Employee Burnout: Do You Know How to Prevent Burnout In Project Management?

Employee Burnout: Do You Know How to Prevent Burnout In Project Management?

Projects have hard deadlines with a lot of work to be done, and this is bound to create a stressful environment for you and your colleagues. 

This poses a real risk of employee burnout and would hamper the progress of the project.

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, more than 77% of employees go through burnout at some point in their work.

And in the field of project management, there has been an exponential increase in these numbers. 

So, in this blog, we will thoroughly talk about:

  • What is employee burnout in the context of project management?
  • Primary causes of employee burnout in project management
  • How to prevent burnout of your project team members? 

What is Employee Burnout in Project Management?

WHO has given a very precise definition of employee burnout. Burnout is a syndrome resulting from workplace stress. It usually happens when employees are put to too much work or when they become too tired to think or do anything related to work. Also, if you are someone new in project management and want to elevate their career, nothing can be better than getting a PMP certification. Refer here to learn how to crack PMP certification

Burnout is categorized into three different dimensions- 

  1. The first one shows feelings of exhaustion.
  2. The second one depicts the emotions of negativity or mental distance from the work.
  3. The last is characterized by reduced professional efficacy. Here a person starts questioning his ability to accomplish a given task. 

These are some of the indications to understand the employee burnout-

  • task quality gradually declines
  • team members take unplanned leave
  • there are delays in meeting deadlines

They feel utterly depleted, overtired, and under-exercised. 

Causes of Employee Burnout in Project Management

The business world is becoming more and more competitive and challenging.

Therefore, it is a no-brainer that the ultimate reasons for employee burnout are ever-evolving, fast-paced, and complex organizations. Adding to this are new technologies and never-ending expectations that have substantially blurred the line between personal and professional lives. 

Here are the causes of burnout among project team members. 

1) Burnout from Unrealistic Project Deadlines

Let’s say the standard working for team members is 40 hours a week, but the project demands them to work for more than 50 hours a week and has a strict deadline.

In this scenario, they need to work for more than the standard working hours to finish the task and reach the target. Such unrealistic deadlines eventually lead to excessive work pressure and stress and cause burnout.  

2) Burnout from Uneven Distribution of Project Workload

Oftentimes, project managers assign a big bunch of tasks to experienced team members or high-performers. While to freshers and low performers they only give some minor tasks.

This is known as uneven distribution of workload. You may think that high-performers can do justice to the project tasks, but contrary to it, they start feeling pressure due to the expectations. And at the same time, they will start complaining about the even distribution of work. 

3) Burnout from Lack of Support and Guidance from Project Managers 

When employees are left on their own without any support or guidance from their team leaders and project managers, they start to feel uninformed and alienated.

Every team looks up to their team leader for support and consideration. And if they don’t support or help their team members when they make mistakes, there will be two problems. First, employees will feel extremely pressured. Secondly, they will uniformly be anxious about the consequences if something goes wrong, which will eventually lead to stress and then burnout. 

4) Burnout from Unfair Treatment in the Workplace

This is something that happens in almost every organization. Discrimination is the harsh reality of some workplaces; it can exist in the form of sexism, favoritism, or even racism. 

When employees/team members face these kinds of situations, they are 2X more likely to experience a high level of burnout because they will have to fight for their rights, position constantly.

How To Prevent Burnout of Your Project Team Members?

Now, we have already discussed the reasons and the outcomes of employee burnout, it’s time to talk about the ways to prevent its occurrence.

1. Uniformly Distribute Schedules to Avoid Overutilization

Previously, we talked about how uneven distribution of work can lead to overwork and resentment towards the work. Project managers should evenly allocate work to each employee in the resource pool. And instead of weighting the experienced and talented employees with too much work, project managers should train the unskilled workforce.  

2. Embed Employee Well-being in Your Work Culture

Project managers need to embrace an employee-centric work culture that caters to the professional development of the workforce. Employees should get a physically as well as mentally healthy atmosphere for work. This will propel a positive work culture & will increase productivity and alleviate burnout. 

3. Promote Work-life Balance

All work and no fun is a perfect recipe for a disastrous work-life balance. Everyone needs some fun time & breaks to recover to start the next task afresh. So, project managers should provide flexible work schedules and timely breaks to the team members. 


This was all about employee burnout and the ways to prevent it. However, project management indeed tends to have high workloads. However, a project cannot be completed if your team is not in the right mind. So, as a project manager, it’s your responsibility to take care of your team member.

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Thaddeus McElhaney

Thaddeus McElhaney

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