Jean-François Manzoni and Jean-Louis Barsoux, in their book, The Set-Up-To Fail Syndrome, write that when an employee underperforms, doubts are cast on his/her capabilities, while the manager and the organisation remain insulated. They further write that the Manager’s impression of the employee does not change even after a good performance, and he/she is almost always assigned unimportant tasks. This gives way to enhanced frustration on both fronts, resulting in either the employee quitting or getting fired.
Initially, when the lockdown began, many had pictured this work from home as a temporary work change that would offer lots of free time away from the watchful eyes of the boss, coupled with flexibility in work schedule. Within a month of this voluntary lockdown, the humorous memes, the positive fantasies associated with work from home, unfortunately, started getting transformed to work at home exhaustion for many. As the pandemic data turns scarier each day and news of forced salary cuts, layoffs are increasing so are the uncertainties. The initial phase of work at home was akin to the honeymoon stage of burnout. Learning to work at home employees were eager to please and meet all work requests with enthusiasm. Very soon this started to get replaced by lassitude, a state of mental and physical weariness, discomfort, fatigue and burnout. If ones’ job is relatively secure and one is performing the same work from home, then why is it leading to increased stress when working from home.
Work is an integral part of a person’s life and its imperative on organizations to take the issue of burnout seriously especially in current times where it is laden with layoffs, job insecurity, work from home and high dependence on technology. The present dynamic and uncertain work climate calls for drawing upon divine democratic managerial style for creating a synergistic work environment. It should be noted here that workplace burnout can be cumulative, so if a manager is experiencing burnout, it may affect those working with him too owing to the snowball effect.