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How Entrepreneurs Can Prevent Burnout Among Their Teams Burnout is the common cold of companies -- pervasive and surprisingly destructive.

By Aytekin Tank

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 2019, the World Health Organization officially recognized burnout, describing it as a syndrome that results from "chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed," characterized by feelings of energy exhaustion, increased negative feelings about work, and reduced professional efficacy. It had been nearly five decades since the concept of burnout had been introduced, by psychologist Herbert J. Freudenberger in 1973, and since then it had seemingly only gotten worse. In fact, the syndrome was so pervasive that the WHO committed to developing guidelines for mental well-being in the workplace

But in the past year, with employees around the globe rapidly transitioning to remote work, burnout took on a new dimension — for many, filled with restless kids, dirty dishes and a host of new factors demanding our attention while we're working from home. It's no wonder that research found that 2020 was the most stressful year people have experienced in their working lives. What's more, by some estimates, more than 25% of the United States workforce will continue working remotely through at least next fall. The risk of burnout seems to loom larger than ever.

Though employees can and should take self-care into their own hands and develop healthy work habits, leaders can also be proactive about preventing burnout among their teams. According to recent Gallup research, managers are largely responsible for the conditions most likely to cause or prevent burnout.

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