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How to beat end-of-year burnout

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
How To Beat End Of Year Burnout

As we approach the end of the year, it’s only natural for minds to wander off work and onto the excitement of the holidays. To assist employees who may be struggling with burnout, here are some tips to stay fresh.

Burnout can be prevalent around this time of year as it’s crunch time for many to get things done before 2024 kicks off. According to Futurespace founder Angela Ferguson, prioritising wellbeing is a great first step towards mitigating burnout.

“[Staying productive] is a tough ask as we work towards an imaginary December deadline that feels like the world will collapse if our ‘to-do’ list is not completely ticked off by then. One of the best ways to stay productive is to focus on wellbeing at work – mentally, physically, and socially,” she explained.


Ms Ferguson said a holistic approach is key. This can be achieved by addressing three key aspects of wellbeing:

  • Mental wellbeing: alleviating stress and anxiety, continued balance of lifestyle and work.
  • Physical wellbeing: Making sure the office has natural light, proper ergonomics, strategic biophilia, keeps sustainability in mind, and encourages healthy practices like meditation, lunch breaks, mid-day walks, in-office healthy snacks and, importantly, sit-to-stand desks.
  • Social wellbeing: continuing strong social ties and personal connections, fun activities both virtually and in person.

“If mental wellbeing is prioritised this way, then the times to be productive are much more manageable and efficient,” said Ms Ferguson.

As we approach the new year, new trends will determine how we work and cater to our wellbeing. Ms Ferguson believes that back-to-office mandates are a poor move and could be an enabler of burnout.

“The main one would be to not mandate how many days people work from the office. Culturally, Australians do not like being told what to do, and insisting on a certain number of days in the office (which is something I’m seeing more and more leaders start to do) is simply having the opposite effect,” she said.

“Businesses instead should focus on what it is about the workspace experience that is attractive for people, to focus on motivation, purpose and autonomy and ensure the workspace has enough diversity of settings and spaces to support a range of both individual and team needs related to focused work, collaborative work and those important social bonds that are formed between colleagues.”

When employees need to be in the office, design can play an important role in influencing emotions.

Ms Ferguson continued: “Designing for neurodiverse conditions is key. This can include provision of respite/low stimulus areas to alleviate anxiety, confining busy artwork and patterned elements to thoroughfares and other high-activity zones, considering a palette that utilises colour theory, ensuring the environment is intuitive and easy to navigate, ensuring the environment is ergonomically sound throughout and making sure there are enough quiet, private spaces for focused work and intense concentration.”

“Designing for neurodiversity is like the ‘canary in the coalmine’ – meaning that it should be something that is a baseline for all conditions, no matter where people sit on the neurodiverse spectrum, to ensure the workspace experience supports more than just the basic need of a ‘place to work’.”



Employees experience burnout when their physical or emotional reserves are depleted. Usually, persistent tension or dissatisfaction causes this to happen. The workplace atmosphere might occasionally be the reason. Workplace stress, a lack of resources and support, and aggressive deadlines can all cause burnout.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.