Mental Health in the Workplace: Brownout vs. Burnout
June 26, 2017 — Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
According to a Government of Canada blog, many employees are suffering from brownout — they seem fine on the outside but overwhelmed on the inside which causes a decline in their private lives.
"As an employee's personal life deteriorates it spreads to work, and they can become disengaged, demotivated, and jaded. Left too long, brownouts become burnouts and employees may no longer be able to work. Employees can become depressed or suffer other serious mental health issues." -Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
When we are under stress, the sympathetic nervous system takes over. We feel threatened and don’t feel safe anymore. As a result, the filter between our thoughts to our mouth isn’t working, causing off-putting body language and a lack of clarity in what we are saying. We also interpret what is being said from our emotion instead of truth. Misinterpretation occurs, causing conflict, poor decision making and substandard work. All of which escalates difficult situations, making it harder to move forward with positive solutions.
When stress is high, the sympathetic nervous system goes into hyper state which suppresses the brain’s ability to truly hear what others are saying as well as communicate thoughts into cohesive, logical words that will be understood correctly by the listener. It also causes body language, facial expressions and the voice to read badly. All of which results in unnecessary conflict and the inability to solve challenges.
Supporting people with mental disorders at work
Organizations have a responsibility to support individuals with mental disorders in either continuing or returning to work.