Finance

Majority of leaders in medium-sized companies at risk of burning out: Research

Broede Carmody /

The majority of managers in medium-sized companies do not have a good work-life balance and are at risk of burning out, according to research released this week by Bankwest.

The Bankwest Business Leadership Report found more than half of business leaders in medium-sized companies claim to have only some work-life balance or none at all.

Of those who did say they managed to juggle work and home life, managing their workload and maintaining that work-life balance rated among their biggest challenges over the next 12 months.

Read more: Managing your time and priorities without going mad!

The research also found leaders in mid-sized businesses are at a higher risk of burnout than their peers in smaller firms.

Meanwhile, people working in the professional services industry are at the highest risk of burning out, followed by those in wholesale trade.

This is because leaders in these industries are expected to work the most outside of business hours as consumers demand instant responses to customer enquiries.

 

However, the news isn’t all bad, with businesses across Australia using a variety of strategies to combat stress. The most popular tactic was for employees to take regular breaks and days in lieu, followed by keeping the lines of communication open and encouraging healthy eating and exercise.

Margaret Harrison, managing director of Our HR Company, told SmartCompany a good strategy for small and medium enterprises is to care for people across the board instead of trying to fix the problem retrospectively.

“It’s about just noticing what’s around you and also recognising that managers need a bit of love also,” she says.

“They need to be cared for and I don’t think we always need to keep it to the people who are not in more senior roles. I think it’s about caring for everybody. Often the signals of being burnt out are snappiness, asking for more, being unreasonable, all of those things.”

Harrison says if an employee notices their boss is a bit burnt out, they should approach them and ask if there is anything they can do – whether that be taking on some of the workload or just simply listening.

As for employers and managers themselves, Harrison’s advice is to put your health first.

“You are not indispensable – no one is,” she says.

It’s also important for employees and managers to recognise that being burnt out can often have flow-on affects both inside and outside of the workplace.

“It will manifest itself in all areas of life,” Harrison says.

“It upsets more people than you think – family, children and their social life. It’s a snowball as well in the workplace.”

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior reporter at SmartCompany. Previously, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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