Employee mental health is a key factor in the success of any business. Mentally healthy employees are happier and more productive. At the same time, the burnout syndrome is one of the main problems of companies. The big question is: How can we prevent this condition and how do we deal with it once it has occurred?

Too often we find that companies fail to consider the mental health of their employees as a serious factor that requires genuine attention. Employees should do their work efficiently and perfectly, but we are not machines. Our humanity makes us vulnerable, and if we are exposed to constant negative stress at work or lack of work-life balance, in the worst case we experience what is known as burnout.

Let's discard the illusion: burnout is a disease and it can affect anyone, at any level of responsibility, which can actually have fatal effects on the functioning of a company. And a burnout usually doesn't stick to a 3-month notice period - it hits us suddenly and unexpectedly (if we don't recognize it ourselves in time before the tipping point as it slowly announces itself). The unexpected loss of important employees through burnout can then lead to major problems. Despite the crucial importance for the success of every company, the topic of burnout is still considered taboo in many places. But fortunately not everywhere.


At the end of last year we organized a seminar on burnout in cooperation with the HST Chamber of Commerce Switzerland – Czech Republic. We, that is Jana Dragová and Mirella Kreder. The initiative came from one of the chamber members. A manager who has actually gone through burnout in all its facets and therefore considers this topic to be essential.

The aim was to help participants recognize the early signs of physical, mental, emotional and behavioral symptoms of burnout.

Since we generally perceive stress and overwork very differently individually, we primarily wanted to encourage an open discussion with the participants and thus give them the opportunity to ask questions and exchange experiences.

The greatest curiosity and interest was in the following areas:

  • How do I know if I'm suffering from burnout?
  • How can I prevent burnout (in myself and in others)?
  • What tools can help me deal with stress better and who can I turn to for help?
  • How do you deal with other stressors that working from home has brought into the lives of some and the struggle to establish clear boundaries between work and private time?
  • How do I care for a subordinate who I see showing signs of burnout?

Working with employees with a perceived risk of burnout proved to be key for everyone present.


In the course of the discussion, a central question arose: To what extent is the employee responsible for their own mental health and (from) when does the responsibility lie with managers and the company?

But before we get into that, we have a question for you, dear reader: Do any of the following sound familiar?

  • I don't know why I'm doing what I'm doing
  • I expect outstanding performance from my team
  • I often work overtime but get no compensation
  • I struggle and often don't have time to use the entire vacation
  • Even when I'm free, I'm always available (by phone or email)
  • I regularly work weekends, holidays or nights
  • Our managers don't tell us not to do it
  • I'm overwhelmed by the need to cater to everyone else's needs
  • We are all under a lot of pressure, for example due to unrealistic goals and lack of time
  • I can't lose my job

Listed above are some of the key points of our discussion with the participants. If that sounds like thoughts you have, then you are already part of the system that allows for circumstances that, at worst, can lead to burnout.

It's high time to change that.

However, it is too easy to turn a blind eye and leave it to the employee to take care of their own health. It is also the company's job to ensure a healthy corporate culture. And that includes healthy employees.



Such a position carries with it responsibility. At the same time, it is a position that offers more opportunities to initiate change.

It is important to be aware of this framework and to take uncompromising responsibility for yourself and your employees with regard to overload and the risk of burnout. Otherwise you will not break out of the eternal cycle of stress. And that should not only include responsibility for goals and their fulfillment and management of operational tasks, but also, and with the same dedication, for the human side.

A good place to start: Talk to your subordinates with genuine interest. Ask about their situation and consider their mental health relevant to their work. Or better yet - show them how to work with stress and find a healthy work-life balance. Coping with stress isn't something school teaches you, and with the pressure of life commitments, mortgages and fear of losing a job, people are changing.

If you're regularly and consistently working overtime (both you and your subordinates) then, let's face it, you have too much on your desk. Again, while that sounds simpler than it is, the key is setting the right priorities, learning to say no, and planning realistic capacities.

Or is it standard practice at your company to work overtime (everyone does it and it's expected)? Is it that if you don't do it, you don't "participate", are labeled "lazy" or "not committed enough"? Are you then not making “sufficient contribution to the company”? Are "not loyal and of integrity"? Don't take your role "seriously enough”? Then there is not much else to say than: it is high time to change the culture. Otherwise, your company is systematically burning out its employees.

You may also be fully aware of all the symptoms and find the work environment very unhealthy, but feel powerless and overwhelmed to deal with it. We guarantee you: even in such a case, nothing is lost. There is always the possibility of working with an executive coach and mentor who will support you in dealing with such topics and to find suitable solutions for you, the company and your employees.

Does that seem surreal and naive to you? Then you already have a bigger problem than you think. Isn't it the case that we are all looking for a healthy working environment? Isn't turnover often the sad result of an unhealthy work environment? At best, a healthy work culture can be your best advertising to potential employees and clients. Who else can better promote your company, products and services than your (healthy) engaged employees? This is often underestimated.

And in the course of the seminar, our participants also realized: it may seem impossible, but it's in their hands. If not you, then who?


Perhaps you are in a situation where you feel that you have limited influence over changing the environment. Even then, you can still find a way out of the hamster wheel, whether driven from within or by external influences. We emphasize straight away: An investment in coaching is an investment in yourself. So if you feel overwhelmed, let a coach help you with the variety of topics that influence how you deal with perceived permanent or acute stress. This includes:

  • learn about your inner beliefs (which are they?), let go of the unhealthy beliefs that aren't good for you (e.g. recognize phrases like "I have to go to work", "I MUST NOT fail"), and create a healthy mindset
  • learn more about your emotions (e.g. why do I feel like I need to do something or can't do something?) and learn to work with those emotions in a healthy way
  • Clarify your priorities (personal and professional)
  • working with our personal limits and boundaries, and that includes accepting limitations (Often we only think that we have to do something, but on closer inspection that is not the case at all. We might think so because we are perfectionists, we think only we can do it right, so we take over too much responsibility. Or we want to help everyone and everywhere, because we feel obligated, or because it gives us the (unspoken) feeling of being needed. In the worst case we remain in this belief incorrigible to the point of complete stubbornness. We feel like a failure if we don't succeed.
  • Learn to understand where your beliefs and behaviors come from. (Behavioural patterns and beliefs are often “inherited" and trained, e.g. formed by parents or imposed by a society in which we live and to which we (want to) belong. But does that actually correspond to your own beliefs?
  • And then again, some of us just can't seem to "stand still" and take a break. It could be because you feel like you're "lazy" which of course you can't afford, or because of a guilty conscience (the voice in our head asking if we don't have anything better to do) . Or we just don't do it because it's not fun to take time off (I'm bored and don't know what to do with the time). "Rest" can then cause even more stress because we consider it a complete waste of time. But then it is often just a matter of a "misunderstanding": rest and relaxation can take many forms. In your head it can appear like you are lying on the sofa and staring at the ceiling - which is unimaginable. So let's call it something else: let's call it "balancing" or "recharge your batteries" instead.

Ultimately, it is then your responsibility to find out what that means for you. And then you take even more responsibility for yourself and do it.

Not an easy task. The coach can of course support you in this task. And if your manager has a strong influence on your situation, a coach can even support your manager in finding a suitable path to a healthier work environment.


In summary it can be said that being aware of your individual triggers and stressors is key to finding a way to minimize their effects on you. The key here is to focus on “prevention”. This should come first. Start using appropriate tools to reduce stress and find a healthy balance.

Looking back on our seminar, it can be said that thanks to the format chosen, all participants were able to take away exactly the information they wanted and needed. And the main finding was: we need to talk about it because it is real and omnipresent. No taboo.

Often we want to do the right thing but don't know how to do it. Or we pretend to look good from the outside (especially as a company), but in reality not much is being done - or at least not the right thing.

If you don't want to, you will find reasons. Whoever wants will find a way.

If you want but feel you need support, whether it is to analyze your work environment or to find the right tools to create a healthier company culture or to become healthier yourself (even if you are already suffering from severe burnout): we are here for you.

We are happy to help you find the right way. Your OWN WAY.