When Life Throws Curveballs

Burnout at work doesn't always stem from the workplace. Life can throw anyone a curveball. A new baby, a sudden illness, an aging parent needing home care, or divorce are just some of the common life events that can result in workplace burnout. Its common sense - your baby has to be fed during the night. Your elderly mom needs to be cleaned up after a toileting accident. You and your partner's belongings need to be separated and moved out. Next to those types of stressors, filling out your paperwork seems less crucial.

That's why it's no surprise that burnout crosses over from personal life to work. It will commonly show up as tardiness, getting behind on paperwork and administrative duties, mis-scheduling of appointments, and lack of attention during staff meetings. In extreme cases, it can even lead to errors in client care. Since this type of burnout can occur without warning, here are some ideas to help your office be better prepared to cope:

Create a buddy system that gets implemented in times of crisis

This can give the person in crisis additional support to help keep paperwork and administrative duties under control.

Allow flexibility in scheduling

During periods of crisis, people need time to make the necessary arrangements in their personal life. Whether that be consulting a therapist to help them weather the storm, or arranging daycare for their child, a little flexibility can not only help your staff member ride out the storm but get through it more quickly.

Allow for donating of vacation days

Where feasible, this can allow people with excess vacation days to give them to the person in crisis, thus allowing them to maintain their salary while getting extra time to arrange their affairs.

Keep the lines of communication open

In these types of crises, situations can change on a dime. Arrange for frequent conversations with the person in crisis, so that, as their situation shifts, you are prepared. Work with them to create immediate, short-term, and long-term plans to get through the situation.

With a little creativity, your staff can be assisted through the burnout stage of a life crisis. Your show of support will enable them to bring their life – and work performance - back on course more rapidly.

About the Author: Jennifer Michelle

Jennifer Michelle's specialty is helping health and fitness professionals maintain their passion, prevent burnout, and expand their clientele. She received her MPH from Tulane University, which, combined with her background in stress management, dance, and business consulting give her a unique perspective on the needs of those in the health and wellness field. Check out her course about Stress and burnout in the Healthcare Profession.

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