Unifiller Identifies The Impact of Employee Burnout in Food Production Plants
Burnout is frequently understood as work-related or work-induced stress and fatigue. It is being increasingly discussed in the present-day culture, but it’s not exactly a new concept. According to Healthline, the condition of burnout was officially coined in the 1970s by psychologist, Herbert Freudenberger (Freudenberger, along with psychologist Gail North, also outlined the 12 phases of burnout). The website also offers an accurate depiction of what burnout is, describing it as “a severe stress condition that leads to severe physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.”
Why is burnout such a hot topic of conversation and how is it relevant to bakeries and food plants? Well, according to a 2019 survey conducted by The Sleep Judge, people who work in the Accommodations and Food Services industry are at the highest risk of experiencing work or occupational burnout.
Burnout commonly outwardly manifests as:
Inwardly, people who experience burnout may experience:
- Escape fantasies, such as quitting your job or moving away
- Mental illness, such as anxiety or depression
- Physical illness or ailments (the stress of burnout can weaken the immune system, causing insomnia, loss of appetite and stomach problems, headaches, etc.)
It’s important for employees and managers alike to recognize when they might be starting to burn out, and it’s especially important for the leaders to pay attention for signs of burnout in the employees they’re responsible for. Ever heard of the phrase, “A team is only as strong as its weakest link?” This
definitely applies to bakeries and food businesses that aim to provide top quality products and service.
However, the best (and long term) solution is to go one step further and prevent work burnout from happening in the first place. Preventing burnout begins with an understanding of the things that cause it in the first place. Some examples include negative relationships within the workplace, lack of collaboration, increased demands, inefficient or non-standardized processes, lack of resources and access to information.
Individual and personal consequences on employees, or even managers, typically look like:
- Diminished loyalty to the company
- Injuries and stress
- Poor overall work performance (including reduced productivity, less attention to detail, prone to errors and poor judgment)
- Lack of job satisfaction
- No work/life balance
In the case that burnout is a company-wide problem, the individual consequences of burnout tend to create larger problems that impact business-level operations. This may turn into:
- High employee turnover, which leads to more money spent on hiring
- Employees taking more sick days and reducing the personnel available
- Quality control issues
- HR issues
Simple tactics like fostering a healthier culture, standardizing processes and automating repetive tasks can help build a healthier workplace. For example, according to Sonia Bal, Director of Marketing at Unifiller Systems, “automating production wherever possible and necessary can be a good first step. Bakery and food production is not easy labor, nor is it always interesting. Repetitive and monotonous tasks can take a toll on a person’s mental health (especially if they are working long shifts every day), so why not let a simple machine take over instead?”
Unifiller, a subsidiary of the Linxis Group, is a global leader in specialized equipment for the food, bakery, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries. The group consists of leading companies focusing on mixing technologies, ingredient dosing systems and automated portioning systems. Through its various subsidiaries, the Group employs approximately 800 people worldwide. With 5 global offices and a dealer network of 80 dealers, Unifiller equipment can be found at the production plants of some of the world’s most well-known brands.
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