Burnout vs boreout? How to create the perfect balance

a male employee at work suffering from burnout vs boreout, by andrea piacquadio from pexels

Burnout vs boreout – how to stop wasting potential and manage your juniors

After hiring a junior it’s important to get the balance of their workload right. If you give them too much or too little work you run the risk of them experiencing burnout or boreout.

Both of these have serious consequences. Balancing workload is key to establishing a healthy company culture and having high employee retention. So if you get the balance wrong you could create low morale or even lose your new hire!

Burnout and boreout also have consequences for the mental health of your employee. So balancing your junior’s workload really is key to creating a healthy work environment.

It can be tricky to get this balance right. But with these tips on managing burnout and boreout, you can find the perfect balance of challenge for your junior employees.

Burnout vs boreout

Both burnout and boreout are on the rise with an Indeed study showing a 43% increase in burnt-out workers in 2021 on the year before.

But what’s the difference?

Both burnout and boreout have similar symptoms. Exhaustion, low mood and anxiety often characterise both feelings.

But the cause is completely different.

Burnout often happens due to high stress and heavy workload. If your employee is being overworked, they won’t be able to produce high-quality work for an extended period of time.

This stress will often bleed into their social lives, creating mental health issues that no amount of time off can solve.

Employees that are burnt out won’t stay that way for long – they’ll soon drop the ’employee’ title to escape the mental anguish!

Boreout on the other hand is ‘chronic boredom’. It’s the feeling that work is meaningless. And the work you assign could be contributing to this feeling!

If you’re not challenging your junior employee enough, you’re limiting the high-quality work they could produce at your company. Again, the worst-case scenario is that they leave your company.

While they do have their differences, burnout and boreout are essentially about wasted potential and almost always end with employees leaving.

It can be difficult to identify which your employee is suffering from – especially when working remotely! But listening to your team is key to preventing burnout, boreout and making sure your employees are managing to keep a healthy work-life balance.

These tips will help you to make sure you are challenging your junior employees while establishing a healthy work environment for them to thrive in.

10 Ways to re-engage junior employees suffering with burnout or boreout

In the fight of burnout vs boreout, you can’t afford to let either win. Your company culture, retention and the health of your employees will suffer as a result.

1 – Restructure responsibilities

If one of your employees is feeling bored or overworked, schedule a meeting with your team to see if you could share the workload better. Is one member of your team being dealt the repetitive tasks whilst others get to have creative ones?

You could consider sharing the ‘boring’ tasks among your team so one member isn’t left with the bulk of it. You could also explore automated alternatives to these tasks so no one has to do them!

2 – Give your employees more freedom

Consider giving your employees more freedom with their choice of task. Maybe there is another area of the company they are interested in or a new project geared to their interests that they can take over.

Give them some freedom to explore their interests for at least a few of their weekly hours. This will help to fill their day with enjoyable tasks and might spark some inspiration to get them out of their slump.

3 – Encourage upskilling

If your employee is in an entry-level role consider enrolling them on an upskilling or reskilling programme to increase their skill set.

As well as training them for new responsibilities, upskilling is an investment in your business as it expands your teams’ skills. And it’ll help your company stand out as highly-trained and modern.

4 – Consider giving them a promotion

While you might not want to put a ‘chronically bored’ employee up for promotion, it could be the solution to their problem. As boreout stems from an employee feeling undervalued, giving them extra responsibilities and tasks could stop them from being underworked.

And if your employee is being overworked, they might already be doing the work of a superior title and feel deserving of a promotion.

Maybe your employee started in an entry-level role and their skill-set has grown beyond this during their time at your company. Ensure that the talent at your workplace is being used wisely by establishing good promotional practices.

5 – Establish a charity partnership

Boreout is often related to a feeling of an employee’s work lacking meaning. You could try adding some conviction to their work by setting up a charity partnership.

You could set up a fundraising event like a company run which your bored-out employee could plan. Or contact a local charity to see if you could volunteer some of your services to them!

a group of employees having fun together after having prevented burnout and boreout. photo by yan krukov from pexels

6 – Get together!

At DigitalGrads we love some ‘obligatory fun’. Are you having enough of it in your team?

Getting together during the workweek fosters connection among colleagues – especially in remote or hybrid-work settings!

It also provides a space for colleagues to ask for support if they have a lot going on. While having fun is the main objective, regular group get-togethers are also great for managing the workload!

7 – Rearrange the office

While burnout and boreout are related to workload, the working environment also plays a key role in employee satisfaction.

Consider changing the layout of your office space and making desk space more collaborative to reduce the feeling of isolation and create better work connections.

8 – Encourage new activities

Although you aren’t in control of what your employees do outside of work, try to encourage them to take part in a new hobby or exercise. Both of these are great for stimulating creativity and feelings of enjoyment!

You could get in touch with a local gym to see if they could offer your employees a discount to encourage this healthy behaviour.

9 – Do you need to downsize? Or attract more business?

If several of your employees are feeling bored you might need to consider downsizing. While it may be daunting, there’s no point in having wasted talent at your workplace when it could be better used elsewhere.

On the other hand, if your employees are feeling overworked it might be time to take on some new hires to shoulder the workload.

a woman working from home enjoying a good work-life balance and not suffering from boreout vs burnout. Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

10 – Talk with your colleagues

Burnout and boreout could also be symptoms of a deeper mental health problem. Make sure you talk to your colleagues before taking any action to enrol them on a course or give them more responsibilities.

Even if they aren’t struggling with their mental health, continue to promote a good work-life balance and encourage mindfulness practices that benefit their mental health.

Burnout vs boreout – people have to come first

Both burnout and boreout can be chalked up to poor management. But hopefully this guide helps you put your people first!

At the end of the day, it could be that the role or industry your employee is in isn’t right for them. But making sure that you are using the talent in your workplace wisely won’t go amiss!

For more help on preventing your junior employees from experiencing burnout, check out our blog on avoiding burnout.

And if you’d like to look for talented juniors to hire, we have plenty!

About post author

Hi, I'm Eve - a recent graduate and the new content marketing and training intern at Digital Grads.
Posted in Managing Juniors