Here's What's Key to Preventing Burnout

Whether you are a highly engaged employee or you just work near one, you should know the symptoms of burnout. Sometimes it means bursting into tears after a staple goes in funny, and sometimes it means completely dissociating from the world around you. Now, we have a much better picture of what factors into employee burnout — who's at risk and how you can avoid it.

Different people process the same stress in very different ways. If you experience emotionally rigidity (if you tell the same self-defeating story about yourself a lot), you may be prone to burnout, though some self-help books and apps have been found to help. If stress is something that motivates you and enhances your work, you may not spot other people's burnout at all.

But the truth is, 20 percent of highly engaged employees consider themselves burned out. This isn't even counting the 7 in 10 American workers who don't feel engaged with their jobs. Despite describing intensely positive feelings about their work, the burned-out highly engaged employees also demonstrated higher levels of stress, frustration, and turnover.

What the majority of non-burned-out workers have in common, according to a Harvard Business Review post, is "high resources" — in other words, strong institutional support. Yes, you need to be able to take breaks and back off from perfectionism, but without a structure that has your back, those can only go so far.

Check in with your managers and your colleagues about the best way to manage stress and expectations. Consider taking part in any wellness activities your company offers. And if you can't find what you need in the office, look for support where you can, whether it's unwinding with an outside hobby or moving on to a workplace that supplies.