Burnout is a plague to productivity. Even worse, it takes a physical and emotional toll on workers.
Manufacturing, especially, is an industry where stressful peak volumes can sneak up on employees. Often, they don't even know they're burned out until they break.
Before management can prevent burnout, however, they need to know signs. Here are six telltale ways to spot burnout on the job and keep employees safe.
1. Drop in productivity
The first — and perhaps most obvious — sign of burnout is a noticeable drop in productivity. If an employee is not performing up to their standard, they may be experiencing burnout.
Once a worker loses grasp of why they're working, it's a slippery slope to not caring about how they're working, too. What's more, it comes at a big cost to the company, according to Gallup. A single disengaged employee costs a company 16% of their annual salary each year. As salaries get higher and employees grow more stressed, those costs quickly begin to stack.
2. Increase in mistakes
Burned out employees may be more prone to mistakes. If a worker starts making more mistakes than usual, they may be at risk. Even worse, they may be a threat to their co-workers' safety, as well as their own.
Especially during peak volume seasons, like the holidays, manufacturing burnout is exceedingly dangerous. Operators of heavy machinery may cause workplace accidents if they're stressed, too tired or not careful.
3. Excessive sick days
Have you noticed any employees taking a lot of sick time? It may be due to burnout. According to a separate Gallup poll, burnout makes workers 63% more likely to call in sick. Moreover, they're also 23% more likely to visit the emergency room.
In fact, burnout is running up an incredibly large health care bill, too. Health care costs are estimated to be 50% greater at higher-stress organizations than others, according to Harvard Business Review. These costs, both financially and physically, can be avoided. Reach out to these employees and lend a hand before matters get worse.
Sleep is paramount to health, just as exhaustion is detrimental to productivity. If any employees are demonstrably exhausted, their workload may be too much to handle.
By taking a few tasks off their plate, giving them more frequent breaks or just reducing a little stress, you may be doing wonders for their mental health.
5. Detachment from peers
One of burnout's more common symptoms is a recognizable social isolation. If a worker is expressing more irritability toward peers, they could be feeling overwhelmed.
Frustrated employees may lash out verbally, especially during stressful manufacturing operations. They may unintentionally antagonize peers, brewing discontent among workers. Beware of employees who may be on the verge of social detachment before bad situations arise.
6. Low workplace morale
Look out for workers who demonstrate signs of decreased morale at work. A jump in cynicism may indicate that the worker is at risk of burning out. They may experience a lack of direction on the job, or a lack of purpose.
Passion for the job goes a long way toward productivity. When that drive is lost, disengagement follows. If management isn't careful, cynicism could spread like wildfire.