According to World Health Organization (WHO) burnout is now considered a "syndrome" linked to chonic stress at work. While many factors going into giving people burnout, a good part of the problem lies in the work environment. It's where you spend 40+ hours each week. Which means, when looking for a new employer, it's wise to try to assess in advance just how stressful the work environment will be at a company.
Online Reviews Aren't Enough
Thanks to companies like Glassdoor and Indeed, we now have a place to go to research what it's like to work at a company. These sites offer anonymous feedback from current and past employees as a way to better understand the company's culture an hiring process. But, in my experience, it's also important to ask questions and seek answers during the job interview as a way to determine if a compay is right for you.
Signs An Employer Is Proactively Combatting Employee Burnout
According to the WHO research,
"...employers have a big role in addressing burnout by paying attention to whether employees have a sense of community at work, strong social relationships, a collegial environment, a workload that's not too burdensome, a sense of agency at work, and a healthy work-life balance."
With that in mind, here are four questions you should ask on your next job interview to help you figure out how stressful the workplace really is:
1. How do employees have fun and bond as a team? You want to hear what lengths the company goes to when putting in place opportunities for employees to get to know each other better. Team building is important. It's the smartest way to ensure employees feel a vested interest in supporting each other's success on the job.
2. Can you give me an example of what a good working relationship looks like here between employees? Hearing what extent staff members do to create a cohesive working relationship with one another will help you know what it would take for you to establish strong partnerships with coworkers.
3. On a scale of 1-5, how consistently are you able to get all your work done on a daily and weekly basis? Getting a sense of the intensity of the workload and whether it can be regularly completed in a normal work week will manage your expecatations around the amount of time (and perhaps, overtime) needed to do the job.
4. On a scale of 1-5, how much power do you feel you have over your work in terms of what you work on and how you get it done? Understanding to what degree employees feel they're in control of the impact the have on the organization will help you determine whether or not you'll feel trapped or empowered on the job.
Asking one or more of these questions will reveal a lot about the organization and it's burnout factor.
P.S. Companies don't shout from the rooftops when they cause burnout!
Since most companies aren't going to flat out tell you about turnover and employee sickness due to burnout, it's up to you do discreetly dig into the topic. These strategic questions can help you uncover more of the truth so you can make an informed decsion about whether it's the right job opportunity for you!