other people can get burned out from having too much interaction.

The key to preventing burnout is to match people’s needs with the demands of their jobs. This is certainly easier said than done, but it’s something that employers and employees have a vested interest in attempting. While further research is needed to fully understand the phenomenon, people can start fixing the problem by trying to uncover what their subconscious needs are. This may require several sessions with a psychiatrist or counselor, but will be worth the peace of mind.

In order to avoid having burned-out employees, employers need to consider more than just technical qualifications during the hiring process. While conducting interviews, employers should consider personality type, and whether that personality type is a good fit for the demands of the job. Employers should also be willing to make workload adjustments in order to make positions more suitable for current employees.

A small amount of work to prevent burnout is certainly better than the effort needed to recover from it.