It’s not uncommon for people to “hit a wall” at work and experience burnout for a short or long period of time.

“We found that about 13 percent of Norwegian employees are at high risk of burnout,” says Leon de Beer, associate professor of work and organizational psychology at the Department of Psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

De Beer has contributed to a new study published in Burnout. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology With colleagues from the Healthy Workplaces Research Group.

They are working on a new tool that can identify people at risk of burnout.

Signs You May Be at Risk for Burnout

If you’re facing seemingly unbearable demands and stress at work, and you’ve experienced the following symptoms frequently in recent weeks, it could be a sign that you’re on the verge of burnout. are:

  1. You feel mentally exhausted at work.
  2. You struggle to feel passionate about your work.
  3. You have trouble concentrating while working.
  4. You sometimes overreact at work without meaning to.

Early intervention is key.

It is important to identify the early signs of burnout to minimize the harmful effects. The warning signs are often there before things get too far, unless we manage to identify them.

“Not addressing the risk of employee burnout in a timely manner can have long-term consequences,” says de Beer.

Physical and psychological effects of burnout include heart disease, pain related to muscle injuries, sleep problems and depression. Organizations can also lose talented employees and experience increased sickness absence and productivity.

A new tool may become standard.

De Beer’s research group has tested a new measurement tool to identify early warning signs of burnout. In the past, it wasn’t always that easy.

“Previously, we didn’t have a detailed measurement tool for use in both the practice and research arenas that identifies workers who are at risk of burnout,” says de Beer.

There are currently no international standards for assessing burnout.

The new tool is called the Burnout Assessment Tool, or BAT, among researchers fond of amusing acronyms. The BAT consortium, of which the researchers are a part, is now testing the device in more than 30 countries.

“Our study shows that BAT is a good tool for identifying the risk of burnout,” says de Beer.

Burnout is the body’s response to stress.

The BAT measures four main groups of risk factors: exhaustion, mental distance, cognitive impairment and emotional impairment.

Burnout is not actually a disease, but a feeling of mental or physical exhaustion — the body’s response to an enduring, demanding situation.

Burnout is usually described as a work-related syndrome, but there is evidence that work-life balance also plays a role. Stress and burnout don’t necessarily end when you go home at the end of the day, as these effects often spill over into other areas of life and vice versa.

Some people may experience irritation for years.

For some people, burnout can be stopped in its tracks and solutions can be found to improve their situation. For others, however, burnout can persist for years if the problem is not addressed.

“We can deal with burnout through individual therapy, but it doesn’t help if people go back to a workplace where demands are high and resources are low. Then the employee is much more likely to get sick again.” Professor Mariette Christensen in NTNU’s Department of Psychology says it is important to create good working conditions and structures that protect employees’ health.

studied 500 workers.

The researchers studied a representative sample of 500 Norwegian workers. Norway is roughly on par with the EU average when it comes to mental health, but slightly better in work-related matters.

A small percentage of the Norwegian population suffers from work-related burnout. Fewer people than the EU average report health risks at work, and we experience a better work-life balance.

“Using a validated method, we found that about 13 percent of the 500 workers surveyed were at high risk of burnout,” says Professor Christensen.

This tool can help identify who needs the most immediate follow-up to reduce the risk of burnout.

We do not yet know whether the prevalence of burnout in Norway is higher in the international context. The Norwegian study is among several BAT studies currently underway, so these responses will be available at a later date.

The tool is meant to be culturally independent, and it certainly works well in Norway. The researchers also found that the device worked regardless of gender.

“For fun and educational purposes, interested parties can use our online tool to assess whether they are at risk of burnout,” says Professor Christensen.

“Please note that this tool only provides an indication of risk and does not provide any form of formal diagnosis or medical advice. If you are concerned about your work-related stress levels, we encourage you to consult your health care provider. Encourage the care provider to see the issue,” says Professor Christensen.