Stress is never about the moment, it’s about what comes before and after.

A scientist, a HR Consultant and a business owner are in a room …

Sounds like the start of a joke doesn’t it, in fact it was myself and 2 friends a few weekends ago talking about next phase burnout in business, not the usual convo over a glass of wine I admit but, it’s a conversation that has stayed on my mind over the last week, let me bring you up to speed.

The conversation started with “what a wonderful time for innovation”, we shared stories about how  our relevant industries were showing signs of innovation and adaptability, the likes of which have not been seen for decades, this then led onto a conversation about adrenaline; which finally ended with a short period of silence and the stark realisation that employees are possibly now at the very height of major burnout and employers are about to experience a health issues a scale of which has never been seen before, and we’re not just talking about the NHS and front line workers. We’re talking about ALL employees EVERYWHERE !

The Centre for Mental Health forecasts that around half a million more people, (lets read that again) … half a million MORE people, will experience mental health difficulty over the coming year as a result of the pandemic – and that’s in addition to the one in six workers who, according MHFA England are experiencing mental ill health at any one time.

We recently spoke to Pip Richardson from The Circle Line who was a visitor in the Shed last week, who said “stress is never about the moment, it’s about what comes before and after”  I think we are all very good at looking at the moment when employees are proving more challenging, but have you stopped to think about what came before this moment and what we could have done as #businessowners to prevent this from happening?


Our conversation then progressed to would we even recognise the signs of #burnout in the organisation?


In September this year the World Health Organisation (WHO) included “burnout” in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), meaning as of 2020 it is a globally recognised international condition, this really should be a red flag for #businessowners.  Common symptoms of burnout include:

  • feeling depleted of energy or exhaustion
  • an individual’s increased mental distance from their job, or negative and cynical feelings towards their job
  • reduced professional efficacy.

So, what’s the answer, we can’t slow down, I’m not sure we know how to now and as everything changes we’re all remaining in a heightened state 24/7.  Life truly is a rollercoaster right now, so what could we do to adapt?


Here are a few thoughts that came from our conversation.

  • We need to recognise it, and more importantly acknowledge that this is a very real problem for everyone right now, it won’t go away and it will affect you or someone you know over the next few months.
  • Remember the causes can come from anywhere and may not be work related.
  • Take a break and breathe, we don’t give ourselves the gift of time, anywhere near enough of the time.
  • Be human, sometimes we forget to do the basic of things, and
  • In the words of my nan “in a world where you can be anything… Be kind”.

We did go on to enjoy a lovely evening discussing other less serious topics, and yes plenty of wine was drunk as we went on to solve a few more world problems such as, why does a bottle of wine never last as long any more….. is it like Wagon Wheels when we were younger! 😊

If you would like to continue the conversation, or join our free workshop on managing mental wellbeing, check out our convo or register for the workshop, courtesy of The Circle Line.  On registering you’ll also get access to a FREE Workplace manifesto that you can use in your business.

Stay Well !

#burnout #smebusiness #businessowner #businesschallenge #stress #coaching #leadership #learshershipcoaching #entrepreneur101 #organisationalcoach #support #helpfuladvice


  • With over 20 years' experience in structuring and growing businesses and teams from inception, through periods of growth and change and finally structuring them ready for sale, Karen and her team have helped dozens of business owners and leaders manage growth and change within their business by concentrating on the human side of running and managing a business. An experienced Organisational Coach and HR Consultant, Karen has extensive experience in working with growth SMEs and a proven background in delivery and development of employees against business goals, her specialism is in working with small and medium size companies, delivering operational, people-based solutions that are commercially focused and enable growth of the business. Karen also works as a Non-Executive Director and Trustee and is a trained Predictive Index (PI) Analyst.

Rowan Consulting

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