Sunday 2 February 2020

Trader Burnout – Are We Prepared?

Please take a minute to read this excerpt from an article in Inside Retail last week -

“While all workers across a number of industries can experience burnout, those at the top of the ladder (ie. CEOs and business owners) can be at increased risk. These workers have a large catalogue of varied responsibilities, wear a number of hats within the business environment and tend to have maximum accountability to other stakeholders. Ad hoc and/or extended hours can also increase the risk of exhaustion, and, particularly in the case of business owners and entrepreneurs, there is an additional emotional and mental investment in the everyday activities within a business, making it harder to switch off and create an appropriate work-life balance.

Aren’t we identifying every full time market Trader in that description? And aren’t current conditions making it harder to avoid burnout?

Do we have the trader policies to address burnout or are we simply applying old rules to a new dilemma? One Trader recently took an extended break on advice from his doctors. He is reluctant to label his condition but I am going to call it burnout. On his return he presented a Doctor’s certificate and asked that his absence be treated as special sick leave. Part of his recovery was to regain control of his life and business and part of that control relates to taking time off when it was needed. He was told that his absence would be taken as part of his normal leave which means that he is now severely restricted with days off and that is not going to help a Trader struggling to get back to health.

Clearly we don’t want any abuse of leave systems. Some Traders have abused leave provisions in the past with the worst of them finding every reason in the book to stay away during quiet trading times whilst keeping their entitlements. That abuse cannot be allowed, but burnout is different. Burnout is a symptom of these times, and maybe we need new rules. Burnout, supported by medical diagnosis, may need a different approach.

Burnout victims will be given plenty of advice with coping. That will include adjusting work/life balances, and taking control of their lives.

The retail world is full of change and we are constantly told to respond to change if we wish to survive. Maybe that rule needs to apply to leave policies as well.

By Greg Smith

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