Job burnout is something that companies should not take for granted as it can impact productivity, so managers need to increase their sensitivity to how their employees are doing or what is going on in their departments.

"Ask the team how they are feeling and what is getting in the way of progress. Find out if some simple wins can reduce needless work," advised Hazel Jackson of biz-group.

Citing the ‘Management by Walk About' approach popularised by management guru Tom Peters, Jackson said managers should "get out of their office, work the corridors and operations, stop and listen to what people are saying, and more importantly, listen for what they are not saying."

It also pays to promote the work-life balance.

"Helping your people to enjoy a positive work-life balance is an important part of being a responsible employer and helps ensure the best performance of your team. Positive, motivated and engaged employees are fundamental for business success," Jackson said.

A good example would be to insist that everyone in the office breaks for lunch, have the company cafeteria serve healthy meals, organise off-site activities, organise family days, encourage optimal time-management practices, provide encouragement for physical fitness through gym discounts or organize company sports teams, according to Lama Ataya, chief marketing officer of Bayt.com.

A worker can feel frustrated if he feels not equipped to perform specific tasks, so providing adequate training for all staff should yield positive results. Ataya also suggested that employers recognise a job well done publicly and privately, and offer employees, on a regular basis, the reward they deserve.

Dr Michael Burchell of the Great Place to Work Institute, UAE said managers should be able to detect the signs and symptoms of burnout.

"Managers should intervene immediately to help change the working conditions leading to burnout."

He noted that companies can learn from companies with great practices and where there are high levels of trust, pride and camaraderie.

"In these environments, employers are diligent in creating people-centric environments that foster work-life balance, career pathing and development, systems for recognition and praise and team spirit and organisational unity."

For employees, there are many ways they can do to prevent a job burnout. Burchell recommended starting the day with a relaxing ritual such as meditation, journaling, stretching or reading. Adopting a healthy diet, exercising and sticking to good sleeping habits will also help.

"Set boundaries. While sometimes difficult in a work context, learning to know your limits and say no when it matters can be really important. Take a daily break from technology. Set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Nourish your creative side. Look for work that re-engages your interest and passion. Learn how to manage stress. This will help in preventing burnout," Burchell suggested.

Ataya warned that prolonged and unaddressed pressure often results in physical and psychosomatic ailments such as high blood pressure, ulcers, stomach disorders, sleeplessness and general ongoing feelings of fatigue and anxiety.

Feel-good activities

That is why incorporating anti-stress and feel-good activities into one's routine, starting creative endeavours and other hobbies that can help take the mind off life's worries, can be a good way to prevent a burnout.

Finding a mentor to talk to about daily difficulties or a peer who is a good listener is also recommended.

She said it also helps to take control of one's career by identifying and confronting work-related problems head on. Setting clear success milestones and aiming for a healthy work-life balance should also help prevent burnout.

For those who feel they have too many tasks to complete and not enough time, a good solution would be to write down everything and prioritise.

"You might think you don't have time to do this, but it's essential. Once you have your list, ask if anyone else can help you. Delegate where you can. Then remove items that you don't believe are important. Having a clear view of what needs to be completed makes you feel more in control and in turn reduces burnout," Jackson advised.

"Marcus Buckingham's book, Discover Your Strengths, helps individuals to discover their core strengths and put them to work. Try to find ways to spend the majority of your time playing to your strengths. Doing this really does energise us, whereas struggling constantly with our weaknesses tends to deplete us," she said.

 

More working people feeling frazzled in the office

While there are no statistics to establish the extent of burnout in UAE workplaces, studies show that many residents are already feeling frazzled in the office and finding it difficult to achieve work-life balance.

According to a survey by Bayt.com, nearly half (45 per cent) of working women in the UAE have received a negative response from their employer regarding flexible timing or working from home, which adds to their struggle to balance career and personal life.

About 40 per cent of working women in the UAE also have low satisfaction with the recognition they receive from their bosses for a job well done.

Working fathers don't look pleased, either.

"While a 40-hour work week was deemed reasonable by 48.7 per cent of working fathers in the UAE as per (our) poll, 34.7 per cent are working between 40 and 50 hours per week," noted Lama Ataya, chief marketing officer of Bayt.com.

She said more than half (58.6 per cent) of the working fathers in the UAE reported that their employers were not keen to offer flexibility. Another 54.2 per cent of the respondents said they would change jobs for more family-friendly arrangements "even at a pay sacrifice."

"Glaringly implicit in these Bayt.com studies is that working professionals today are calling for further managerial support to achieve the work-life balance that greatly matters to them, and the inability to achieve this often results in reduced morale, elevated stress levels and deteriorating productivity," Ataya said.

Entrepreneurs are not spared by the stress bug, either. According to a recent survey by Regus, an overwhelming majority (62 per cent) of entrepreneurs in the UAE have reported that their stress levels have risen markedly in the past two years. Among the major contributors to businessmen's stress include late payment issues, reduced bank credit and falling revenues.