To Curb Burnout, Design Jobs to Better Match Employees’ Needs

Burnout is a response to chronic job stressors — high-frequency events embedded in workplace practices that have not been successfully managed. Over time, these stressors lead to an erosion of workers’ energy, involvement, and self-confidence to the point where they feel exhausted, cynical, and ineffective in their job and “burnt out.” There are many well-intentioned efforts to solve burnout in the world of work, but frequently, they address the effects of the problem — not its source. Burnout is a management and organizational issue, not a physical or mental health issue, so promoting self-care won’t usually help employees recover. Think of burnt out employees as canaries in the coal mine. When the canary keels over, we acknowledge that the environment is hazardous — we don’t tell the canary that it should take a long weekend.

The whole notion of burnout treatment needs to be flipped. Burnt out individuals show that there are urgent problems to…

Continue Reading →

This article was written by Michael P. Leiter and originally published on