Professional burnout isn’t just a slang term for “all work and no play”—it’s a real condition characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion. People with professional burnout may describe feeling defeated, depressed, fatigued and bored by their jobs. They may frequently talk negatively about their job, company and lack of work-life balance. The quality of their performance may begin to slip, as might their attendance.
Unbeknownst to many, the issue of professional burnout is especially relevant for facilities managers who are bombarded by new expectations. As business leaders recognize the powerful impact of the workplace on the worker and the enterprise, this role continues to grow. A more modern day term that better reflects the evolution of the FM is workplace manager.
The growing demand for highly efficient buildings, tech savviness and top notch communication skills is creating a perfect storm for fueling professional burnout. Additionally, the average age of a facilities (workplace) manager is 49—which is when many professionals begin intently focusing on and planning for retirement rather than their career future.
According to Psychology Today, burnout may be the result of several triggers, including:
To avoid professional burnout, workplace managers must figure out ways to combat these triggers. Here are a few suggestions:
Organizations and managers need to create an environment wherein, employees at all levels can openly and honestly communicate how they are feeling about their responsibility load and their work-life balance. To that end, professional burnout should be a semi-routine topic of discussion. One of the key ways to avoid professional burnout is to identify its onset, and this can only be done if managers and employees are educated about the causes and warning signs.
If you’re feeling the onset of professional burnout, try to identify top stressors and address them head on instead of sweeping them under the rug. Make a list of what’s bothering you, and tackle each item—one at a time. A simple solution to some stressors may be learning how to more fully utilize the tools at your disposal. In other cases, you may need to address the poor work performance of an employee, or collaborate with your maintenance team to find a better way to carry out an operation.
If your facility is still relying on manual management and tracking, or an outdated facilities management system—it’s no wonder you’re on the verge of burnout. Many tasks can be automated today, and the right software is capable of creating a user experience so intuitive, you won’t be able to remember life without it.
The right facilities management software will create visibility into the exact location of all resources in real time. Workplace managers gain access to a detailed bird’s-eye view of all assets and necessary information related to them. Employees can use specialized service request tools to quickly make on-demand or preventative maintenance requests. And office spaces, including conference rooms, multimedia rooms and other collaborative spaces can be reserved and managed with ease.
With this level of manageability and insight, facilities managers will feel more in control of their duties. And because the software automates and simplifies numerous daily chores, facilities managers will also save time which can either be refocused on other duties or used to lessen the intensity of their work schedule.
Sometimes, the most effective cure for work stress is time away. Take a vacation or at the very least, a long weekend of scheduled unplugging. Fill your time off with activities that help you unwind. If you feel you’re unable to fully walk away from your responsibilities at this time, the right facilities management software will fully integrate with mobile technology to provide you with remote access. This way, you can step away from the office and still keep track of daily operations.
Lack of social support may be due in part to certain company culture misfits and in part because there lacks a degree of socialization necessary to develop co-working relationships. As for the misfits—they tend to weed themselves out. Future hiring should focus on a better cultural fit, however. And conflict resolution or simply getting to know an adversary may shed light on differences and dissolve any tensions.
Alternatively, workplace managers can develop stronger social support systems at work by creating occasions to socialize during and outside of work. Happy hours, social networking, lunch events and being proactive about casually striking up conversations are all helpful tactics.
The last thing your organization needs is a workplace manager or team with such severe burnout, they’ve reached the point of no return. This can lead to issues with absenteeism, high turnover rates and poor performance. Get to know the warning signs of professional burnout. Address the triggers head on and improve your work environment instead of suffering through it.
Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.