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  • Natalie Atkin

HR & Bushfire Recovery

With the welcome news that the Comberton and Currowan fires were officially extinguished earlier this month, we have all been able to breathe a sigh of relief, and fresh air, now that the immediate threat of fire has disappeared. But unfortunately, the implications for the fire-affected regions, the damage and financial implications are ongoing. Realising the full impact of this devastating experience is a long way off.

You might be thinking ‘what does this have to do with HR?’ When speaking with the local community after our Christmas ‘Break’, a vast majority of people felt like they had no holiday. While there are no official stats on how many people had taken annual leave over this period, it is expected that at least one out of two workers would have been on leave. This is not taking into consideration the lack of work available to the casual pool of hospitality employees.

While many people in our local area are back to business as usual, the effects of employee burnout could become a major issue. Burnout is something that can creep up slowly until we have a prolonged feeling of ‘not being right’. Our employees have been stretched over the last few months and many could still be suffering from the financial implications of the loss of income from a spouse, or a second job. The definition of burnout, provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is a work-based syndrome caused by chronic stress. Its broad characteristics include feelings of depleted energy levels, increased disengagement from one’s job and colleagues, and declining professional effectiveness.

The risk of burnout is not only a concern for employees, but employers are likely to feel the effects as well. Business owners may be working more hours to try and make up for lost time, as well as having been financially impacted by the loss of trade. There are also the potential costs to businesses from decreased workplace productivity, from employee burnout to take into consideration.

So, what can you do to ensure that you and your staff are not getting burnt out? There are many different strategies, and there will not be a one size fits all approach, we can encourage rest breaks, exercise, implement a health initiative, or manage workloads, but we also have the opportunity to equip ourselves and our staff emotionally. At Kardia we are passionate about building emotionally intelligent workplaces. When employees are emotionally aware, they are more capable of dealing with demanding conditions and will be less susceptible to burnout. It was no surprise to us that emotional intelligence was listed in the top 10 skills to have in the workplace for 2020.

After 74 days of bushfire across the South Coast, we can now start to see mother nature at her best. While the total rejuvenation process will take some time, it is important to remember that it is a process and the effects on the community that came with the fire are not extinguished with the flames.

Kardia.HR has the tools and methodologies to work with businesses to develop Emotional Intelligence (EI). If you need help with strategies to assist with burnout or want to find out more about EI, please contact us

Listed below are 10 questions, provided by Mayo Clinic to help assess employee or employer burnout:

1. Have you become cynical or critical at work?

2. Do you feel that you must drag yourself to work?

3. Do you have trouble getting started on your work once you arrive in the office?

4. Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers and/or patients?

5. Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?

6. Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?

7. Do you feel disillusioned about your job?

8. Are you using food, drugs, or alcohol to feel better, or simply not to feel?

9. Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?

10. Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, backaches, or other physical complaints?


Kim, H. and Qu, H. (2019), "Employees’ burnout and emotional intelligence as mediator and moderator in the negative spiral of incivility", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 1412-1431.

Holiday stress management classes can help employees. (2019, Nov 21). Savannah Morning News .

Hills, L., D.A. (2018). Understanding and preventing employee burnout. The Journal of Medical Practice Management : MPM, 33(4), 215-220. Retrieved from

Miller, K. L. (2020, Jan 18). Worker burnout is real. here's how to spot it. Telegraph-Journal Retrieved from

Martin, G. (2019, Jun 28). Burnout is hitting more of us where we work. The Daily Telegraph Retrieved from

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