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Burned out employees are never good for business

Date posted:  9/18/14 09:00:00 AM Stressed employees are much more likely to call in sick.

This year's World Cup has widely been considered a smashing success. Scoring across the competition has been up, and there have been a limited number of draws.

The popular competition has also shed some light on employee absenteeism, according to The HR Director. Research from Canada Life Group Insurance found that one in 10 employees would take unnecessary sick days to stay home and watch the tournament.

That brings an important question into the fold: Does employee burnout need to be taken more seriously?

The HR Director reported that 26 percent of employees have called in sick to work when they weren't under the weather, and 29 percent call in sick because they feel tired or stressed out because of their job. Additionally, some employees have called in sick due to a hangover. This has led Paul Avis, the marketing director at Canada Life Group Insurance, to believe that many employers are not properly recognizing the potential seriousness of burning out their workforce.

"There is a big difference between calling in sick because of a hangover and doing so because of more serious problems such as stress or being overworked," Avis said. "While it is unlikely employees will repeatedly pull a sickie for trivial reasons, failing to address underlying issues such as workplace stress and an unhealthy work-life balance will undoubtedly result in recurrent patterns of absenteeism. This will then have a significant negative impact on business productivity."

Calling in sick by the numbers
More than one in six workers have called in sick because they were tired. Another 12 percent said they needed time off because of work-related stress but did not want to admit that to employers.

This indicates that many employers don't quite understand the right way to implement a work-life balance in their office. Employers who recognize this could improve productivity, as fewer employees would need to call in sick to recharge their batteries.

The HR Director also stated that this isn't just concerning because of the number of employees that are burned out. It also showcases the lack of communication between employees and their employers when it comes to workplace conditions prompting unhealthy lifestyles.

"Employers must ensure that their organization's culture doesn't lead to employee burnout," Avis said. "A positive approach to using annual leave and a mature dialogue about flexibility in working hours is more likely to ensure employees remain happy and healthy. A better employee benefits package will also ensure staff feel valued, as well as providing services such as Employee Assistance Programs that can help with more serious wellbeing issues."

Rescuing employees on the brink
But just because an employee is starting to feel burned out doesn't mean the employer can't take preemptive measures to ensure their workforce is in a good place. Entrepreneur reported that companies should be on the lookout for a few indicators that could reveal who is feeling too stressed at work.

A change in attitude is the top indicator. If an upbeat employee appears solemn or sullen, they are likely going through some stress at work. While that's fairly obvious, there are also some more obscure ways to figure out if an employee is burning out.

If an employee changes his or her break schedule, it could mean bad news. Changes to break time, whether employees are taking longer breaks or not taking them at all, is a common signal that something is wrong in the workplace. Entrepreneur reported that once you've identified the symptoms, it's best to meet with the employee and find out exactly what's troubling him or her.