5 Initiatives to Avoid Burnout When Working at a Start-Up

Felizitas Lichtenberg, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at SumUp, outlines steps and measures that can be taken to minimize the risks of having the problem

As workers begin to return to the office, and businesses start their slow return to pre pandemic norms, employee burnout has re-emerged as a significant issue globally. According to the 2024 Global Talent Trends, a report published by Mercer, 82% of employees are at risk of burnout this year.

This issue is especially prevalent amongst start-ups and early phase companies, which are normally fast-paced and hands-on environments with heavy workloads. Felizitas Lichtenberg, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at SumUp, a global financial technology company, outlines steps and measures that can be taken in order to minimize the risks and effects of burnout whilst working at a start-up.

The first step is to establish clear boundaries with your boss or wider team. This involves communicating clearly when you need to leave directly after work because you have plans, or blocking out time in your calendar when you want to fit in a workout during your lunch hour.

Another measure, which is often overlooked, is learning how to prioritize time and tasks effectively. Managing tasks by order of priority - instead of trying to get through everything without a plan - can help you maintain focus and prevent feeling overwhelmed by large workloads.

In addition, studies have shown that pausing work throughout the day improves mental well-being and enhances productivity. Taking regular breaks from work can help to alleviate stress, prevent you from becoming overwhelmed, and ultimately burnt out.

As well as taking internal measures to prevent burnout, it's important to build and foster a strong support network in your workplace and beyond. Support networks can include colleagues, mentors, friends, and family members who provide emotional support, practical assistance, and encouragement during challenging times. Many start-ups also offer free therapy support, which is a tool that should be utilized.

Finally, often the best way to prevent burnout is to incorporate stress-relieving activities into your daily routine, such as mindfulness exercises, physical activity, or hobbies, to alleviate tension and promote overall mental well-being.

With burnout continuing to be an issue among start-up employees, companies have a responsibility to educate workers on how it can be prevented, as well as offering support where necessary.