Burnout cases are on the rise all over the world. In the US alone, 79 percent of their respondents have experienced work-related stress and burnout, based on American Psychological Association’s survey results in 2020. Workers are becoming less and less motivated to perform their tasks. When left untreated, the entire organization will feel the inevitable fallout that will follow.
The complex problems engineers have to solve daily and the amount of work laid out before them have eventually led to engineering burnout. Stiff competition and the ever-growing scope of their work make it harder for them to focus and function at their full capacity. A lot of external and internal factors may have contributed to this, but one thing is for certain, the next move should be to address engineering burnout promptly.
What May Cause Engineering Burnout?
Dumping an unreasonable amount of work with limited time causes the engineer to work beyond the standard office hours. The pressure to adhere to strict deadlines and perform with as much gusto as their peers puts a strain on their overall well-being. Not only will this impair their ability to work 100 percent, but it will affect valuable personal time, which is necessary to offset work-related stress.
Lack of Communication and Empathy
Whether it’s within the team or the management, the absence of a constant line of communication is detrimental to one’s mental state. Engineers are not cogs in a machine that will mindlessly function without guidance. Additionally, voices not being heard may create a suffocating feeling that will only lead to burnout.
This may be the most obvious cause in the list of engineering burnout factors, but it is surprisingly still a real problem that many face. According to Gallup, a renowned analytics firm, 43 percent of workers in the US believe that they are not paid well enough for what they do. An overworked and underpaid engineer will have little to no motivation and energy to work at full capacity.
Lack of Positive Reinforcement
Working long hours to finish a project is an accomplishment, but it can become a hollow victory without affirmation from the people you work with. This can lead to doubts about whether they can do what is expected of them. Self-doubt and lack of motivation are signs of engineering burnout.
How Does Engineering Burnout Manifest Itself in the Workplace?
- Drop in performance. As burnout sets in, a gradual decrease in productivity will become more apparent. The mental and physical stress can become overwhelming, and any form of work will take a huge effort to accomplish.
- Cynical outlook towards work. Everything that has anything to do with work is treated with contempt. This defeated mindset will overcome any feeling of achievement or progress they make.
- Inferiority complex. Engineers have been plagued with “imposter syndrome” due to the nature of their work. The feeling of underperforming and underachieving is always present despite having results that show otherwise.
- Short temper. Snapping at someone at work is inexcusable, but there might be underlying reasons why an employee will have sudden emotional outbursts.
- Tardiness or absenteeism. One of the most common reactions to stressful situations or environments is escapism. Opting to skip work or delaying going to work as much as possible could signify burnout.
- Lack of focus. Dealing with burnout may affect your cognitive faculties, and paying attention becomes unintentionally more difficult. This might lead to miscommunication or errors at work.
- Feeling of isolation. Refusal to participate in work activities or even just office banter can indicate burnout.
How Can Engineering Burnout be Addressed?
Encourage Work-Life Balance
Life outside work may be as important as the hours that employees spend within it. Having enough time for activities unrelated to their profession can pay dividends in actual productivity. Create an atmosphere that encourages employees to spend time away from work without worrying about coming off as unreliable.
The time they spend away from the office offers a much-needed rest from the woes at work, leaving them recharged and taking engineering burnout off the table. Avoid contacting engineers outside their work hours, as unnecessary disruption during their own time due to work can lead to additional pressure.
Create a Collaborative Work Culture
Whether it’s a mentoring structure or a team-focused type of setup, engineers should never have to feel that the project’s success relies solely on them. Rather than a hierarchical approach to team composition, create an atmosphere where each member has a clear voice and is always free to ask for assistance whenever necessary.
Creating an open line of communication between engineers and the upper management allows for a more holistic approach to a team-based dynamic. Employees should not feel afraid to speak their minds or offer suggestions when it comes to work-related issues.
Offer a Flexible Work Schedule
Working a 9-to-5 shift day in and day out can take a toll on one’s mental fortitude. This seemingly endless cycle may ultimately result in engineering burnout. However, there are clear and simple ways to mitigate this from happening.
Allow employees to have more say on how they spend their working hours during the week. Consult your timetable and work with your engineer to determine a schedule that can sustain their mental well-being while keeping the company’s timeline on track.
One of the most straightforward strategies in dealing with engineering burnout is making sure that they are paid enough. Work with your team to create the best compensation plan proportional to their current workload to assure them that they are being valued. Giving bonuses or additional perks, such as more vacation days for a job well done will work wonders in raising morale, mitigating the onset of engineering burnout.
Invest in Mental Health Care
Make sure that engineers have access to appropriate mental healthcare treatments within the company. One of the barriers preventing employees from seeking such treatments is the exclusion of such benefits from their healthcare plan. Including a comprehensive mental health package that caters to your employee’s mental, emotional, and psychological issues can help combat the effects of engineering burnout.
Recognizing that mental health issues are real and here to stay is the first step in creating a safe space where employees can work at their full capacity.
Implement Team Building Activities
Workplace interaction does not have to be all about the tasks at hand or deadlines to be met. Studies have shown that social activities among employees can only lead to a better outlook toward work.
A simple team dinner after work where engineers can get to know each other more personally will help boost morale and reduce work-related stress. Conversations over fun and engaging activities outside work build stronger connections between the team, creating an ideal work environment that can prevent engineering burnout.
Building a Better Workplace Culture
As the world’s globalized economy continues to grow and the engineering industry along with it, the pitfalls of an unhealthy working environment become more apparent and pose a real threat to productivity and growth. Engineering burnout is but a symptom of a working landscape built without empathy and a lack of effective structure.
By taking swift and meaningful measures to prevent burnout, you can save time, energy, and resources that would eventually have impact on the company’s growth trajectory.
CREATE AN IDEAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT FOR YOUR ENGINEERS WITH AGILE WPS!
Agile Workplace Staffing (WPS) will help you find the right strategy for dealing with engineering burnout. Our team of experts will work with you every step of the way to develop a winning formula that promotes a healthy working environment, preventing stress and pressure from taking a toll on productivity and growth. Contact Agile WPS today to hear how we can help!