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Are you suffering from summer fatigue or job burnout?

By Anthony Balderrama, CareerBuilder.com
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Mon August 22, 2011
You may not be able to cure summertime blues, but there are fixes for job burnout.
You may not be able to cure summertime blues, but there are fixes for job burnout.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • If you're sluggish this summer at work, try not to show it
  • Say no to your employer when you can so you don't overcommit
  • Talk to your boss and find some time to unwind to beat the summertime blues

(Careerbuilder) -- In college, one of my professors noted that the amount of absences that particular day was extraordinarily high. Despite it being a sunny, spring day, he wasn't surprised.

"On days with really bad weather, people don't come to class because it's too dangerous to drive," he said. "But I noticed that they don't show up when it's really pretty outside because they'd rather be enjoying the sun."

The weather affects us. Sure, we stay indoors and lazy around when a blizzard slams the city, but we don't necessarily accomplish more when the weather outside is delightful. A CareerBuilder survey finds that workers might be less productive in the summer than in other months, at least according to bosses.

Of surveyed employers, 26 percent believe worker productivity takes a dip in the summer. Bosses attribute this decrease to nicer weather, vacations and children at home during summer break.

Is burnout to blame?

Summer isn't the only culprit, however. Forty-five percent of employers believe workers are burned out on their jobs. Well, they're unfortunately right.

• 77 percent of workers say they are sometimes or always burned out on their jobs

• 43 percent of workers say their stress levels at work have increased over the last six months

• 46 percent of workers say their workloads have increased in the last six months

One reason workers might be noticeably burned out is due to fear of losing their jobs. When the Great Recession began in 2007 and layoffs began to occur regularly for the next year and beyond, workers began to wonder if they were next to receive pink slips. Meanwhile, as companies downsized, responsibilities shifted and suddenly the old adage "do less with more" was a way of life for millions of concerned workers.

Not surprisingly, then, 30 percent of employers say their workers are more productive today than before the recession began. Of those employers who noticed a rise in productivity, 73 percent see the increase still in the workplace today; 14 percent even say an additional increase has occurred in their workplace.

What to do

If you're sluggish this summer and you know it's because of the weather, try not to show it at work. Employers aren't keen on watching their employees perform below their norm. Still, summer only lasts a few months, so eventually you'll be back at normal speed.

If your less-than-stellar performance these days is the result of burnout, you might want to try these steps to unburden yourself:

Say no when you can

Workers, especially those fearful of layoffs, often overcommit and end up with a to-do list that no single human could ever accomplish. Learn to say no when you can't possibly take on another task.

Talk to your boss

This one might be easier said than done, but most bosses want their employees to be happy and be good performers. If you're doing the job of two (or more) workers and you know you're about to buckle under the pressure, let your boss know. Don't whine and complain. Instead, lay out your dilemma and suggest ways to solve it. It's not an easy conversation to have, but it could make your job more manageable and your performance much better.

Find some time to unwind

When the phones ringing off the hook, your inbox is overflowing with unanswered messages, and your boss keeps asking you to work a little later, you feel boxed in. Find a way to take a breather, whether that means eating lunch outside, taking a 15-minute break a couple of times a day, or going to the gym before you head to work. Do something each day that lets you forget work and think about something else.

Find flexibility

Not all jobs have room for flexibility, but some do. If your boss will let you come in late and stay later or come in early and leave early, that could make your life easier. Or maybe you can work from home some days. Some companies, especially during the summer, let workers add on a few extra work hours to each day, say Monday through Thursday, and then have Friday off. Maybe you can come in early and take an extended lunch to get a trip to the gym in. Whatever works for you and suits your job, try it. A few little changes could make keep the burnout away.

© CareerBuilder.com 2011. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority.

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