dealing with people can be stressful.

  • career advice
  • October 03, 2017

As a human resources professional in today’s complex and fast-changing environment, you have a lot on your plate. From dealing with unhappy employees to managing hiring needs, meeting compliance deadlines and ensuring the engagement and wellness of workers, HR professionals are required to wear many different hats in daily operations. So, it’s no surprise that job burnout and stress are particularly prevalent among HR workers.

In fact, in a recent survey by the Society of Human Resources, two-thirds of HR practitioners surveyed reported feeling a bit burned out, while four-fifths characterized the pace of their work as fast or very fast. Meanwhile, the ever-changing role of HR professionals within organizations can also contribute to stress and job burnout.

It’s important for you to recognize job burnout before it gets out of hand. Take a time-out and ask yourself if any of the following may apply to you:

  • Are you often tired, exhausted or just feel beaten down? 
  • Is your motivation level diminishing, both at home and at work? 
  • Are you distracted often and can’t focus? 
  • Have health problems developed or increased recently? 
  • Is your workplace performance declining?

If any of these resonate with you, now is the time to shift your attention from looking out for employee wellness to doing the same for yourself. Randstad Professionals has your back! Start with these five simple suggestions you can do at work and at home to solve or prevent burnout:

1. Make some operational changes.

Internal processes that are outdated or create bottlenecks can trigger HR burnout. Try finding ways to improve your workflow, such as redistributing tasks, automating processes, or even cross-training others on your team so they can more easily step in when needed. Lastly, if you find certain tasks to be highly repetitive or monotonous, these can also be a source of workplace burnout. Consider switching things up a bit by trading projects with a co-worker or rework your day to create a break from tedious tasks.

2. Get some more zzzz’s.

It may sound like common sense, but getting adequate sleep is important — and difficult for most adults to do. But too little sleep can contribute to high stress levels, which can lead to burnout. Although the deadlines associated with HR goals and initiatives can make taking days off a lower priority, you can greatly benefit from getting a dose of extended rest or catching up on sleep. Whether you take a vacation or not, finding the time to log the necessary 7-8 hours of sleep is critical to your overall health and performance on the job. And time out of the office is proven to reduce work-related anxiety and even physical issues caused by stress.

3. Increase the number of small breaks.

While extended out-of-office breaks can go a long way to rejuvenate your mental health, so can periodic breaks throughout the day or workweek. At least once an hour, get up and stretch your legs. Not only will this benefit your body, it also reboots your brain and helps lower your stress hormones. You can also drum up some creative ways to relieve stress and take a break, such as team lunches or mandatory team siestas.

4. Set some mental boundaries.

Many HR professionals are challenged when it comes to balancing human and business priorities, and they are often the first point of contact for workers who may be unhappy or have problems that need to be discussed. Although it’s a necessary part of the job, it can lead to greater stress levels. In these situations, it’s important to remember that whatever anger or frustration you may experience from employees, it is not directed at you. Internalizing the feelings of others can drain your energy and lead to job burnout. Try creating an invisible mental buffer, where other people’s anxiety and anger is pushed away and you can maintain your energy and peace.

5. When you leave work, really leave work.

Keeping work from infiltrating your home and personal time is hard to do, especially in today’s hyper-connected world. But taking work frustrations and stress home with you may be the fastest route to job burnout. You must make an effort to avoid work-related stress and issues when it’s your down time or family time. Identify ideal “no-work” times and agree with your team and boss that you are not expected to be available during those times. Once you have that established, use it to your advantage! Grab some dinner with friends, do something special with your children or go to the gym — but most importantly, unplug and unwind.

Let’s face it, working in HR can be incredibly rewarding, but sometimes working with the human element of the business can be taxing. Don’t feel ashamed or inadequate if you believe burnout is creeping up on you. What’s most important is to recognize it and fix the situation. You are the glue holding the organization together, so it’s critical you take care of yourself as well.