Battling Burnout: How to Identify It on Your Design Team

Design teams can have many challenges, and even the best managers make mistakes too. These common problems may include: not addressing the isolation felt by any of the team members, overlooking an individual’s development, a lack of vision, not fully motivating team members, lack of a feedback process and more. There are many more examples of mistakes managers can make. One of the key problems is in not listening to their teams. 

Team burnout is real and can happen to anyone. Simply put, burnout comes around when there’s too much stress and it can come in many forms.

Work is always moving faster than expected as companies work on growing their revenue. This creates a tidal wave of problems as routines and over-demanding tasks seem to be happening all the time. This same sense of overwhelming tasks translates into a feeling that the assigned work lacks purpose or connection to oneself.

This is why one symptom often comes along with another. An overworked designer may come to find their work and pace tedious.

The common belief that burnout is a matter of self-care (or the lack thereof) has been challenged in recent years. Team leaders are encouraged to offer remedies and more resources for the situation.

Why Does Burnout Matter to Businesses?

Burnout takes away a person’s entire life, interfering with their relationship with friends, family, coworkers and more.

Design work is a mentally exhausting activity. Design teams that experience burnout are at a heightened risk of being ineffective. When freedom, mental and physical space and purpose is taken away, work may slow to a crawl or even stop in a middle, stalling or diluting the team as the design process slows. Individuals may be distracted, irritated, depressed or resigned. Work around them may degrade.

That’s one reason why businesses decide to have DesignOps in place when managing projects. Even then, having somebody on your team whose only job it is to look after design workflows can also become the biggest cause of work stress—projects consistently running rampant—far less likely to take hold. Nobody is immune to burnout.

What are the Symptoms of Burnout?

Burnout is officially recognized as a syndrome resulting from “chronic workplace stress,” and these days, it has not been successfully managed. 

It is characterized by three key pillars: 

·      The thoughts, feelings, behavior, or emotions related to energy depletion or exhaustion

·      Increase mental isolation from one’s job

·      Job-related negativity and cynicism 

We can recognize the strain that a long and demanding project like a typical startup’s software development can have on a person, but as designers, it can be slightly different.

We are always being confronted with the specter of burnout on a weekly basis, but this is most often not about the amount of work we have to do. This is often about what our projects are taking out of us.

Even the most minor of symptoms will begin to become noticed as burnout grows. A more negative mood may shift, deadlines will be missed, and the wider marketing team may start commenting on the lack of effectiveness from the design team.

A team of new go-getters eventually fails to cope with the intensity and excessive heat. Their fatigue becomes more obvious at every stage. Eventually they would burnout doing their job.

What Causes Designer Burnout?

Designers often face so many factors that contribute to burning out. It is therefore important that you identify these problems so that you set up a path to success. These are the most common ones that I encountered in my career. Here are the reasons why:

Stuck In The Cogwheel of the Same Projects

If you’re stuck on the same type projects for too long, it’s surprising that you’ll start seeing your creative juice creeping out of you and motivations running low. That monotonous feeling of solving the same problem over and over again takes its toll.

The creative mind can benefit from the challenges posed by varying types of projects, always keeping you on your toes. They key here is a change of scene.

Too Much to Handle

A designer in his or her profession is not always able to focus on one project. He must constantly shift his attention between projects that are coming up.

That feeling of getting overwhelmed happens to everybody. The problem with a lot of designers is the lack of a clear communication channel for such complaints when problems like this creep up.

Lack of “Me” Time

Connecting with a large team and constantly being on at all hours of the day can take a toll on your sanity, especially when it comes to introverts. 

The inability to set boundaries well creates a domino effect that hurts a designer’s quality of work-life balance and that in turns causes burnout.


How to Deal with Burnout on Your Team

Once burnout is established, there are many ways to curtail its effects. However, the best offense is a good defense: Establish processes that guarantee designer satisfaction on the part of your team, you can rest assured that you will be flooded with high-quality, stable input.

Most marketing teams tend to be overloaded. The best move is to reconsider any assignments that push hard into the existing pipeline, while proceeds to increase headcount, which does have an impact on development budgets, although not as much as an increase in design rates.

Increasing capacity requires partners. Partnering with a dedicated design service is often the best addition for companies. Creating a team designed to help offset workloads while spending each project cost efficiently is an easy way to stay well within company’s budgets. Having a creative partner on-call is a foolproof way to achieve a high level of on-time delivery and quality work while ensuring the project pipeline runs smoothly. That’s how Mad Creative Beanstalk comes in. We help companies mitigate burnout by providing an affordable alternative with amazing and reliable output.





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