April 5, 2017

Let’s Talk About:

Preventing Burnout

It's easy to think that the burden of fostering work-life balance falls squarely on the shoulders of an employer, but factors like industry culture and even our own ability to say “no” can have a major impact. Late nights, checking email after hours, and taking on additional pet projects can all contribute to a culture of all-work-and-no-play.

When work-life balance skews less towards balance and heavily towards work, burnout can be the final result. People quit, productivity plummets, and quality is compromised. Fortunately, burnout is entirely preventable. Employers can adopt policies that account for employees obligations outside of work. Industry cultures can avoid putting too much emphasis on things like passion projects. We can figure out where our limits are and strive to find employers and colleagues that will honor those limits. Ironically, all work-life balance takes is a little work.

You Matter

Community Thoughts on Preventing Burnout...

  1. 1. This is what work-life balance looks like at a company with 100% retention of moms “For 33 years Patagonia has had an on-site child care center that bears little resemblance to what anyone might imagine corporate on-site child care looks like. It is run by teachers, some of whom are bilingual and trained in child development. Learning takes place outdoors as much as in. Parents often eat lunch with their kids, take them to the farmer’s market or pick vegetables with them in the “secret” garden. Patagonia buses school-aged kids back to the company’s headquarters, allowing parents to connect with them after school over chocolate milk.”
  2. 2. Confessions of a Professional Burnout “By reducing myself to my output—by thinking I could game the system by just being more productive than everyone else, above all else—I wasn’t just doing myself a disservice. Burning myself for fuel was a luxury afforded me by immense privilege. It was selfishness under the guise of selflessness. My actions were a tacit vote for an industry standard where people could be weeded out of an interview process for not sufficiently neglecting their responsibilities, their families, their lives, their time—by not having the requisite nights-and-weekends “passion projects.””
  3. 3. Only You Can Prevent Tech Burnout “As employees, we stay in unhealthy climates because we’re attached to our paycheck, or we’re afraid of those ineffective but challenging technical interviews guarding the gates to other companies, or maybe we think it’s just not better anywhere else — this is just how Silicon Valley works. We commit code at 2AM because we know our manager will thank us for it and maybe even promote us one day. If we’re in an underrepresented group in tech, we may feel even more pressure to stay late just to prove that we really do deserve to be there.”
  4. 4. How to Avoid UX Burnout “The burnout I experienced after such a high intensity design sprint was exhausting at the time, but it was ultimately a blessing. Through the roller coaster ride of UX design, I’ve identified six types of UX burnout you’ll probably also encounter, along with research-backed methods to get through them.”
  5. 5. Rethinking the Work-Life Equation “By asking managers to acknowledge openly the demands outside work, Moen and Kelly were subverting certain conventions of office culture. For years, an image of professionalism was closely tied, perhaps especially for women, to a strict respect for boundaries — to the presentation of the self, at the office, as someone wholly unencumbered by the messiness of home life. Those boundaries, Moen and Kelly’s work suggested, were possibly counterproductive.”

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