Every year we have the MOT and service of our car. After which something usually has to be done. Something like changing filters, topping up brake fluid, replacing worn tires, you name it. All meant to keep our car safe.
Other fixed appointments that we have are: the chimney sweep, the maintenance technician of the central heating and the appointments with the dentist. They also check our: chimney, central heating and our teeth on a regular basis. After which they advise us to: replace a filling, vent the heating earlier, use different wood, you name it. Meant to make our lives more pleasant.
You may already feel it coming: I think it’s useful to periodically check the organization for burnout risk. Every period we look at the risks in the organization, both before and afterwards.
You can then see risks coming and take measures. It can also help to have plans about what needs to be done if the risks do occur.
I’ll describe what that might look like below.
In many organizations, we have some form of seasons in the load. If we look at:
-education, which is usually around Christmas
administrations, it is usually at the end of a period (month or year)
-horticulture, this is usually around the crop rotation
-The logistics are sometimes when the largest customer needs something extra, then the organization creaks
The risk of extra stress in the peak of the seasons is lurking. With perhaps sick/tired employees as a result.
In these cases, it is good to have someone who looks at the burnout risks with a critical eye. Someone who can make a good assessment of the situation and think about how we make sure that people don’t burn out, even during these summits.
Together with this burnout employee, you can try to make the organization (partially) resistant to burnout.
So basically, step 1 is to appoint a burnout employee.
The burnout employee will (that is step 2) perform a risk analysis. They will (periodically) look at where the problems are in the organization.
This can be done in three areas:
You will see if you can discover future stress peaks. For example, it can help to link sick reports to the seasons. In education, for example, many people are sick just before Christmas. There is always stress around the year-end closing in administrations. Etc.
If you know this in advance, you can take measures against it now.
If it does happen, what do you do?
You could also make policy on this. What does the organization do when stress peaks are high? What choices are being made to limit this?
By making a kind of script in advance, you have more control over the situation and you are less caught off guard. You can think of actions in advance when it does happen.
Which tasks should continue and which tasks can be pushed back?
Many organizations face the same problems. To prevent everyone from reinventing their own wheel, it can be useful to look at each other.
What does one organization do to combat burnout and what does the other do?
Sometimes it is useful to look outside your own sector. And it might be a good idea to look at sectors where this is less common. What do they do differently?
In any case, the risk analysis will change you from passive to active policy with regard to the prevention of burnout risks. And that is already a step in the right direction.
Through the: burnout employee, the risk inventory and the knowledge (see theme mental health) you will gain more insight into burnout. You will grow into an organization in which the risks are reduced.
And although it costs an investment initially, it pays for itself because a lot of misery can be prevented. Because in the long run, you will see on a personal and financial level that this growth is worth it.
People are less ill and enjoy going to work more.
An organization with an active burnout prevention policy will be better able to prevent burnout. It will grow into a burnout-proof organization.
In the long run, this gives confidence that burnout can be prevented sooner.
Have an active prevention policy, with regular risk analyses. This prevents burnout in the future and ensures a pleasant, fun but above all safe workplace.