Burnout Isn’t On You, it’s On Your Company


Say no to unsustainable workloads.

A row of matches alight

You might think the exhausted, sinking feeling you get when overworked is entirely your failing – you haven’t prioritised your health, you skipped a yoga session, you’ve been lax about taking up meditation like the rest of your peers.

In reality, though, burnout is not your fault, and neither should it be solely your problem. It’s actually the fault of your workplace.

They might also encourage you block out an afternoon for deep, solo working. Because work is mostly about working, not chatting with team members about working.

It’s your workplace that sets your workload, your processes and company values, and if they’re overloading you or anyone else with tasks, sticking to outdated and unproductive work styles, or allowing you to extend well beyond your capacity, that’s on their shoulders, not yours. What is in your court is the ability to remind them of what’s happening and that what’s required of you has become unreasonable (and unsustainable).

Not sure how your workplace can correct this? Here are a few places to start:

Too much collaboration

We’re living in an age of collaboration: a push towards open-plan offices, where our desks are prime design fodder and spaces where colleagues can “spontaneously” break into collaborative activities while lunching with a leg chained to their desk. As many studies have uncovered, overkill is real. Why not suggest management set rules to adhere to, in order to avoid useless meetings (if you’re game, you can print this and hand it straight to your boss). They might also encourage you block out an afternoon for deep, solo working. Because work is mostly about working, not chatting with team members about working.

Letting capable people do all the work

Ever feel like sometimes it’s easier to do a task yourself, rather than delegate? You need to stop, and your workplace needs to encourage this. We’ve previously discussed the problems with you becoming a workplace bottleneck; having to be the person through which a load of work must pass. Don’t let yourself become that stop gap and alert your managers if you feel like you’re feeling the rub.

Perpetuating the myth of “multi-tasking”

We’ve put this term in inverted commas as we’re firm believers that, cognitively, there’s no such thing as ‘multi-tasking’. (Don’t believe us? Read this.) In addition to blocking out time for one afternoon of deep work, try dedicating Tuesday mornings to project preparation, Wednesday mid-mornings to email replies and so on – anything that allows you structure in a workplace full of constant interruptions. And how can your workplace help? By enforcing these times and making other team members aware of when they can and can’t approach colleagues with currently unrelated queries.

Read More: Why You Absolutely Shouldn’t Rage Quit


I would LOVE to work for a place where all the things listed above weren’t so normal and given for granted.
OPEN SPACES with people chatting and laughing out loud while you are trying to concentrate, because you have so much to do that spending time in chats is not actually an option. Colleagues often asking you to do part of their job as if you were supposed to, just because of collaboration and “let’s help each other out”. I was always a cheerful, collaborative and friendly team player. Now I’m not feeling like that person anymore. Wonder why. -.-


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