Published in El Pais, February 15th 2020
Did you work well today? Do you work structurally more hours than contractually required and do you still feel that you are lagging? Do you have insufficient control over your work? Do you think this is normal and do you think that working and pushing boundaries is top sport?
There are also people for whom all tasks and responsibilities become too much. By going over your limits too long, energy reserves are running out. People get overstrained. If we do not take enough rest to restore our reserve, we will eventually get burned out. We are exhausted emotionally, forget important appointments, react angrily without immediate cause, cannot concentrate anymore and get physical complaints. Nothing comes out of our hands anymore and we sleep a lot, or we are restless and lie awake at night.
The German journalist Susanne Kailitz wrote an article in 2013 in the magazine Focus Magazine about burnout. In her article many work-related causes are mentioned for this: – controllers and team leaders want to work more efficiently and productively; – all activities are described in processes and it is precisely prescribed how you must perform tasks and how much time you may spend on them; – digitization involves a lot of bureaucracy, you must constantly report what you have done in complex systems; – there is insufficient appreciation for the commitment and performance of employees; – many people have temporary employment contracts and have to prove themselves continuously for contract extension; – in our free time we are too busy with multimedia and e-mails from work; – the pace of work is constantly increasing; – employees have more and more responsibilities without the necessary powers; – employees suffer from time pressure and work pressure, work stoppages and the feeling of constantly having to do several things at the same time (multitasking).
Dutch behavioral scientist Ben Tiggelaar wrote in his book “Mooi Werk” in 2016 that there are 4 major reasons, largely in line with the conclusions of Kailitz, which means that we are experiencing more and more work pressure and unrest: – our job security continues to decline; – the performance pressure has increased; technology makes it possible to work anytime and anywhere, and finally many people derive their identity from their jobs and achievements.
Recent research in the Netherlands shows that 1 in 6 active employees burn-out related complaints. This does not include the number of people who are already at home with a burnout. A major individual, social and economic problem!