Like catching spinning plates, life can be stressful and full of chaos - from family, friends, work, technology and new ideas to our physical and mental health, we face conflicting priorities daily. Working long hours, leading in a hybrid environment, lack of quality sleep and food; a manic mind and stress can zap our energy. Like a battery, we cannot be charged unless we fill our reserves.
Living life as our full, energetic selves is vital for us to function at our highest level, both physically and mentally. When we feel energised, we feel motivated on a physical, mental and emotional level. It is up to us to be aware of when and how we replenish our energy.
When our energy is depleted, we are no good to anyone. When we ignore how low energy can lead to adverse outcomes such as depression, illness and lack of social contact. We cannot bring our whole selves if we don’t take the time to re-energise.
When a work team is energised, members feel they can achieve almost anything. As a leader, if you see a gap in your team's energy, you need to open the door to explore this as a team and see what is going on. Energy, or lack thereof, can be due to something deeper, so this needs to be delved into.
These days, people work more hours, balancing remote work and feeling stressed out, exhausted and overwhelmed - ‘burnt out’. The World Health Organization recently deemed burnout as a classifiable workplace phenomenon.
Workplace energy depletion is a reality
Many factors lead to energy depletion and burnout. Some causes bridge home and the workplace, while other pressures are work-specific. The Mayo Clinic researched stress and burnout at work and has shown common workplace factors contributing to it. The main contributing factors include:
- Dysfunctional workplace dynamics
Lack of purpose, morale or collaboration can be stressful and energy-draining. Unclear expectations of the team and organisation can be confusing along with dealing with team members who may be micromanaging or unaware of each other strengths and how to leverage these for high performance and fulfillment.
- Unclear role expectations and purpose
This can lead to a lack of direction, where individuals may question their own and their manager’s expectations of them. An unclear purpose leads to an unclear strategy and unknown authority in role this can lead to confusion and demotivation.
- Work-life imbalance
Channelling most of our focus and energy into the workplace can result in a lack of energy to spend quality time on other things that matter - family, friends or passions and self-growth. Working remotely has blurred the line and we need to prioritise and jealously protect focus time in order to achieve a balance.
- Extremes of activity and work environment
When a job is monotonous or chaotic, the constant energy required to remain focused may lead to fatigue, lack of energy and job burnout. Working remotely leads to us to working longer hours at a more intense rate often filling commute time with even more work and unrealistic expectations as we head back into offices.
- Job function overload
Getting fewer people to do more not only creates an issue in the capacity to do a good job but can also create gaps in capability. This leaves us feeling inadequate and unmotivated, especially if there is no upskilling or support.
- Lack of control or resources
An inability to influence decisions that affect your job - such as your schedule, assignments or workload - could lead to job burnout.
So could a lack of the resources you need to do your work.
- Lack of social support
A strong support network is vital. Feeling isolated at work or in your personal life might lead to feeling more stressed. Strong working relationships and connection are key to building resilience, self-confidence and energy.
- Energetic leadership
As a leader, you need to exude the kind of energy you want to see in others. When I led corporate teams and now, as a leader in my business, staying true to my purpose has been key to keeping my energy and others' inflow. How are you showing up?
- Self-care is not indulgent
"Make the time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel". - Eleanor Brownn
Whether you’re in a leadership role or not, you are responsible for leading yourself. Think about what energises you and start there. Be open to explore concerns you have with your peers, manager or co-workers in other areas of the business. Get clear on your purpose and your expectations of yourself and others.
Here are four questions to ask
- What is the expectation of my role? Be specific and get clear on this.
- What do I expect from my team?
- What does the team expect of me?
- What is the expectation and purpose of the organisation?
If you need to re-energise, get support from those around you - whether in or outside the workplace. We all need a strong support network; remember, connection is an innate human need. Reach out to co-workers, loved ones, external mentors and friends.