Prevent and Treat Burnout at the Workplace

Prevent and Treat Burnout at the Workplace | GroupHEALTH“Burnout” is one of those buzz words that became more common, especially as work+life boundaries blurred during the pandemic. There’s good reason for its increased use – too many workers are going full speed ahead until they hit the wall (figuratively). Preventing and effectively treating burnout in the workplace is not just good for employees, it’s good for business.


When an employee experiences excessive and chronic stress, it can lead to mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion can be called, “burnout.”

Employees who are experiencing burnout have decreased productivity, increased absences and are mentally distanced from the workplace. It can lead to a myriad of mental and physical health problems.

Setting Boundaries

One of the most important ways to help prevent burnout in the workplace is to set boundaries. Encourage your employees to pursue a healthy work-life balance and support them in doing so.

Among other things, it appears that the COVID-19 pandemic increased burnout in the workplace. Many people began working from home (which was convenient), but it also had a flip side that contributed to burnout. When employees began working remotely there often wasn’t any discussion or parameters set about working outside of normal business hours. This meant many people found themselves answering emails in the evenings and working well past regular business hours. They didn’t “unplug” so their work-life balance became heavily skewed toward work.

This is a good reminder of the need to set boundaries around logging on and answering e-mails and work-related telephone calls outside of regular hours. Don’t let after-hours work become the norm in your workplace – a good work-life balance is good for your employees and your company.

Encourage employees to use their vacation time, instead of allowing it to be carried over year after year. Employees need a break to recharge and regroup, so they can avoid burning out.

Employee Benefits for the Win

Another way to help prevent and treat burnout in the workplace is to leverage your employee health benefits plan. Your employee benefits can help prevent burnout in the workplace and help treat it if it does occur.

1. Prevention

Your employee benefits plan can support your employees in achieving a good work-life balance and practicing self-care.

  • Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) – Providing your employees with access to an employee and family assistance program (EFAP) can help prevent burnout in the workplace. The main way that the EFAP can do this is through counselling. Free, short-term counselling is one of the cornerstones of an employee and family assistance program; support is available 24/7 and it’s just a phone call away. An employee who is beginning to feel stress and exhaustion has easy, free access to counselling to help address the stress and come up with a plan to deal with it. Getting help in the early stages can help with stress and so many other mental health challenges.
  • Wellness – Employee wellness benefits can also be good preventative medicine for burnout in the workplace. Wellness benefits often focus on improving physical and mental health; this can be done with personal training sessions, subsidized gym memberships, nutrition workshops and more. There’s also the option of including a wellness spending account in the benefits plan. Research shows that exercising and good physical health contribute to better coping skills when it comes to stress and anxiety. When stress is under control, burnout is less likely to happen.
  • Paramedical benefits – Paramedical treatments such as physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiro can help prevent burnout by relieving stress and physical discomfort associated with stress. Regular treatments can help alleviate stress that is building up and improve any physical discomfort that can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Good quality sleep and relief from the physical symptoms of stress can help prevent burnout.

2. Treatment

Sometimes even with an emphasis on prevention, burnout in the workplace does occur. If this happens, your employee benefits plan can also help with treating burnout in the workplace.

  • Disability Management Services – If burnout progresses into a leave, disability management services (part of your employee benefits plan) can support your employees and shorten the length of an absence. If an employee is suffering from burnout, after just 5 days of absence they will be contacted by a disability management professional. They’ll receive help navigating a leave, accessing medical professionals and any miscellaneous support they require. Disability management services focus on function and abilities. The case workers look at the person as a whole along with both medical and non-medical influences that may be affecting the ability to return to work. These services are a valuable support to your employees and an important conduit of information between your absent employee and the workplace. The next step is the creation of a customized return-to-work plan by the disability management case worker. This helps get the employee back to work as soon as they’re able; the shorter the disability leave, the higher the chance of the worker returning to pre-disability health.
    These services help reduce workdays lost as well as repeat instances of disability due to stress or burnout.

Burnout Matters

As an employer, you want the best for your employees. Taking steps to prevent and treat burnout in the workplace is the right thing to do. Burnout isn’t just a moral consideration; it’s a financial one.

Higher instances of burnout mean more long-term disability claims, lower productivity and higher turnover. It’s not good for anyone. It also creates a negative culture in the workplace that can spread to other workers. Having a strategy to prevent and address burnout in the workplace is crucial. Leveraging your employee benefits plan to support that strategy just makes sense.

Good Advice is Key

Is your employee benefits plan optimized to prevent and treat burnout in the workplace? Do you have disability management professionals and counselling support readily available to support an employee who is experiencing burnout? Explore your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, or contact us for a comparison quote.

Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.

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